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Illinois lawmaker calls for state to cease history lessons

Rep. LaShawn Ford says the current curriculum overlooks the contributions of minorities, women and LGBTQ members.

LaShawn Ford

An Illinois lawmaker is calling for the removal of history books and history classes in the state’s school districts.

On Sunday (Aug. 2), Rep. LaShawn Ford and other Evanston leaders said they believe the current curriculum will “lead to white privilege and a racist society.” They also say the current history books and syllabus “overlook the contributions by women and members of the Black, Jewish, LGBTQ communities and other groups,” according to CNN.

“Until a suitable alternative is developed, we should instead devote greater attention toward civics and ensuring students understand our democratic processes and how they can be involved,” he said. “I’m also alarmed that people continue to display symbols of hate, such as the recent display of the Confederate flag in Evanston.”

Back in February, Ford and other community leaders introduced HB 4954, a bill which would amend the school code to include holidays to observe the principles of human and civil rights.

Meleika Gardner of We Will, an organization that fights for women and children’s rights, added an amendment to Ford’s bill that would add Black history, pre-enslavement history and the study of the American civil rights movement to the mandatory curriculum.

“The miseducation of our children must stop,” said Gardner. “It is urgent that it comes to an end as we witness our current climate become more hostile. Miseducation has fed and continues to feed systemic racism for generations. If Black History continues to be devalued and taught incorrectly, then it will call for further action.”

Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty says he is not comfortable speaking about education and curriculum, but he was on board with HB 4954. “I am interested in learning more and believe the history of Black people should be taught to all children and include all groups, women, LatinX, and Native Indians who helped to build America,” he told the outlet.

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