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Gonna be interesting to watch how this plays out

Friday, Mar 15, 2019

* From the Illinois Human Rights Act

Freedom from Unlawful Discrimination. To secure for all individuals within Illinois the freedom from discrimination against any individual because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, order of protection status, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or unfavorable discharge from military service in connection with employment, real estate transactions, access to financial credit, and the availability of public accommodations.

* HB 246

Amends the School Code. With regard to the textbook block grant program, provides that the textbooks authorized to be purchased must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act and must be non-discriminatory as to any of the characteristics under the Act. Provides that textbooks purchased with grant funds must be non-discriminatory.

The Human Rights Act is a hugely important, hard-won law that’s been slowly expanded over the years. In my opinion, students ought to learn about the people covered by this law (and about the law itself, for that matter).

* Except

But it is unlikely that the bill would have any immediate impact, even if it is signed into law. That’s because it only applies to textbooks purchased through the state’s textbook block grant program, which has not received any funding for the last five years, and which the State Board of Education has not requested funding for in the upcoming budget.

So much for that.

* This sentence is what set so many people off

Provides that in public schools only, the teaching of history of the United States shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.

That part has nothing to do with the textbook grant program, so it has to be taught one way or another.


Rep. Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat who’s sponsoring the bill, said the measure would help depict an accurate understanding of LGBTQ figures in the classroom.

“This exclusion has denied students the opportunity to obtain a greater and more accurate understanding of world history,” Moeller said. “It also has denied LGBT people their identity and reflection in our school curriculum.” […]

Those opposed to this bill are worried how schools would pay for another curriculum requirement.

They said school districts are already required to do too much without enough state funding.

* Um, that’s not all they said

State Representative Darren Bailey (R-Louisville), voted no today on House Bill 246 that will mandate school books must include the teaching of the sexual identity of historical figures and that the sexual identities of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) must be identified.

“I am opposed to yet another mandate on our teachers,” said Rep. Darren Bailey, a former school board member. “There is nothing that prevents the teaching of the lives of historical figures including if they were known to have been homosexuals. But forcing that information on 5 year olds and elementary school children is more of an effort of indoctrination than of learning history about individuals who accomplished important discoveries in science or created great works of art.” […]

Rep. Bailey added, “I also opposed this legislation because it does not provide an ‘opt out’ option for parents who do not wish their children exposed to this kind of information for religious reasons or because their child may not be of a mature enough age to fully understand the meaning and implications of what LGBT actually is.”

* This is the current statute, except for the addition of the words “or she”

No pupils shall be graduated from the eighth grade of any public school unless he or she has received such instruction in the history of the United States and gives evidence of having a comprehensive knowledge thereof.

It should be interesting to see how the more conservative Downstate school districts approach this if/when it becomes the law of the land.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    A group of Springfield parents has flipped out over some clips from CNN being used at Grant Middle School, “liberal indoctrination” of the kids you know.

  2. - Redillinois - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:22 pm:

    A historical figure is a historical figure. Why elevate someone because of sexual preference?

  3. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    I laugh out loud every time I read the word “indoctrination” regarding sexual orientation…a simply absurd notion.

    Who,among us,made the decision to be heterosexual?…bi-sexual?…homosexual?

  4. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    So in other words, history classes will teach kids about Abraham Lincoln.

  5. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Does anyone really police curriculum? It seems there has been significant growth in ’stuff to teach’ but who really checks to see if and how it is taught?

  6. - Retired Educator - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    Is it needed to explain the sexual preference of an historic figure? Do we need to announce in class that Jefferson was a known heterosexual? It is just as absurd to announce that a historic figure is a homosexual. Lets teach about historic event and deeds, and leave the personal life out, unless it has some bearing on the achievement. IMHO

  7. - maximus - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    Im unclear why it matters if a historical figure was a homosexual? Their actions still stand as-is. This amendment is silly. I would rather my kids learn that the actions of someone are more important than which letter of the alphabet someone is labeled as.

