By Justin Hegy -
In late January new legislation, Senate Bill 2682, was introduced to the Illinois Senate mandating that all eighth-graders be taught “the history of organized labor in America” and “the collective bargaining process.”
The bill strengthens existing language so no student would be allowed to graduate eighth grade without being taught the importance of organized labor. The revised law would read:
“The teaching of history also shall include a study of the history of organized labor in America, the role of labor unions and their interaction with government in achieving the goals of a mixed free enterprise system, and the collective bargaining process.”
This legislation aims to promote a pro-government and pro-union worldview already very much embedded in Illinois’ public education system.
Our students are presented with a government-run education system – managed by government workers who are themselves heavily unionized – which mandates a curriculum that glorifies the role of unions. Conflict of interest, anyone?
Tellingly, the proposed language fails to require instruction on the outsized role that labor unions play in the financing of Illinois’ political class. For example, the International Federation of Teachers contributed more than $1 million to Illinois politicians in 2012, while the Illinois Education Association contributed $2.2 million.
In fact, state Sen. Michael E. Hastings, D- Matteson, who introduced the bill, received nearly $30,000 from organized labor for his 2012 election run.
Justin Hegy is a Policy Analyst at the Illinois Policy Institute