State lawmakers criticize Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) – A new set of proposed standards for Illinois teachers are being criticized.

A group of Republican state lawmakers, including State Rep. Dan Brady (105th District), State Rep. Tom Demmer (90th District), State Rep. Adam Niemurg (109th District), and Steven Reick (63rd District) spoke against Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards Monday.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards were passed by the Illinois State Board of Education in December 2020.

According to ISBE, the standards support inclusion and equity for students by guiding educators to:

  • Self-reflect and gain a deeper understanding of how their life experiences affect their perspectives;
  • Understand that systems in our society create and reinforce inequities;
  • Learn from and about their students’ cultures, languages, and learning styles to make instruction more meaningful and relevant to their students’ lives;
  • Value students’ feedback and leadership;
  • Support and create opportunities for student advocacy;
  • Develop relationships with families and the community;
  • Curate the curriculum to include and represent a wide spectrum of identities; and
  • Ensure the diversity of the student population is represented within the broader learning environment.

ISBE says the standards are designed to make sure educators are prepared to teach in diverse classrooms.

While agreeing that all students should feel welcomed, some state representatives say the standards are pushing partisan politics into schools.

“That’s why this is an overreach, it establishes a whole series of new mandates that are outside of some of the core parts of education that we’re already struggling within Illinois,” Demmer said.

“It’s so disappointing that rather than focusing on any of these issues, the State Board of Education has instead chosen to create pages of new rules and mandates that prioritize social activism over basic skills,” Brady said.

On February 16th, the standards will go before the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Demmer says if 8 out of 12 members vote against it, that it can be blocked.

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