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Rhode Island public schools required to teach AAPI history next year

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed legislation that will require all public elementary and secondary schools in Rhode Island to teach one unit on AAPI history and culture.

According to The Newport Buzz, Gov. McKee signed the bill Saturday. He was joined by the bill’s sponsors Senator Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) and Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Dist. 15, Cranston).

“Rhode Island’s strength is in its diversity, and this important legislation will do so much to highlight the rich history and heritage of the Asian American community and the positive impact they’ve had on our state and country,” the governor said, according to ABC 6.

The requirement will begin during the 2023-24 school year.

“According to the 2020 Census, Rhode Island’s Asian American community has grown 28 percent over the last decade and in order to ensure that our society respects the dignity of all races and peoples, it is important that our children learn about the history and contributions made by the various different cultures within our state,” said Sen. Cano, according to The Newport Buzz.

Legislators hope the bill will help mitigate the rise in anti-Asian hate.

“When talking to Asian American students about this bill, they told me they had never been assigned material to read by an Asian American author and that they had never learned about their history or culture in school. Combined with the rising bias against Asian Americans, there is a clear need to break this cycle of cultural misunderstandings and this legislation is a good first step in that direction, acknowledging and celebrating the instrumental role that Asian Americans have had in our state, country and culture,” said Rep. Fenton-Fung said, according to The Newport Buzz.

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