The Illinois State Board of Education is proposing a rule that would force teachers to promise they would “embrace and promote” “progressive” views starting in October 2021.
The rule published in the Illinois Register on Sept. 11, titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards for all Illinois Educators,” requires that educators “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized populations” (p. 14577-14584):
Culturally responsive teachers and leaders are reflective and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how they impact others … The culturally responsive teacher and leader will: Understand and value the notion that multiple lived experiences exist, that there is not one “correct” way of doing or understanding something, and that what is seen as “correct” is most often based on our lived experiences … Recognize how their identity (race/ethnicity, national emotional ability, socioeconomic class, religion, etc.) affects their perspectives and beliefs about pedagogy and students. …
Critically think about the institutions in which they find themselves, working to reform these institutions whenever and wherever necessary. … Assess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism) … Know and understand how a system of inequity creates rules regarding student punishment that negatively impacts students of color.
“It further states to address ‘systems of oppression’ a ‘culturally responsive teacher and leader’ will ‘be aware of the effects of power and privilege and the need for social advocacy and social action to better empower diverse students and communities,’” as The Center Square reports.
“If the state BoE approves the standards on December 16, they move on to the Illinois General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules,” The College Fix noted. “If given the green light there, not only will they become part of educators’ evaluations, but also programs at (state) university schools of education.”
Ralph Rivera and Molly Malone Rumley from the group Pro-Family Alliance responded to the Board’s proposal in a letter, asserting, “These elements of the proposed rule require teachers to enunciate a government-sourced ‘progressive’ and activist viewpoint in their educational work with students. As a consequence, certain narratives will be required, and counter-narratives excluded and proscribed. This is a form of compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination which is likely to be found unconstitutional.”
They added, “A statute (or, in this case, a rule) which fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited or required so that he or she may act accordingly violates due process and is void. … Vague laws offend several important values. First, because we assume that man is free to steer between lawful and unlawful conduct, we insist that laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited, so that he may act accordingly. Vague laws may trap the innocent by not providing fair warning. Second, if arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is to be prevented, laws must provide explicit standards for those who apply them.”
Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Thomas Olp added, “We do condemn racism or discrimination due to ethnicity. We respect diversity within the culture. However, mandating acceptance and endorsement of values that may be inconsistent with one’s own deeply held religious beliefs is unnecessary and unconstitutional. Additionally, the rule tries to dictate what teachers think – and to form them in an activist mindset.”
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