Friday, February 5, 2021

ISBE Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards - Biased? Truly Open to Critical Thinking?

 Concerns Regarding the Proposed

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards

Illinois State Board of Education


     I have read the standards, and I agree that we should recognize the value we find in all cultures and promote critical thinking in our schools. However, I am concerned about two statements in the standards.


Section 24.50 a 1:

there is not one "correct" way of doing or understanding something

     This is an important statement that sets the tone for all that follows, and it is unfortunately vague. It appears to be biased toward the postmodern world-view that there are no absolute truths.


Section 24.50 a 10:

Teachers... Assess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice and how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.). 

     Many people think that education is about reading, writing, and arithmetic. But obviously it’s about much more – It’s also (really, mostly) about ethics. I am glad to see that you are trying to promote the teaching of ethics in our public schools. But whose ethics will it be? 


     As the standards stated above, “there is not one ‘correct’ way of... understanding something.” Will our schools allow open discussion of the different views of “racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.”? Could a teacher, for example, point out that some people believe that sexual relations apart from marriage, homosexual behavior, and abortion are all unethical. Or will some views be allowed while others are not allowed? 


     State Superintendent of Education Ayala said that the standards were revised to “remove language perceived as political” (ISBE Press Release 2/1/21).  Even with this revised version I am concerned that there are some biases hiding behind the ambiguous language in these standards. 


     I think these standards need more evaluation and input from our citizens.  


Michael P. Walther

Maryville, Illinois





Dr. Carmen I. Ayala, State Superintendent of Education


Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR)


Senator Bill Cunningham

Rep. Keith Wheeler

Senator John Curran

Senator Kimberly LIghtford

Senator Tony Munoz

Senator Sue Rezin

Senator Donald DeWitte

Rep. Tom Demmer

Rep. Mike Halpin

Rep. Fran Hurley

Rep. Steven Reick 

Rep. Andre Thapedi


From ISBE Press Release December 16, 2020

ISBE develops standards for educator preparation programs through the rulemaking process. ISBE will submit the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for consideration. If JCAR issues no objection, ISBE will file the rules with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, at which time they will become effective. Existing educator preparation programs will align their programs to the standards by October 1, 2025. Programs that prepare teachers, school support personnel, and administrators in Illinois will submit evidence to ISBE showing how their course content and field experiences address the 

From ISBE Press Release February 1, 2021

  • ISBE updated the draft standards in response to public comment to provide further clarity on the intended goal and remove language perceived as political.
Response from Senator Curran, February 8, 2021

Dear Michael,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the proposed “Culturally Responsive Teaching” rules.

I want you to know that I believe schools should foster a positive environment where students cannot only learn, but also where they can develop the ability to understand and interpret events and issues for themselves. Teachers should be allowed to foster a sense of curiosity and critical thinking without imparting any undue influence or bias on students’ opinions.

I am currently studying the details of the “Culturally Responsive Teaching” rule that is scheduled to be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). From what I have seen so far, like you, I have serious concerns about this proposal.

In the meantime, please help me to make sure that your voice is heard on this important issue. Soon you will be able fill out a petition on my website,, so that the members of JCAR understand how you feel before they cast a vote. Also, be sure to share the petition with your friends and family.

Thank you again for your time and your concern. Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns.



John F. Curran
Illinois State Senator
41st District

1011 State Street Suite 205 
Lemont, IL 60439
(P) 630-914-5733
(F) 630-914-5748

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