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In 2018, CCSSO partnered with ten states, including Illinois, to engage in work to diversify the state’s teacher pipeline and ensure that all teachers practice culturally responsive teaching.  Illinois’ team is composed of diverse stakeholders representing institutions of higher education, district and school-level leadership, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois General Assembly.

 Support for the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards

​Illinois has adopted Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading StandardsPDF Document. 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.

State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala issued a statement about the standards and addressed why the standards are so important in her Feb. 2 Weekly Message column and in her Feb. 17 Weekly Message column. ISBE has compiled several resources below, sharing additional perspectives on the standards.   

 Current Goals

​Increasing the number of minority teachers in Illinois public schools by the year 2025 and the number of minority teacher candidates by 2023. (Precise percentages of increase will be identified after further research is concluded.)

Ensuring that all teachers practice culturally responsive teaching via development of a definition for “Learner Ready” for teacher candidates and a required training/PD activity for all in-service teachers.

Providing more valuable support to teachers of color who are currently in the teaching profession.

Guiding Illinois Institutions of Higher Education on inclusion of the Illinois Culturally Responsive Teacher and Leader Standards into their preparation programs, and helping them develop recruitment and retention plans for teacher candidates of color.

 Steering Team Members

  • Fred Crespo
    State Representative, 44th District, Illinois House of Representatives​

  • Andrea E. Evans, Ph.D.
    Director, Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies, Northeastern Illinois University

  • Sam Fogleman
    Principal Consultant, Educator Effectiveness, Illinois State Board of Education

  • Emily Fox
    Director, Educator Effectiveness, Illinois State Board of Education

  • Rodolfo Hernandez
    Superintendent, Cicero School District 99, Cicero, IL

  • Claudia Valencia
    Licensure Recruitment Coordinator, Educator Effectiveness, Illinois State Board of Education

  • Karina Villa
  • State Senator, 25th District, Illinois State Senate

  • Maurice West
    State Representative, 67th District, Illinois House of Representatives

 The DLRT Network

Many of the next steps in this work for ISBE require the insight and expertise of practitioners and other stakeholders to advise the agency on policy and action. One such group is the Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher Network, which is building upon existing work occurring state and nationwide and help operationalize initiatives developed by the DLRT Steering Team to achieve the following goals:

  1. Diversify the teacher pipeline to achieve greater demographic parity between teachers and PK-12 students; and
  2. Ensure all teachers in the workforce, regardless of race, demonstrate culturally responsive practice.



 Culturally Responsive Reading List

4 Ways to Help Your Students Embrace Diversity - Culturally responsive instruction can help you​ show your students that differences in viewpoint and culture are meant to be cherished and appreciated, not judged and feared.

Published by: The Edvocate

Publication Date: March, 2018

Format: Article​​​

A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching - Research has shown that no one teaching strategy will consistently engage all learners. The key is helping students relate lesson content to their own backgrounds.

Published by: Strengthening Student Engagement

Publication Date: Sept. 1995

Format: Article

A Vision and Guidance for a Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher WorkforcePDF Document - This report is a call to action by state chiefs, and leaders from educator preparation providers (EPPs), local education agencies (LEAs), legislatures, unions, and civic and community groups.

Published by: Council of Chief State School Officers

Publication Date: Jan. 2019

Format: Report

Administering an Education Program: Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Schools to Increase Student Achievement - Elementary school educational leaders can develop and administer effective culturally responsive programs to reach the youngest generation and improve achievement in an effort to correct the underperformance of culturally diverse students.

Published by: The William & Mary Educational Review

Publication Date: 2015

Format: Article

Culturally Responsive Education: A Primer for Policy and PracticePDF Document - As suggested by gaps and inconsistencies in both the theoretical and empirical literature, this brief points out potential next steps and future directions for CRE that sit at the intersections of research, policy, and practice.

Published by: Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools

Publication Date: 2017

Format: Report

Culturally Responsive Teaching: A 50-State Survey of Teaching Standards - New America analyzed professional teaching standards in all 50 states to better understand whether states’ expectations for teachers incorporate culturally responsive teaching.

Published by: New America

Publication Date: March 2019

Format: Report

Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Guide to Evidence-Based Practices for Teaching All Students EquitablyPDF Document - Teachers must be prepared with a thorough understanding of the specific cultures of the students they teach; how that culture affects student learning behaviors; and how they can change classroom interactions and instruction to embrace the differences.

Published by: Education Northwest

Publication Date: March 2016

Format: Report

Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Reflection GuidePDF Document - This resource offers a set of reflection questions that make self-appraisal, goal setting, and critical conversations more concrete.

Published by: New America

Publication Date: Sept. 2020

Format: Report

Educational Equity-What Does it Mean? How Do We Know When We Reach It? - This paper defines components of educational equity and outlines policies that contribute or alleviate inequity in our education system.

