Illinois Lawmaker Pushes for Schools to Abolish History Curriculum in the State

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Posted: Aug 04, 2020 1:30 PM
Illinois Lawmaker Pushes for Schools to Abolish History Curriculum in the State

Source: AP Photo/David Mercer, File

An Illinois lawmaker is seeking to remove school history classes in his state until a reformed curriculum is created that doesn't promote racism.

Rep. LaShawn K. Ford, a Democrat from Chicago, said in a Sunday press conference that current history lessons are miseducating children about the past, NBC 5 in Chicago reported.

According to a press release unveiled just before Sunday's event, Ford said the current history lessons in Illinois "unfairly communicate our history," and they should be replaced with civics until there is a proper representation of subject matter within the curriculum. 

"It costs so much to print books and it costs so much of taxpayers to continue to pay for their kids and their children to be miseducated," said Ford at the press conference. "And not only does it cost when you pay your taxes, but costs us as a society in the long run forever." 

He also said current history classes lead to "white privilege and a racist society," according to ABC 7 in Chicago

Other speakers at the press conference noted that the current history instruction also fails to include Jewish and LGBTQ figures. 

Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, also a Democrat, didn't comment on Ford's proclamation about the abolishment of history classes, but he did say he supports House Bill 4954

The bill would change the school code to include commemorative holidays like Humanitarian Day (January 15), Violence Wholly Day (April 4), and Dream Day (August 28). It also would require elementary school lessons about the civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s. 

"Personally, I support House Bill 4954 because 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," Hagerty said in a statement.  

In February, Ford added an amendment to the bill to call for not only more teachings on civil rights, but also on the history of the African slave trade, slavery in America, and the vestiges of slavery in this country. There is no mention in the bill of the replacement of civics instead of history before the curriculum goals can be met. 

As of late June, the bill was referred to the Illinois House Rules Committee.