HomeCampusIllinois & New Jersey 1st to require AsAm history in public schools

Illinois & New Jersey 1st to require AsAm history in public schools

Two states next school year will be the first to require the teaching of Asian American history in public schools.

Illinois will be the first. The Illinois’ Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act (TEAACH) will be implemented in public schools during the 2022-23 school year, according to The Daily Herald.

New Jersey follows as the second state with the mandate to teach Asian American history in K-12 schools, reported the NJ Spotlight News. The New Jersey bill will similarly be implemented the next school year

Illinois’ TEACH recognizes Asian American achievements and their significant role in American history, to challenge the idea of Asian Americans as “perpetual foreigners,” said executive director Grace Pai of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago. 

Illinois Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago, hopes that TEAACH will have an impact beyond school walls in addressing anti-Asian racism.

“It will help people realize that Asian Americans are a part of this country and we’re not forever foreign because that’s the idea that many people have,” Mah said. “We hope one of the outcomes of the act will address the idea that Asian Americans are integral to this country and the fact that we’re involved in building this country would be an idea that is more accepted and widespread.”

Make Us Visible NJ, which is helping implement the New Jersey legislation, agrees.

“All children deserve to know they belong. All children deserve to feel safe. This law will help ensure Asian Americans are represented in our great American story,” Dr. Kani Ilangovan, a member of Make Us Visible NJ, said.

In addition to requiring Asian American history to be taught in public schools, New Jersey also plans to establish an Asian American Heritage Commission within the state’s Department of Education.

Other states such as Michigan, Ohio, and Florida are considering passing similar laws, according to PBS.

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