Proposed bill works to include Asian American History into public school curriculum

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz is only the second Asian-American to be elected to the Illinois House.

Now, she’s sponsoring a bill that will honor that.

The TEAACH Act was proposed by the organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

The Bill will amend the Illinois School Code to include Asian American History Curriculum in every K-12 public school classroom in the state of Illinois. It pairs with the PBS film series “Asian Americans” and a K-12 curricula, compliant with Common Core and National Standards, designed to be easily implemented into teacher’s lesson plans.

The Bill comes at a time when more than 3,000 hate incidents directed at Asian Americans nationwide have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate.

Director of Organizing at Advancing Justice Grace Pai said, “We feel like its really important timing and there is urgency around it because of the increase of hate incidents that our community has experienced. It’s important for non-Asian students too, to learn about this diverse history and to understand what American history really, fully encompasses.”

If the Bill passes in May, Illinois will be the first state in the country requiring Asian American history to be taught in school.

Both Rep. Gong-Gershowitz and Grace Pai echoed the same statement; that “Asian American history is American history.”

Pai said that the TEAACH campaign is a “long-term investment.” To do something more immediate, Advancing Justice has launched a virtual bystander intervention training program. It will teach people what to do if they see an act of racism.

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