Black history education in Illinois schools could soon expand. Here’s what to know

Springfield High social studies teacher Roy Gully admits that he rarely uses the textbook when he teaches his classes.

As the only Black teacher in the school’s history department, he takes pride in ensuring that his students see themselves represented in his classroom.

"When I grew up, history was whitewashed, and the truth wasn’t always told," Gully said. "You definitely didn’t get different angles and perspectives from minorities. It’s been a passion of mine to personally try to correct that."

The new legislation, he said, reaffirms the inclusive approach he has taught his history classes with over the last two decades.

The history book Springfield High currently uses is 13 years old. Even though he doesn’t really use the Prentice Hall, America: Pathways to the Present book, he said regularly relying on it to guide teaching would make the inclusion he values difficult.

"Different perspectives, if we use the current edition, would absolutely be lost," Gully said.

That is part of the reason he was quick to volunteer to be on the textbook committee that has spent part of this school year looking for a new history book.

"I feel 100% confident that the new textbook we’re adopting addresses the problems that have plagued history in the past, which is not being inclusive and not really focusing on all aspects of history," Gully said. "In fact, one of the highlights of our current book that we’re recommending to the board is an entire section dealing with racism. That was something that really stood out to us. They have sections of minority history, specifically African American history, in separate parts of the book. But also, we found a lot of minority history embedded in the chapters and the activities within the book."


February 26, 2021 at 06:14AM

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