HomeAsian AmericansWisconsin bill mandating ASAM history in schools moves forward

Wisconsin bill mandating ASAM history in schools moves forward

A bill mandating Asian American history be incorporated into Wisconsin state schools’ curriculum has been approved for a full Senate vote.

Last month, the bill, S.B. 240, passed through a Wisconsin Senate committee with a vote of 6-1, NBC News reports. This month, the entire Senate will vote on the bill. Other states have passed similar bills, but this will be the first to have a full Senate vote. And, if approved, it will be mandated throughout K-12 schools.

Currently, the state requires schools to teach “an understanding of human relations” which includes American Indian, Black, and Hispanic history. The bill would add Hmong and Asian American history to the list.

“It allows students who haven’t seen themselves in textbooks to feel safer and to be able to share their stories,” State Rep. Francesca Hong said in an interview with NBC News. “And for there to be understanding amongst students, teachers, and administrators about the importance of Asian American stories in our history.”

Although only 3% of Wisconsin’s population is Asian, it has increased by 82% since 2000, NBC News reports. 29% of that Asian population is of Hmong descent.

Similar mandates exist in states like Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey.

However, the fight for the bill in Wisconsin has taken decades.

Becoming Wisconsin’s first Asian American legislator in 2020, Hong expressed that there have been many challenges. In 2005, a bill was proposed to teach students about the Hmong soldiers who fought for the U.S. in the Vietnam War. But, this bill was unsuccessful in being mandated, The Hill reported.

However, Hong said that recent events have reinforced the importance of passing S.B. 240.

“With me being the first and only Asian American Legislator in the Legislature, I was able to leverage both the uptick of anti-Asian hate since the Covid Pandemic, in addition to having my colleagues recognize how. important, especially the Hmong and Lao community, have been to their districts and how powerful they are as a voting bloc,” Hong told NBC News.

Kabby Hong, a school teacher in Wisconsin has witnessed the effects of students’ lacking knowledge of Asian Americans.

“I wrote the word ‘Hmong’ on the board I asked my students to write down anything you know about the word Hmong. And my students wrote nothing,” Hong said per NBC News. “So 99% of my students knew nothing about Hmong people, about their culture, about their identity, about the fact that many of their teachers or counselors or fellow classmates are Hmong.”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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