New Illinois law to include more perspectives in history classes

In August, the Illinois state government passed a new law that would affect public schools across the entire state. History classes are now required by law to include the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their history.
“As a Social Studies teacher, any time we can encourage a representative curriculum is a good thing. Stuff like this is already studied in AP U.S. History, in that lots of teachers are getting multiple perspectives,” said Social Studies department chair Adrijana Bisevac.
It is unknown when this new law will take affect, but no negative repercussions are predicted. Instead, this law will improve the learning experience and mental health of LGBT students.
“When students are part of the LGBT community, they can struggle with being open about their problems. Getting rid of the social stigma around LGBT issues is really important in terms of curriculum,” said Sociology and Psychology teacher Catherine Dodd.
North is already a very inclusive school, but it is beneficial to be able to learn new perspectives while in class, according to Bisevac.
“Any time that students can see as many perspectives as possible helps students see themselves in history books. It shows them that history is not just one story, but many stories tangled together,” Bisevac said.
These perspectives can helpmake students connect with history. When the perspectives include marginalized people, they can help students get further in life.
“We know that LGBT students have higher suicide rates than other groups. Hopefully this new law can lessen that by showing the inclusion of marginalized people,” said Jenny Andersen, the student assistance program coordinator.