On March 4, 2020, the amendment to Bill HB4954 introduced by House representative, LaShawn K. Ford of the 8th District, was called into a house committee hearing in Springfield. In addition to amending school codes to add commemorative holidays, Humanitarian Day, Victims of Violence Wholly Day, and Dream Day, the amendment mandates that all schools in the State of Illinois teach children grades K-12 Black History. Specifically, the amendment provides that the curriculum taught include the American Civil Rights movement from 1954-1965 and the study of pre-enslavement history. The amendment received 14 votes in support and 7 against and is currently scheduled for a vote later this week.
The Illinois State Board of Education currently mandates that every public and elementary school teach Black History. Those include contributions made by African Americans in various industries such as government, arts, humanities, and science. In addition to the study of the struggle of African Americans in achieving equal rights. The mandate does not specify how much time should be spent on teaching Black history but instead gives each school board the authority to determine the amount of time that satisfy’ s the mandate requirement. Opponents of the bill are concerned that there are not enough resources or funding to amend the current State’s curriculum.
Constituents are urged to contact their local House of Representatives https://www.ilga.gov/house to express their opinions on the passing of this bill.
Danielle Sanders, Contributing Writer