State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) continues to encourage parents, teachers, and community leaders to register their opinions with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) that will consider a proposal on February 16, drafted by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), entitled: “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Standards.” A public forum is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8 at 6:00 p.m. at Christ’s Church of Effingham located at 2511 S. Veterans Drive.
If adopted, these new guidelines will burden our teaching programs with additional mandates just at the time when Illinois is suffering from a shortage of teachers. At the start of the 2020 school year, there were 2,000 teacher vacancies reported in Illinois schools. With these new requirements, we risk increasing the teacher shortage and losing quality, new teachers. But what we’re really seeing here is not so much an attempt to expand our teacher rolls as it is a means by which those who set education policy are cementing social activism into our schools.
“About two-thirds of Illinois students failed to meet standards for math and English. This will further exacerbate that particular situation and put focus on activism and politicize our school districts all the way through academia, K-12 and then through the collegiate level as well so that will force folks to look to other states in order to provide education for their children,” Niemerg said.
A portion of the new standards call on teachers to “understand and value the notion that multiple lived experiences exist, that there is not one ‘correct’ way of doing or understanding something, and that what is seen as ‘correct’ is most often based on our lived experiences.”
Another provision calls on teachers to “(a)ssess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.)”
Yet another provision calls on educators to “(b)e aware of the effects of power and privilege and the need for social advocacy and social action to better empower diverse students and communities.”