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LGBTQ History Book Bill To Go Before State Senate

Office of State Sen. Heather Steans
State Sen. Heather Steans sponsored at a bill to require Illinois public schools to teach a curriculum that includes contributions of LGBTQ individuals.

Illinois could become the first state in the Midwest to require public schools to teach LGBTQ history.

The plan calls for the contributions of LGBTQ people to be acknowledged in history courses and in textbooks purchased by public schools. The State House of Representatives approved the bill in March. The state Senate could consider it as early as this week.

“We think this is important both for LGBTQ students and  non-LGBTQ students to ... really help further tell the story of Illinois and the story of America by including the perspectives and the contributions of all people,“ said Mike Ziri, who is policy director of the advocacy organization Equality Illinois, which has been a driving force behind the legislation.

The measure has been opposed by some religious organizations and conservative groups. 

Ziri said,  “That could be contributions of folks like Harvey Milk, or Jane Addams. You know, it could be the history of the civil rights work at Stonewall in New York City in 1969. All of this rich history is omitted from curricula and from history.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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