AAPI Studies only POC in Connecticut not mandated

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Hamden High School By Tylerni7 via Wikimedia Creative Commons

A bill being debated in Connecticut would mandate the teaching of Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies in public schools.

Mandates already exist for Black, Latino, Native American, and Holocaust Studies.

“The history of Asian Americans is just as important as the history of Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans,” said Rep. Antonio Felipe (D-Bridgeport) to the Connecticut Examiner. “This is the history of our country and we need to make sure everyone is a part of it.”

According to WTNH, the state became the first in the nation to mandate the teaching of Black and Latino Studies in 2019. Native American Studies followed the next year. Holocaust Education became mandatory in 2018.

“Asian Pacific Americans are often invisible in that discussion,” said Attorney General William Tong to WTNH.

State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) supports the idea.

“We can inform. We can raise awareness. I think it’s a sense of empowerment rather than victimization,” he said.

The Hartford Courant reports the bill is almost identical to the one passed for Black and Latino Studies.

“If you look at the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment … if policies like that were made today, everybody would be shocked that we as a country allowed this to happen. It is important to have those conversations,” said Sen. Saud Anwar, one of four legislators who introduced SB 678 in January to the education committee.

In 2020, Illinois became the first in the country to mandate Asian American Studies. Since then, there has been a nationwide movement for similar mandates.

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