“There is never a section, or a chapter even, on what Asians did to contribute to society"

Over 700 people have signed a high school petition for Asian American studies to be taught.

According to the LA Times, more than 700 have signed a petition for Asian American studies to be taught at high school.

At Northwood High School in the Irvine Unified School District, a group of Asian Americans are pushing for more representation in history class.

Half of the student body of the Irvine Unified School District are Asian American or Pacific Islanders. Over 40% of residents are of Asian descent. The group pushing Irvine Unified believe that introducing Asian American studies would give Asians a sense of pride and would help non-Asians understand their community.

Ashley Shim criticized her history textbooks and lessons for not featuring Asian Americans’ contributions.

“There is never a section, or a chapter even, on what Asians did to contribute to society,” the 17-year-old Northwood High School senior said. “In the texts, it’s on the margins. There was one Asian American. I always wondered if there’s more to the story.”

“Every faith, gender and race helped build this country,” she said. “The fact that we don’t know about our own ancestors and how they shaped this country is very problematic.”

“I think the most important thing is having a diverse perspective on events,” said Na Won Yoon, a 17-year-old senior who is president of University High’s Korean Club. “I don’t look at this class as just an outlet for Asian American students, but also for students of other races and ethnicities to have more background information on the people they’re facing every single day.”

In January, high school students from the Korean American Young Leaders (KAYL) launched an online petition calling for Irvine Unified to introduce Asian American studies courses. At the time of writing, the petition has garnered 740 signatures.

A social media campaign has also been launched and a research paper supporting their position is in development.

The group will present their proposal to the district’s board of education and the Irvine City Council in spring.

 

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