News and Commentary

Illinois Might Mandate Teachers To ‘Embrace’ Progressive Viewpoints

Teachers will be forced to embrace left-wing social policies as part of the school curriculum.
A sign outside of Columbus Elementary School delivers messages to students and parents on January 25, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago Public School teachers were scheduled to return to the classroom for in-person learning today, but the union objected and voted to continue remote learning
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is set to vote on new “culturally responsive” teaching standards that would force educators to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints.” 

On Feb. 16, the ISBE will decide whether to implement the new K-12 teaching standards titled, “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading.” According to a copy of the proposed legislation obtained by The Daily Wire, teachers will be forced to embrace left-wing social policies as part of the school curriculum. 

The proposed legislation calls on teachers and leaders to be “culturally responsive,” which is defined over six pages of requirements. 

First, the “culturally responsive” teacher must actively work to reform the institutions in which they work to become more tolerant and anti-racist. Teachers are required to “assess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own behaviors” This includes, but is not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, and Eurocentrism. 

The legislation makes clear that teachers and leaders must affirm the identity of gender-dysphoric students. This includes integrating and implementing “the wide spectrum and fluidity of identities” into the course curriculum. 

Culturally responsive teachers must also believe that systems of oppression are actively working against marginalized groups in America. 

“Culturally responsive teachers and leaders understand that there are systems in our society that create and reinforce inequities, thereby creating oppressive conditions,” the legislation reads. This comes alongside “embrac[ing] and encourag[ing] progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized populations.”

The new standards also call for both teachers and students alike to actively work on “social advocacy and social action” to empower diverse groups and communities. In the legislation, a culturally responsive teacher or leader is described as someone that promotes and creates opportunities for student activism. 

Teachers will be required to “create a risk-taking space that promotes student activism and advocacy” as well as “offer student advocacy and activism content with real world implications.” 

According to the legislation, teachers will also be asked to adjust their classroom systems and policies to align with the values and cultural norms of families. For example, if being late is an alleged “cultural norm” in a family, then guidelines must be adjusted for that student.

Finally, the legislation calls for a collaborative partnership between students and teachers. Instead of establishing the rules of the classroom, teachers must allow students to be involved in the process. 

“Co-create, with the students, the collective expectations and agreements regarding the physical space and social-emotional culture of the classroom and school.”

An ISBE spokeswoman cited the state’s growing percentage of minority students as a reason to pass these standards. 

“The reality is that Illinois’ students are increasingly diverse, with more than 52 percent identifying as students of color,” said ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews. “The ability to reach students from different cultural backgrounds is an essential skill to succeed as a teacher in Illinois today.”

Advocates from the Illinois Pro-Family Alliance told The Daily Herald that they are fearful that these new requirements will silence teachers and students with diverse viewpoints and indoctrinate students. 

“This requirement will create potential conflicts with the deeply held religious convictions of teachers, parents, and students,” the organization said. “Not all teachers would be able to comply with the new standards without violating their consciences.” 

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