Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5505
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Full Text of HB5505  102nd General Assembly

HB5505 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB5505

 

Introduced 1/31/2022, by Rep. Adam Niemerg - Blaine Wilhour

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
New Act

    Creates the Parental Access and Curriculum Transparency Act, which may be referred to as PACT. Makes findings. Provides that no public school district or public institution of higher education shall direct, require, or otherwise compel a student to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to specified tenets. Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law or administrative rule to the contrary, a school board, parent, legal guardian, or student has the right to object to and refuse any unit of instruction or required course of study that directs, requires, or otherwise compels a student to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the specified tenets. Provides that school boards have to review and resolve objections to school curriculum. Provides a list of ways to resolve objections. Provides that a school board may submit a certified question to the applicable board of elections to approve or disapprove of funding certain curriculum. Provides that, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race or color, but nothing in this Section shall be construed to prohibit the required collection or reporting of demographic data by public school districts or public institutions of higher education. Effective immediately.


LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB5505LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1    AN ACT concerning education.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title; references to Act.
5    (a) Short title. This Act may be cited as the Parental
6Access and Curriculum Transparency Act.
7    (b) References to Act. This Act may be referred to as PACT.
 
8    Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly finds:
9    (1) Administrators, educators, support staff, and students
10in all public elementary and secondary schools and in all
11public institutions of higher education shall respect the
12dignity of others, acknowledge the right of others to express
13differing opinions, and foster and defend intellection
14honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, freedom of
15speech, freedom of association, and the pursuit of rational,
16objective truths.
17    (2) Instructional pedagogies that exacerbate divisions in
18society on the basis of race, biological sex, ethnicity,
19religion, color, national origin, or other criteria that are
20contrary to the unity of the nation, are counterproductive to
21the well-being of this State, its citizens, and its students.
22    (3) Under Article X of the Illinois Constitution, the
23State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality

 

 

HB5505- 2 -LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1public educational institutions and services. The State has
2the primary responsibility for financing the system of public
3education.
4    (4) A high quality educational institution and service is
5fundamentally undermined when parents cannot trust the quality
6of education provided to their children. When a parent or
7legal guardian of a student identifies curriculum in public
8schools that they believe undermines the ability of the
9student to succeed and thrive, or where curriculum established
10is fostering division, or factually inaccurate, that can
11prevent a school from meeting the State's constitutional goals
12for education for each student.
13    (5) The curriculum needs of students will necessarily be
14diverse, and that learning standards and guidance set at the
15state level may be incapable of fully serving student needs
16within an individual school district.
17    (6) Parents and legal guardians for students need to be
18further empowered to ensure that they have full access to and
19transparency regarding the curriculum their students are
20receiving in the classroom. School boards need to be more
21responsive regarding curriculum access, transparency, and
22oversight when a parent, legal guardian, or student has raised
23concerns regarding the substance of curriculum being presented
24in the classroom so that students are able to realize their
25best potential and so that classroom settings are not adopting
26curriculum that fosters hate and division among current

 

 

HB5505- 3 -LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1students, or which encourages students to hate or despise
2their nation.
 
3    Section 10. Prohibitions.
4    (a) No public school district or public institution of
5higher education shall direct, require, or otherwise compel a
6student to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the
7following tenets:
8        (1) That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color or
9    natural origin is inherently superior or inferior.
10        (2) That individuals should be adversely treated on
11    the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color,
12    or national origin.
13        (3) That individuals, by virtue of their sex, race,
14    ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin are
15    inherently responsible for actions committed in the past
16    by other members of their same sex, race, ethnicity,
17    religion, color, or national origin.
18    (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or
19administrative rule to the contrary, a school board, parent,
20legal guardian, or student has the right to object to and
21refuse any unit of instruction or required course of study
22that directs, requires, or otherwise compels a student to
23personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the tenets
24identified in paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) in
25any public school district or public institution of higher

 

 

HB5505- 4 -LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1education.
2    (c) The school board has the duty to ensure that parents,
3legal guardians, students, and members of the public can
4access public school curriculum in a manner that provides
5clear access, immediacy, and transparency to curriculum in
6public schools.
7    (d) The school board to which a student is subject shall
8have the ultimate obligation to review and resolve objections
9to the curriculum in a manner that is open and transparent to
10the parent, legal guardian, student, instructor, and the
11public. The wishes of parents and legal guardians for a
12student shall take priority wherever and whenever possible. To
13remedy objections, a school board may, but is not limited to,
14offer the following:
15        (1) That the instructor remove the offending
16    curriculum, provide additional balance or factual basis,
17    or correct any factual bases found to be incorrect or
18    biased.
19        (2) That an alternative curriculum be offered to the
20    student in replacement of the objected-to curriculum.
21        (3) That the objected-to curriculum be excluded from a
22    student's grade or be independently graded.
23        (4) That the objected-to curriculum, or the course as
24    a whole, undergo curriculum review, with the final
25    curriculum and learning standards to be approved by the
26    school board.

 

 

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1        (5) If objections are sufficiently pervasive or
2    numerous for a class that is designed to fulfill local,
3    State, or federal requirements, a directive may be issued
4    that an alternative classroom or course curriculum be
5    prepared that will comply with the legal requirement that
6    can resolve the objections of the parent, legal guardian,
7    or student.
8        (6) That administrators or faculty members prepare an
9    improvement plan for curriculum quality or justify to the
10    school board the continued use of the objected-to
11    curriculum.
12    (e) No retaliation may occur against the student in
13connection with any curriculum objections raised by the
14student, parent, or legal guardian. Retaliation may include,
15but is not limited to: ostracism in class, singling out a
16student in class, harsher grading, transfer, isolation, or any
17other tactics associated with bullying.
18    (f) School boards shall also prepare a policy to ensure
19parental involvement in curriculum decisions particularly if
20contentious issues are to be taught and to ensure that
21providers of curriculum and those with responsibility for
22curriculum oversight are not abusing their positions of trust
23at the expense of parents and students.
 
24    Section 15. Referendum. Notwithstanding any provision of
25law to the contrary, for any school whose annual operational

 

 

HB5505- 6 -LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1expenses use in part non-state funds, a school board:
2        (1) by majority vote of the current elected membership
3    of the board; or
4        (2) upon receipt of a petition submitted to the school
5    board with either: (i) 250 signatures of individuals who
6    live within the school board's taxpaying district; or (ii)
7    a number of signatures that exceeds 10% of the total
8    number of students who are attending the school, as
9    measured by the 10th day attendance numbers of the school
10    year preceding the election period, whichever is less,
11may submit to the applicable board of elections a certified
12question to approve or to disapprove the use of taxpayer
13funding for the curriculum at the next election where members
14of the school board are up for election for an elected school
15board or at the next general election, if the school board is
16not elected. If taxpayer funds are disapproved for such
17curriculum it shall be improper for the school board to use any
18such funds in support of the curriculum or the instructor who
19seeks to present it.
 
20    Section 20. Permissible activity. Notwithstanding any
21provision of law to the contrary, no distinction or
22classification of students shall be made on account of race or
23color, but nothing in this Section shall be construed to
24prohibit the required collection or reporting of demographic
25data by public school districts or public institutions of

 

 

HB5505- 7 -LRB102 25065 RJT 34325 b

1higher education. Nothing in this section may be construed to
2prohibit the use of federal dollars for federal programs.
 
3    Section 97. Severability. The provisions of this Act are
4severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.
 
5    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
6becoming law.