Illinois state representative calls for abolishing history classes
An Illinois state rep. is calling for the abolishment of history courses. State Rep. LaShawn Ford joined education leaders, political activists and others in Evanston, IL on Sunday to ask that the Illinois State Board of Education change the history curriculum at schools statewide.
“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.”
Ford said that current history has led to a racist society and overlooks the contributions of women and minorities.
“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. I’m also alarmed that people continue to display symbols of hate, such as the recent display of the Confederate flag in Evanston,” he said.
The representative is sponsoring a bill in the legislature to require elementary schools to teach students about the civil rights movement. The bill also calls for commemorative holidays honoring the principles of non-violence and human and civil rights.
“It costs us as a society in the long run forever when we don’t understand our brothers and sisters that we live, work and play with,” Ford said.
Republicans fired back at Ford saying it would take years to rewrite history books creating an entire generation of children without any historical education. They accused the representative and Democrats as a whole of continuing to attempt to erase parts of U.S. history and use the past to their political advantage.
Meleika Gardner sits on the board of an organization fighting for women and children’s rights in local legislation. Her group was key in adding the amendment to Ford’s bill that requires the American civil rights movement, pre-enslavement history and additional areas of study on Black History to be taught in elementary schools.
“We want to keep it fresh in people’s minds,” Gardner said. “With everything going on in the climate, with George Floyd, this is the perfect time now because people are starting to wake up.”
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