Illinois’s state Senate has approved a bill that asks for LGBTQ history to be a requirement in public schools.
Senate Bill 3249 is the bill that was passed on the floor earlier today. The bill was approved by a vote of 34 to 18.
The bill was first introduced by Chicago Democrat Heather Steans who says the bill would enlighten and better Illinois students.
“By teaching students an inclusive curriculum, Illinois classrooms will promote acceptance and a more accurate portrayal of history,” she said. “LGBT students also will learn about people who had some similar qualities to them and became historical role models.”
If the bill were to be signed into law, it would require schools in the state to take some time in the year to teach LGBTQ history. Specifically, students would learn about contributions LGBTQ people made to society.
Steans says that the bill would work with already established laws that require students learn about specific races and ethnicities like African-American history, Asian-American history, Hungarian history, and French history.
That said, this is only the first step in the bill’s journey towards hopefully becoming a law. The bill would need to be passed by the state House and then be signed by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
Of course, there’s plenty of opposition to the bill. For instance, some education advocates are lobbying against it for multiple reasons. Some see it as an offense to religious freedom and some see it as an offense to the jurisdictions of school boards.
“We have a clear directive from our membership to oppose all curricular mandates that come before the General Assembly,” said Zach Messersmith, director of government relations for the Illinois Association of School Boards, to the State Journal-Register. “We believe that locally elected school boards should be able to determine curricula for their students as long as it meets Illinois Learning Standards.”
Again, we’ll see if the bill will be able to hurdle over all of the obstacles before it. If it does, Illinois will only be the second state to require LGBTQ history for public school students. The only other state to do so is California.
h/t: the Associated Press, The State Journal-Register