Published by: Center for Public Education

Publication Date: Jan. 2016

Format: Article

Empathy, Teacher Dispositions, and Preparation for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy - Engaging teacher candidates in perspective taking—adopting the social perspectives of others as an act and process of knowing—invites them to obtain (and reason with) new knowledge of students and the sociocultural context where she or he will teach. Recommendations for modeling and practicing perspective taking in teacher education are discussed.

Published by: SAGE Journals

Publication Date: June, 2017

Format: Report

Equity and Diversity by Design: Recommendations on Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in IllinoisPDF Document - This report sets out to gather information and research about teachers of color in Illinois, build consensus about what can be done to attract, retain, and develop teachers of color, and garner insights from teachers of color on their experiences about the intersection of race and education.

Published by: Teach Plus

Publication Date: Spring 2019

Format: Report

Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education ChiefsPDF Document - These ten commitments are actions state chiefs can take to create a more equitable education system in their state.

Published by: Council of Chief State School Officers

Publication Date: Sept. 2020

Format: Report

Next Step in Diversity Training: Teachers Learn to Face Their Unconscious Biases - Diversity training asks teachers to understand students' different backgrounds. Implicit-bias training goes further and asks teachers to look at themselves.

Published by: Education Week

Publication Date: May, 2019

Format: Article

Position Statement on Educator Diversity - This report highlights the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the educator workforce in many schools across the country, and offers policy recommendations on how to recruit, prepare, support, retain, and encourage individuals from diverse populations to enter the teaching and school leadership professions.

Published by: National Association of Secondary School Principals

Publication Date: March 2019

Format: Policy Paper

Preparing Learner-Ready Teachers: Guidance from NTEP States for Ensuring a Culturally Responsive WorkforcePDF Document - Provides a common language on culturally responsive teaching and relevant pedagogy, along with state-level recommendations and promising examples for extending this work into teacher workforce policies across the career continuum—from teacher preparation to ongoing practice.

Published by: Council of Chief State School Officers

Publication Date: February 2018

Format: Report

Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: A Call to ActionPDF Document - Both equity and social, emotional, and academic development are currently receiving much-needed attention, but neither can fully succeed without recognizing strengths and addressing gaps in these complementary priorities. Rather than being pursued as two separate bodies of work, the field needs to identify ways in which equity and social, emotional, and academic development can be mutually reinforcing. To accomplish this requires examining issues of race directly; this can be difficult and uncomfortable, but we cannot avoid race and let the challenges go unacknowledged and, therefore, inadequately addressed.

Published by: The Aspen Institute

Publication Date: May 2018

Format: Article

Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline: Implicit Bias is Heavily ImplicatedPDF Document - Research suggests that Black students as young as age five are routinely suspended and expelled from schools for minor infractions like talking back to teachers or writing on their desks. In a simple analysis of this phenomenon, the over-zealous application of “zero tolerance” policies gets all the blame, but a deeper dig will show a far more complex scenario.

Published by: Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

Publication Date: Feb. 2014

Format: Report

State Action: Strategies for Building the Teacher PipelinePDF Document - This report describes only a handful of innovative policies and initiatives that states and local districts are pursuing to tackle the six pipeline challenges.

Published by: Council of Chief State School Officers

Publication Date: Sept. 2020

Format: Report

Strategies for Building Cultural CompetencyPDF Document - In the following brief, Hanover Research provides an overview of literature related to building cultural competency at the district level. The report examines characteristics of culturally responsive schools and discusses strategies for fostering cultural competency among district staff.

Published by: Hanover Research

Publication Date: Aug. 2014

Format: Report

Student Agency & EngagementPDF Document - This article explores ways for schools to honor and ensure student engagement in the school community, a critical component in Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards​ activation.

Published by: XQ Super School Project

Publication Date: 2020

Format: Article

The Groundwater Approach: Building a Practical Understanding of Structural RacismPDF Document - In an effort to help leaders, organizers, and organizations stay focused on the structural and cultural roots of racial inequity, the Racial Equity Institute developed this “Groundwater” metaphor and accompanying analytical framework to explain the nature of racism as it currently exists in the United States.

Published by: The Racial Equity Institute

Publication Date: 2018

Format: Report

Toward a Conceptual Framework of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: An Overview of the Conceptual and Theoretical LiteraturePDF Document - By synthesizing the literature into the five areas and infusing it with the tenets of CRT, the authors have developed a collection of principles that represents culturally relevant pedagogy.

Published by: Teacher Education Quarterly

Publication Date: March, 2012

Format: Report

White Fragility: What It Looks Like in Schools - How are educators and policymakers dealing with this glaring gap between the demographics of the people who implement and make education policy and the students who live its results?

Published by: National Education Policy Center

Publication Date: Oct. 2019

Format: Article​​​​​​

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