SPRINGFIELD—A plan to require Illinois history to be taught in schools passed the Senate Wednesday.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr., a Democrat from Chicago, sponsored the bill that would create a requirement that Illinois history be taught in public schools.

“To create a better Illinois, we must teach our future leaders its rich history,” Sims said. “It is crucial that our students learn where our state has been, so they will have a better idea of where it needs to go, a better understanding of our society, a deeper sense of identity and hopefully be prompted to create change in their communities.”

Currently, there is not a specific requirement that Illinois history be taught as part of the U.S. history requirement in K-12 schools.  The law does require the course to include a comprehensive idea of our democratic form of government, the role and contributions of African Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic groups, and the role of labor unions.

“State government has a major impact on many aspects of our young peoples’ lives, especially their education,” Sims said. “As state leaders, it’s important that we make it a priority to educate students about how government works and our great state’s history.

Senate Bill 1601 is now headed to the House for consideration.