* Capitol News Illinois…
A legislative panel on Wednesday allowed the Illinois State Board of Education to move forward with new rules that call on colleges and universities in the state to change the way prospective teachers and administrators are trained in order to make them more accommodating to diverse students.
On a party-line vote, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, declined to block the new “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” from going into effect, despite objections by Republicans who argued the rules would ultimately require licensed teachers and administrators to adhere to a particular political ideology. […]
“So I do believe that what you’re doing is you’re taking teachers who may object to some of the things that are in this rule, and thus are saying that their inability or unwillingness to abide by this (is) making them, in effect, incompetent,” [Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock] said.
But Amanda Elliott, executive director of legislative affairs for the state board, said the new rules do not change the way licensed teachers or administrators are evaluated, only the way they are trained in schools of education.
* The inimitable Dave Dahl…
Opponents made this out to be some kind of thought police by which teachers would have to admit bias. State Rep. Andre Thapedi (D-Chicago) asked the state school board’s Amanda Elliott, “Are these rules designed to in any way affect potential internal biases in terms of developing their craft?”
“It is meant for teachers to recognize those biases and how they may affect their teaching practices,” said Elliott, the Illinois State Board of Education’s executive director of legislative affairs. “We want to make sure they are accepting all students and making sure the students feel welcome in their classroom.”
Elliott said the hope is to recruit minority teachers into what’s become a high-turnover profession.
* Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford)…
Cultural responsiveness means recognizing and incorporating all that a student brings into the classroom, so you can bring the curriculum to life in a way that is relevant to their lived experience. As a person of faith, I understand that examining and reflecting upon the way you view the world can be uncomfortable and difficult. But self-reflection gives us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and grow, which is ultimately what education is all about. All educators must be prepared to teach and serve children whose cultural backgrounds and identities are different than their own. These standards will support classrooms that embrace multiple viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives; promote inclusiveness; and encourage critical thinking. This will ultimately foster classroom and school environments that are more, not less, inclusive of all students, regardless of race, upbringings, potential language barriers, or any other aspect of one’s identity. As the data shows, creating environments that provide students with a sense of belonging is one that will nurture engagement, which will lead to academic success — something I believe we all want for Illinois’ students.