  8. - Honeybear - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    I have to admit
    I’m irked at the timing of this.
    My God can we focus right now?
    Why can’t we do this one later in JB’s term?
    If we don’t get more revenue
    in the coffers
    we are gonna roll.
    I agree that this is an important issue.
    Not saying it’s not.
    But if we don’t get revenue coming in the door
    we’re going to be in a world of hurt.
    Look, I’m owed a lot of money in back pay.
    I am under no illusion that I’m going to see that any time soon.
    I gotta put that aside so that other things can be saved. I have got half a years’ salary/skin in this.
    If I’m able to let it go for years
    Well then you can cope with you tax increase
    or you could move

  9. - Unpopular - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    “unfavorable discharge from military service”

    So if someone gets ousted from the Military for irresponsible discharge of a firearm a city can’t consider that when hiring them to be a cop?

    As much as I think the LGBTQ stuff is ridiculous, the quoted language above is even more so.

  10. - PJ - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Students getting to learn about historical figures who share their sexual orientation is helpful in building self-esteem. Most LGBT kids have grown up feeling exceptionally alone. It can also help other kids come to grips with the fact that there’s nothing wrong with their gay classmates.

    Much better use of time than some other requirements. I spent some time in an Illinois classroom trying to teach kids who barely spoke English about ancient Egypt. Because for some godforsaken reason, that’s a part of the standard curriculum.

  11. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    Gloss over it like evolution is in fundie areas.

  12. - IgnoranceIsBliss - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    Do people really not read Bills before coming up with an opinion? This means that things like the Stonewall Riots, the Oscar Wilde Trial, that LGBTQ had a distinct marking triangle on their clothing in concentration camps… maybe teaching of these things will help our society get out of the hateful rhetoric against LGBTQ people. Here’s a great link from History about Gay Rights.

  13. - lake county democrat - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    I had the same thought as Honeybear. I don’t mean to minimize its importance, but JB’s honeymoon period should be spent on taxes/revenues (remember how “don’t ask, don’t tell” became a major issue while Bill Clinton was trying to pass budget reform?). Let’s pledge to return to this, but for now it’s not worth the potential distraction.

  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    We have Black History Month and Women History Month to draw attention to the contributions made to society by individuals from these groups. One of the benefits of this, is that young members of the same groups can look to these accomplished individuals as inspirations and roll models.

    In my opinion, this would not be any different.

    In stead of feeling isolated and different from everyone else, LGBTQ youth will have inspiring examples to look to and draw courage from.

  15. - Earnest - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    It’s sexual orientation. Sexual preference is a dog whistle to imply people just choose to be gay and undermines your arguments against the legislation.

  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    ===JB’s honeymoon period should be spent on===

    As far as I know, the governor’s office didn’t work this bill.

  17. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    J. Edgar Hoover

  18. - You bet - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    The left over plays its’ hand as surely as the sun comes up in the east. It should be impossible for Donald the Orange to be re-elected based on a myriad of factors not the least of which is he is well outside of the values set of most Americans (literally describe the values any way you like).

    This kind of stuff, when combined with the inability of the new Progressives to play to win in terms of nominating someone with cross over appeal, will render the left in stunned disbelief when they again fall short in 2020. In IL the D wins regardless, it just further alienates ALL non Progressives (IL moderate D’s are as homeless as the moderate R’s).

    Poor timing for this kind of political play. Battle vs. War kind of stuff.

  19. - NoGifts - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Order of protection status? How about if the order of protection is against you?

  20. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    I am not sure on the value of highlighting sexual orientation in elementary school.

    I hope that they limit the discussion to known LGBTQ figures such as Julius Caesar.

    How are they going to handle bad people who are LGBTQ?

  21. - SAP - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    there are parents who have religious reasons for not wanting their children exposed to history? Must be the same people who don’t want their children exposed to science.

  22. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===How are they going to handle bad people who are LGBTQ?===

    The same way they handle Jefferson.

  23. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    The reality here is that there has been an effort for years to include teaching about homosexuality in schools and present it as a normal expression of human sexuality. I been to the workshops and presentations that have clearly identified this as the goal. Now they want to expand that to the idea of transexuals. While there is no doubt that a large group believes this is a natural expression of human identity not everyone agrees and not because they are transphobic. Many people and professionals believe this is an indication of a disorder. For them, there is no point in presenting this as a desired, natural trait of humans. And that is different than suggesting we should discriminate against someone because they live this lifestyle. The point is that part of our educative process should be treating everyone with respect, whether we like or even agree with their lifestyles. But, I believe it will pass because the Senate passed it last year and now with the house passing it the Dems, who don’t worry about offending anyone who disagrees with them, will pass it.

