The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools throughout Illinois, with 1.2 million of the state’s 1.9 million students still fully remote as of Dec. 18. In Chicago Public Schools, Illinois’ largest school district, the teachers union is in a showdown with the district’s CEO and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the district’s plan to reopen schools for elementary school students.
Against this tension-filled backdrop stands another controversial education issue: in December, the Illinois State Board of Education, or ISBE, passed a new rule that would require culturally responsive teaching and leading standards to be incorporated in all Illinois teacher preparation programs. Critics of the proposed standards have said they require educators to embrace left-leaning ideology and prioritize political and social activism in classrooms at a time when Illinois students are underperforming on basic skills tests.
Unless the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, which consists of 12 lawmakers from the General Assembly, votes to suspend the rule at its meeting Feb. 16, these standards will apply to all Illinois professional educator licenses endorsed in teaching, school support personnel and administrative fields.