To the Editor:
SB3249 requires textbooks purchased with state funds are free from discrimination and the contributions of LGBT persons are included in the instruction of U.S. History in Illinois public schools.
Additional Social Studies mandates include instruction in African-American history, contributions of the disabled, fifteen specified nationalities, and women’s struggles for the right to vote, among other mandates. SB3249 does not require schools to teach about deportation of Mexicans nor does it require instruction on labor unions. Those provisions already exist in Illinois School Code and are not a part of SB3249.
In response to a claim of Democratic political agenda, inclusion of Mexican-Americans was voted on by the ILGA by a bipartisan vote of 154-7. The inclusion of Hispanics was approved by a bipartisan vote of 168-0.
The same vote changed the wording in Illinois School Code from “negroes” to African-Americans. ILGA has changed wording to match prevailing norms in society.
SB3249 is an appreciation of improving values in our society.
This fall, I will teach students from four counties for my 15th year. I’ll meet students with great ethnic, religious, cultural, gender, and linguistic diversity. They enrich my classes and I appreciate the opportunity to teach character and academics to every student and respect their unique traits. I’ll meet Illinois' mandates as necessary.
My first responsibility and honor is to ensure students of every kind are appreciated, respected, and comforted in knowing they are part of, and taught their role in, America’s vibrant, diverse, evolving history.
Cary Waxler, NBCT