  24. - Christopher - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Thank you to Dotnonymous, PJ, IgnoranceIsBliss, and Anonymous (@2:43pm) for their understanding and fairness.

  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the only people who were famous and assumed to be gay were Quentin Crisp, Liberace, Paul Lynde, and maybe Elton John. There were no real role models. Think about those growing up with those guys being your only role models and you can understand why activists want a truer representation.

  26. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==But forcing that information on 5 year olds and elementary school children==
    ==No pupils shall be graduated from the eighth grade==

    Hey if the 5 year olds Darren is complaing about here are smart enough to graduate from eighth grade, then they’re probably smart enough to ignore the parts of a textbook their parents complain about

  27. - Christopher - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    –from Aonymous (@3:52pm): Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the only people who were famous and assumed to be gay were Quentin Crisp, Liberace, Paul Lynde, and maybe Elton John. There were no real role models. –

    You’re right, they were all very flamboyant (”over the top”). For many people, they probably considered The Village People a gay group, but didn’t go much beyond that. But not every LGBT is a certain way, or effeminate.
    LGBT people come in every color, age, body type, degree, shade, manner, and so forth.

  28. - Blue Dog Dem - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    These issues are the reason this state will never dig out of its financial hole. Never.

  29. - Christopher - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding your remark, but LGBT people wanting to have their history reflected in school, just like everyone else, cannot be blamed for Illinois’ financial problems.

  30. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    ==Dems, who don’t worry about offending anyone who disagrees with them==

    Remind me again, on which side are the “snowflakes” supposed to be? I thought dems were forcing a “PC culture” on us all, and that true American patriots should not be afraid to offend people. At least that’s what Rush Limbaugh told me on my radio. Now I’m confused

  31. - City Guy - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:19 pm:

    Blue Dog - Actually these type issues are helping the state attract and retain talent. Look up Richard Florida’s writings on the creative class and economic development. On the flip side, I would argue that one of the reasons people leave small towns and migrate to the city is they don’t want to put up with the repression and bigotry.

  32. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:24 pm:

    Rep. Bailey — do you want an “opt-out” for teaching the theory of evolution in science classes as well?

  33. - anon2 - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:38 pm:

    === No pupils shall be graduated from the eighth grade of any public school unless he or she has received…===

    With the subject being “pupils,” the pronoun referring to it should be “they,” not “he or she.”

  34. - Whatever - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 4:40 pm:

    I fully agree with the premise that emphasizing LGBT contributions to history/society is important in overcoming prejudice and helping with the self-esteem of LGBT persons. The problem is that, given the historical treatment of LGBT persons, most identifications of historical LGBT persons will be speculative, at best. When did Julius Caesar come out? It may be the best we can do is to give an honest presentation of past and present prejudice.

  35. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 15, 19 @ 7:52 pm:

    Who determines what constitutes discrimination?

  36. - Suburban Mom - Saturday, Mar 16, 19 @ 6:36 pm:

    ===Rep. Bailey added, “I also opposed this legislation because it does not provide an ‘opt out’ option for parents who do not wish their children exposed to this kind of information for religious reasons or because their child may not be of a mature enough age to fully understand the meaning and implications of what LGBT actually is.”===

    Then you’d better not send them to kindergarten, because someone in that class has two daddies or two mommies, if they didn’t already have a friend with gay parents in preschool. My kids went to preschool and kindergarten downstate, and they always had kids in their classes with gay parents.

    You’re only avoiding your children being “exposed” to it if you send them to a super-discriminatory religious academy where children with gay parents are excluded, which are few and far between, since even most conservative religions don’t want to exclude children because of their parents’ so-called sins.

    I was a tiny bit worried the first time I had to explain his friend’s two moms to my then-3-year-old (mostly because my parents didn’t explain it to me until I was in 7th grade, when my teacher died of AIDS and his partner was at the funeral, so I didn’t have a model for how to talk about it with preschoolers), but it was like the biggest non-event ever. He was just like, “Oh, okay” and moved on with his life.

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