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Why Some Chicago Leaders Are Calling For Schools to 'Abolish' History Classes

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

As statues, monuments, and memorials across the country have been razed or defaced, Chicago leaders are trying to do the same to education in the state.

During a meeting in Evanston on Sunday, political, education, and other Chicago leaders demanded the Illinois State Board of Education stop teaching history "until a suitable alternative is developed."

State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford, for example, argued the current curriculum and materials “unfairly communicate” history, which “leads to white privilege and a racist society.”

“When it comes to teaching history in Illinois, we need to end the miseducation of Illinoisans,” Ford said. “I’m calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum practices that unfairly communicate our history. 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."

Meleika Gardner of We Will similarly said it’s “urgent” the lessons stop.

“Miseducation has fed and continues to feed systemic racism for generations,” she said. “If Black History continues to be devalued and taught incorrectly, then it will call for further action.”

The mayor refused to take a stand for U.S. history because it’s not his “area” but expressed support for measures that would incorporate “the history of Black people ... [and] all groups, Women, LatinX, and Native Indians who helped to build America" in the curriculum. 

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