SPRINGFIELD–Students in Illinois would learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people under the Inclusive Curriculum Bill introduced in the Illinois Senate, according to a statement from Equality Illinois.
From the statement:
The Inclusive Curriculum Bill, SB 3249, was introduced late Thursday and is sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago and state Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin. The bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, which promotes safety, support, and healthy development for LGBTQ students in Illinois schools.
“As a former first grade teacher, I know how an inclusive education system can create change within a community,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “By including information in public school curriculum about the contributions of LGBTQ people and the historical events they were involved in, we will get closer as a state to telling the whole story of our shared history.”
“We work with students across Illinois, and we consistently hear from them that they don’t see themselves or their identities in their classrooms,” said Rodrigo Anzures-Oyorzabal, Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. “This bill will help LGBTQ students see their own history across fields and practices, creating better outcomes for them in school.”
The Illinois School Code already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities, and people with disabilities, so SB 3249 is consistent with current state law.
“An inclusive history will affirm for LGBTQ students that people just like them existed and made significant contributions to society,” said Johnson. “This inclusive history will also benefit non-LGBTQ students, who would be taught the whole story about the achievements of LGBTQ people and the historical events that impacted all of us.”
This curricular approach is consistent with our shared values of inclusion and respect that have made Illinois the civil rights leader in the Midwest. Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance thank Sen. Steans and Rep. Moeller for leading this effort to ensure that students in Illinois are taught the whole picture of history. The Inclusive Curriculum Bill will be a key lobbying component of LGBTQ Advocacy Day on April 11 in the Illinois Capitol.
Since there is no requirement to include the roles and contributions of LGBTQ people in the Illinois School Code, the historical representation of LGBTQ people, events, and contributions is not discussed in most classrooms across the state.
SB 3249 would include the contributions of LGBTQ people in the teaching of Illinois and American history, make awareness of LGBTQ contributions to society part of school curriculum in Illinois, and ensure that instructional materials are non-discriminatory and accurately reflect Illinois’ diversity. SB 3249 is modeled after existing provisions in the Illinois School Code that ensure the inclusion of the contributions of historically marginalized communities as well as on a similar law passed and adopted in California in 2011. Illinois would be only the second state in the country to ensure inclusion on a statewide level of the contributions and roles of LGBTQ people in curriculum.