SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Senate has passed a bill that Democrats have said will help remove systemic racism from the state's education system.
House Bill 2170 is led by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). It looks to address the way history is taught in Illinois schools and make other changes to education.
The bill will seek to reform history curriculum by forming the Inclusive American History Commission, which will make sure students learn about people from all backgrounds. Lightford said Illinois has been teaching history in a way that "ignores the contributions made by Black, Latino and LGBTQ people, and many others."
Lightford argued the inhumane way Black people were treated during slavery, along with how that history of mistreatment has carried over to today, has been ignored.
The bill also would create the Whole Child Task Force, which has the purpose of creating "equitable, safe, inclusive and supportive environments for all children - but especially survivors of trauma," a press release said from the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus said.
HB 2170 looks to make sure Black students and other marginalized groups have the same chance to get into competitive colleges and universities as white students, the release said. The bill requires two years of laboratory science and foreign language to graduate high school. It also directs all high school students to have at least one course with an "intense focus" on computer literacy.
The caucus said the bill is part of a package of four bills that will look to address racism, criminal justice reform, economic access and opportunity, and health care and human services.
The bill is now headed to the Illinois House for approval. If it passes the House, it will go to Gov. JB Pritzker for a signature.
Learn more about HB 2170 here.