Illinois has become the first state to mandate that Asian American history be part of its public school curriculum thanks to advocacy efforts from numerous individuals and organizations, largely led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.

Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB 376) will paint a more complete picture of our shared history by adding Asian American history to the Illinois School Code. The TEAACH Act will ensure that Asian American stories and experiences are highlighted in Illinois, not just the stories of Asians outside the United States. 

NBC Chicago: Pritzker Signs Law Making Illinois First State to Require Asian American History Be Taught in Schools

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday [July 9, 2021] signed into law a new measure making Illinois the first state in the U.S. to require Asian American history be taught in public schools. Pritzker signed House Bill 376, the Teaching Equitable Asian American History or TEAACH Act, at Niles West High School in suburban Skokie. The new law requires every public elementary and high school in the state to devote a unit of curriculum to the history of Asian Americans in the United States.”

“We are setting a new standard for what it means to truly reckon with our history,” Pritzker said in a statement. “It’s a new standard that helps us understand one another, and, ultimately, to move ourselves closer to the nation of our ideals.”

“The curriculum must include “the events of Asian American history, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward,” the legislation reads.”

“These events shall include the contributions made by individual Asian Americans in government and the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as the contributions of Asian American communities to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States,” per the new law. The law takes effect on Jan. 1 and the requirement begins with the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

Read more about the TEAACH Act from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, who was the lead organization in this effort.

 

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