Legislator calls Illinois House mandate for LGBT school lessons ‘Indoctrination, not history’
March 19, 2019, LifeSiteNews — The Illinois House has passed a controversial bill requiring public school history textbooks to include “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state.”
Known as HB 246, the measure passed by a comfortable 60-42 margin, largely along party lines, with three Democrats joining Republicans in opposition to the proposed legislation. No Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
The bill aims to amend the state’s textbook block grant program, mandating the purchase of textbooks that highlight the contributions of all groups protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
“There is nothing that prevents the teaching of the lives of historical figures including if they were known to have been homosexuals,” said Rep. Darren Bailey. “But forcing that information on five-year-olds and elementary school children is more of an effort of indoctrination than of learning history about individuals who accomplished important discoveries in science or created great works of art.”
“I also opposed this legislation because it does not provide an ‘opt-out’ option for parents who do not wish their children exposed to this kind of information for religious reasons or because their child may not be of a mature enough age to fully understand the meaning and implications of what LGBT actually is,” added Bailey.
Another Republican, Rep. Tom Morrison, objected on mostly pragmatic grounds, focusing on how the newly mandated material would unfairly burden teachers who already face difficult workloads.
“We all know that we need to have a well-educated, well-informed citizenry. We have to have that if we’re going to maintain our form of government,” said Morrison. “But we’re already failing to teach history to today’s and future generations. We’re not even covering the basics of our shared history.”
The legislation now goes to the Illinois Senate, where it is expected to pass. If signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the measure would go into effect July 1, 2020.
Some are viewing this as a mostly symbolic act, with little or no impact in the immediate future.
The legislation “only applies to textbooks purchased through the state’s textbook block grant program, which has not received any funding for the last five years, and which the State Board of Education has not requested funding for in the upcoming budget,” according to a saukvalley.com report.