The new bill seeks to “ensure the religious neutrality of the textbook block grant program,” and allows the Education Department to implement rules “as necessary” to ensure the law is enacted.
According to the legislation, they believe the new requirements make students “more likely to understand that a diverse cast has contributed to our society.”
Other requirements under the new law are that all schools in the state include “the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the history of this country and state” in the official textbooks used by schools. The state board of education is also required to publish a list of the textbooks it has authorized for purchase.
The legislation reads: “Each public school district and state-recognized, non-public school shall, subject to appropriations for that purpose, receive a per-pupil grant for the purchase of secular and non-discriminatory textbooks.”
One of the groups that led to the creation of the law and its passing in the Illinois State Senate by a vote of 34-18 last May, is GLSEN.
GLSEN is an LGBTQ advocacy education organization that is working to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The organization also wants to prompt LGBT cultural inclusion and awareness in K-12 schools.
According to GLSEN, 61% of LGBTQ students in Illinois have said they have faced verbal harassment based on gender expression.
Schools are superseding the role of parents in introducing students to sexual ideas earlier and earlier.
In Rockland County, California, a kindergarten teacher read a picture book to her students about a transgender child. The title of the book is “I Am Jazz.” A line from the book reads, “I have a girl brain but a boy body.”
GLSEN was also the group behind Unity Week in Pennsylvania public schools, a program that encouraged schools in the state to force 2,800 students to watch pro-LGBTQ videos where parents were not allowed to attend.