SPRINGFIELD– The Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) announce their support for the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Standings (CRTLS), a rule change before the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR). The change was proposed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and would require those studying to become teachers to take a class to better understand cultural diversity and would also allow more professional development on inclusivity for practicing teachers.

“The IEA’s mission is focused on providing an equitable education to all our students in Illinois, no matter their religion, sexual orientation or what color their skin is, and the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards are another step in that direction,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “Educating our teachers about inclusion and different cultural perspectives will mean we can not only better understand the social and emotional needs of our students, but we can provide them with a better education.”

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The CRTLS rule change is not a mandate for teachers, but would provide optional professional development for teachers. The changes would apply to teacher preparation programs not curricula for K-12 students.

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“Illinois Federation of Teachers commends the Illinois State Board of Education and the educators who participated in the Diverse and Learner Ready Teaching Network for developing the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards. Given the diversity of students across the state, it is imperative that educators be well versed in culturally responsive pedagogical principles. These standards comprehensively address implicit biases, systems of oppression, the value of students’ lived experiences, and the importance of building authentic relationships with families and communities. In short, these standards provide a path to ensure educators are equipped with the tools and training needed to provide welcoming and inclusive classrooms for every student,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery.

The rule changes will positively impact students across the state:

  • By ensuring those who are preparing to become educators have a better understanding of diverse cultural background, which will mean our teachers will be able to provide a better education to all students;
  • By allowing current teachers to access more professional development to provide an equitable education to all students no matter their religion, sexual orientation or their race;
  • By enhancing how teachers interact with students;
  • By moving the state of Illinois closer to providing an equitable education to all our students.

The IEA and the IFT are partnering on a petition in support of the CRTLS rule change. The petition will launch later today. More information can be found here.

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