This state is about to make Asian American Pacific Islander history mandatory — the first in the U.S.
New legislation will make this state the first in the nation to require its schools to teach AAPI history
Illinois is on track to become the first state in the U.S. to require public schools to teach Asian American history, reports Politico. The legislation — the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act — unanimously passed the state Senate last week and the House on Monday.
- If Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signs the bill, Illinois will become the first state to mandate teaching Asian American history, says The Hill.
- Pritzker is expected to sign, reports Politico.
Supporters of the bill hope that teaching Asian American history will counter harmful stereotypes, ignorance and marginalization of the Asian American community, reports NBC Chicago.
What does the TEAACH Act require?
Under the TEAACH Act, all public elementary and high schools in Illinois must teach “a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history,” says The Hill. The unit will focus on the Asian American community in Illinois and the Midwest as well as the contribution Asian Americans have made toward expanding civil rights.
- The bill leaves most details up to individuals schools and districts, says NBC Chicago.
- Schools must comply by the 2022-23 school year, says Politico.
The TEAACH Act encourages the state superintendent of education to put together instructional materials on Asian American history for school boards to use as a “guideline” for developing the curriculum, The Hill reports.
- Illinois was one of the first states to mandate school curriculum on the Holocaust, reports Politico.
Who else is considering similar legislation?
Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged in the U.S. following the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, reports The Hill. Reported incidents of anti-Asian hate have more than doubled in the previous year.
“Because of violence against Asians and the George Floyd murder, there’s a big push around the country for ethnic studies. States are at different stages of passing something,” said Stewart Kwoh, co-director of the Asian American Education Project, via Politico.
- California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., are considering similar legislation on ethnic studies, reports Politico.
- Groups in Georgia, New Jersey and Washington are also considering curriculum, according to Politico.
The push for Asian American history comes as part of a broader push for history curriculum to focus more on communities of color, known as ethnic studies, says Politico. The narrowness of the TEAACH Act contributed to its legislative passing.