“I certainly don’t discount the importance of understanding and embracing all students’ cultural and personal experiences and differences, but current ISBE standards already address this. Today’s standards encourage teachers to recognize and understand the diverse characteristics and abilities of each student, and to use their students’ social and economic experiences to guide teaching and learning.
“I appreciate that ISBE heard our concerns and removed some of the most politically-charged rhetoric from the initial draft of the proposed rule, but as revised I still could not support it. I believe the rule requires more work. it. The language remains extremely vague, making it left to interpretation. There is more work that needs to be done. I’m calling on ISBE to continue working with us so the rule can be further revised in a manner that ensures teachers are being inclusive with their classroom strategies, but stop short of leading students to pre-determined, politically-desired conclusions.
“As a member of JCAR, my office was flooded with emails, phone calls and other messages on this issue from around the state- many from current and retired teachers who are opposed to the rule. As of the end of the day on Tuesday, my office tallied 892 opposed to the rule and only 8 in favor of it. These numbers speak for themselves. The people of Illinois want politics out of the classroom.”