History lessons on LGBTQ contributions to be required in public schools starting next year

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker waves June 30, 2019, at the 50th Chicago Pride Parade. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Illinois public schools will be required to teach students about the contributions made by members of the LGBTQ community under a law Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last week.

The new law mandates that the history curriculum in public schools include lessons on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois and the United States. The lessons must be taught to students before they complete the eighth grade.

“One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, one of the bill’s Senate sponsors, said in a news release. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”

According to state Rep. Ann Moeller, an Elgin Democrat who was one of the bill’s sponsors in the House, Illinois is the fifth state in the nation to adopt such legislation.

“The new law’s goal is simple: to understand that people from different backgrounds deserve the same opportunity to learn and be recognized for their contributions in society as everyone else," Moeller said in a news release.

Public schools are already required to teach students about the history of other minority and ethnic groups, including African Americans and Hispanics.

The legislation passed 60-42 in the House and 37-17 in the Senate. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2020.

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August 12, 2019 at 02:15PM