Despite Nationwide Condemnation, Illinois Passes Leftist Teacher-Training Mandate
Despite Nationwide Condemnation, Illinois Passes Leftist Teacher-Training Mandate
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   02.18.21

How far gone is Illinois? And by “gone,” I mean arrogantly and divisively leftist.

Well, despite statewide and even nationwide condemnation of the proposed “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards,”  the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) failed to stop the controversial standards.

In a vote delayed by one day, JCAR voted 6-5 along partisan lines to, in effect, approve these standards, which will infuse the assumptions of Critical Race Theory/ identity politics/BLM into 1. all teacher-training programs, 2. all Professional Education Licensing (PEL), and 3. indirectly into all public school classrooms.

Not even yesterday’s plea from the left-leaning Chicago Tribune Editorial Board to JCAR not to pass these controversial standards—standards that the editorial board described as politicized—was sufficient to stop the Democrats in JCAR from further exploiting government schools for leftist propaganda purposes.

Ideological diversity—already a rare commodity in government schools—will be now be further diminished in favor of promoting arguable leftist beliefs about identity, “systems of oppression,” “sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege,” and “Eurocentrism.”

The standards were created by a committee hand-picked by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), which is controlled by leftists. While having the effect of law, these standards constitute an amendment to existing school code, so they did not have to go through the normal lawmaking process, which would involve more transparency, floor debates in Springfield, and every Illinois lawmaker publicly voting.

In the wake of nationwide criticism of the “woke” standards, the ISBE issued a statement with this chuckle-worthy, chuckleheaded claim:

The standards were developed by a diverse group of educators from around the state.

Just curious, how many in this “diverse group of educators” are critics of Critical Race Theory and BLM, or find fault with the ideas of Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-Nehesi Coates, and Robin DiAngelo?

The ISBE’s statement also said the following:

The Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards apply to teacher preparation programs, not to K-12 school curricula. ISBE also will offer optional professional development on the standards to current educators. Educators and school districts maintain local control over what professional development they choose.

This is a transparent effort to mollify and silence critics of the infusion of leftist beliefs on race, American history, homosexuality, and “trans”-cultism into curricula. But “deplorables” are not stupid. We all know that “teacher preparation” is intended to and will shape both professional development and curricula.

As a result of the widespread condemnation of the leftist-created standards, the ISBE begrudgingly tossed an insignificant sop in the direction of Illinoisans who oppose the divisive politicization of education. Nervous ISBE leftists changed the word “progressive” to “inclusive.” For example, here is an original pre-condemnation sentence from the standards:

The culturally responsive teacher and leader will … Embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized populations.

Here is the worthless, one-word, post-condemnation change ISBE wokesters threw to Illinois serfs:

The culturally responsive teacher and leader will … Embrace and encourage inclusive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized populations.

As I wrote last week, the unelected wokesters on the ISBE committee that created these radical standards think Illinois conservatives are stupid. They think we don’t realize that their definition of “inclusive” excludes conservative viewpoints.

They also think conservatives won’t notice the inclusion of the adverb “traditionally,” which necessarily excludes contemporary marginalized populations, like the theologically orthodox Christian population, which is today excluded, hated, and cancelled.

This is what’s called a distinction without a difference—a distinction intended to dupe the deplorables.

In another document, the ISBE makes another chuckle-worthy, eye-roller of a statement about the effects of these new ideological diktats:

The standards will help combat the teacher shortage. They will help educators become better teachers and experience higher job satisfaction, which makes them more likely to stay in the profession.

No acknowledgment of the teachers who will leave the profession or of those future teachers who will no longer consider teaching in Illinois because they know that Illinois schools are places of oppression that require ideological submission.

Here are just a few of the controversial ideas that Illinois will now force teacher-training programs and professional licensure to impose on all future “teachers, school support personnel” and administrators. Please note, that “identities” include homosexuality, cross-sex impersonation, and “gender fluidity”:

  • Value the notion that … there is not one “correct” way of doing or understanding something.
  • “Assess how their own biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own racist, sexist, homophobic, Eurocentric behavior or unearned privilege.”
  • 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.
  • Encourage and affirm the personal experiences … students share in the classroom.
  • Consistently solicit students’ input on the curriculum.
  • Co-create, with students, the collective expectations and agreements regarding the physical space and social-emotional culture of the classroom.
  • Create a risk-taking space that promotes student activism and advocacy.
  • Invite family and community members to teach about topics that are culturally specific and aligned to the classroom curriculum or content area.
  • Intentionally embrace student identities and prioritize representation in the curriculum.
  • Implement and integrate the wide spectrum and fluidity of identities in the curriculum.
  • Ensure text selections reflect students’ classroom, community, and family culture.
  • Ensure teacher and students co-create content to include a counternarrative to dominant culture.
  • Promote robust discussion with the intent of raising consciousness that reflects modern society and the ways in which cultures and communities intersect.
  • Consider a broader modality of student assessments [i.e., grades and testing], such as … “social justice work.”

In my mind’s eye, I see more Illinois families planning their exit from public schools and more families planning their exit from this politically “woke,” intellectually slumbering, and morally vacuous state.

Listen to this article read by Laurie:

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children and ten grandchildren....
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