The governor of Illinois recently signed a bill that will mandate public schools in the state teach LGBT history, beginning next year. The new legislation will require schools to incorporate “a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people” as part of the American history curriculum.
Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed House Bill 246 into law on Friday, which will require schools to incorporate LGBT history in American history courses. The law mandates that all publicly funded schools in Illinois include “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State” in official textbooks.
“Each public school district and State-recognized, non-public school shall, subject to appropriations for that purpose, receive a per-pupil grant for the purchase of secular and non-discriminatory textbooks,” reads the text of the legislation.
The bill continues:
In public schools only, the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State. The teaching of history also shall include a study of the role of labor unions and their interaction with government in achieving the goals of a mixed free enterprise system. No pupils shall be graduated from the eighth grade of any public school unless he or she has received such instruction in the history of the United States and gives evidence of having a comprehensive knowledge thereof.
According to the legislation, the state’s Board of Education is now mandated to “annually publish a list of textbooks authorized to be purchased,” and is “authorized to provide annual funding to public school districts and State-recognized, non-public schools serving students in grades kindergarten through 12” for the purchase of the textbooks.
“One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” said state senator Heather Steans (D) in a previous statement. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”
“It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment,” added Steans. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”
The new legislation will take effect next year, on July 1.