SPRINGFIELD – State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala issued the following statement today in support of the proposed Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards:
“Culturally responsive teaching and leading helped me improve the reading and math skills of every one of our student groups when I was a district superintendent and to achieve double digit growth among my students of color," said
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Cultural responsiveness is inclusive of all of the experiences our educators, students, and families bring to the classroom. Our state produces a 30-point achievement gap between Black and white students and a 22-point achievement gap between Hispanic and white students. As we help students recover from learning loss due to the pandemic, giving our teachers opportunities to learn about effective, equitable, and research-based strategies like cultural responsiveness could not be more important. Every student deserves to feel welcomed, included, and accepted at school. Students are more engaged when they see their cultures represented in what they learn at school. As a veteran educator, I know teachers know this, and the proposed Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards will enhance the strategies and best practices our teachers can use."
Find the proposed Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards, updated in response to public comment, on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) website at
- Implementation of the proposed Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards will consist only of approved Illinois educator preparation programs incorporating the standards into their coursework in the best way they see fit.
- ISBE also will offer optional professional development on the standards to current educators. Educators and school districts maintain local control over what professional development they choose.
- The Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards apply to teacher preparation programs, not to K-12 school curricula.
- ISBE updated the draft standards in response to public comment to provide further clarity on the intended goal and remove language perceived as political.
- The standards will take effect in October 2025, giving educator preparation programs ample time to incorporate the standards.
- The standards support multiple viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives; promote inclusiveness; and encourage critical thinking.
- The standards were developed by a diverse group of educators from around the state.
- The standards affirm educators of all races and ethnicities and will help them better engage students from all different backgrounds. More than 52 percent of Illinois students identify as students of color, and English Learners make up the fastest growing student population. The ability to reach students from different cultural backgrounds is an essential skill to succeed as a teacher in Illinois today.
- Research shows that teachers of color help close achievement gaps for students of color and are highly rated by students of all races. Incorporating the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards into educator preparation programs will help attract and retain educators of color.