Illinois adopted the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards in March 2021. The standards come from research-based best practices for closing achievement gaps. Cultural responsiveness improves student outcomes across a range of indicators from math and reading scores to attendance, to postsecondary enrollment. The standards encourage future teachers to engage in self-reflection, to get to know their students' families, to connect the curriculum to students' lives, and to support student leadership. The standards will be implemented in educator preparation programs and will help aspiring educators build the skills they need to engage students who may come from a different backgrounds and cultures than them, in order to create an environment most conducive to learning.