House authorizes review of African-American history curriculum in schools
The Illinois House of Representatives has approved the creation of a task force that will audit the teaching of African-American history in the state's public schools.
House Resolution 1098 will create the Black History Curriculum Task Force, which will audit every public school district's history curriculum to make sure there is a unit regarding African-American history.
"This resolution sets up a task force to set up to provide a black history curriculum review," Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) said.
Ford sponsored the bill along with Reps. Camille Lilly (D-Oak Park), Arthur Turner (D-Chicago), Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D-Chicago), Nicholas Smith (D-Chicago), Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Westchester), Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis).
The task force will find out at what grade level school districts start teaching African-American history, at what level they stop and if standardized testing includes material on African-American history.
Every public school will be required to include the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America and the vestiges of slavery in the United States, according to the resolution.
"These events shall include not only the contributions made by individual African-Americans in government and in the arts, humanities and sciences to the economic, cultural and political development of the United States and Africa, but also the socio-economic struggle which African-Americans experienced collectively in striving to achieve fair and equal treatment under the laws of this nation," the resolution states.
The task force will include the state superintendent of education, one member representing all regional offices of education, one member representing school boards, one member representing school principals, one member representing school administrators, three members representing teachers, one member representing a school district organized under Article 34 of 105 ILCS 5/27-20.4, one member representing large unit districts, one member representing suburban school districts, one member representing south suburban school districts, one member representing a statewide organization focused on research-based education policy and one member representing an education advocacy organization that works with parents, according to the resolution.
The resolution, which passed 105-0, states that the audit will be completed by Jan. 9.