The 21st Show

Illinois sees a rise in divisive school board races


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Public Media

School board seats are among the positions up for grabs, but what once were fairly sedate races have become charged with political rhetoric across the country including here in the 21st state. Some candidates are running on decidedly partisan stances from limiting teaching about systemic racism and Black history to banning transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. 

The Illinois Education Association released the results of its annual State of Education survey. According to those results, two thirds of the people who responded disapprove of fighting, yelling, and contention at school board meetings. One in five said they’d heard about fighting at school boards in their areas. We talked about what’s driving candidates to run on partisan platforms and what that could mean for the future of school boards in Illinois.


Kathi Griffin

President, Illinois Education Association

Emily Hays 

Education Reporter, Illinois Public Media

Peter Medlin 

Education reporter at WNIJ, host of the podcast and radio program Teachers' Lounge

Collin Schopp

WCBU Peoria Public Radio



Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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