New standards for Illinois teachers in training are latest flashpoint in culture wars

CHICAGO — As dean of Illinois’ largest teacher preparation program, Jim Wolfinger works to cultivate socially aware educators who can inspire students in any setting — whether that’s an urban neighborhood with racially diverse families or a small farming community. “The literature for a long time has told us: If we think of teaching as simply delivering the content, then you’re going to struggle with many of the kids in the classroom, because it’s not connected to their personal lives,” said Wolfinger, who leads the College of Education at Illinois State University. But in recent weeks, a poli…

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