"We are setting a new standard for what it means to truly reckon with our history"

Illinois has become the first state to require Asian American history to be taught in public schools.

Lawmakers had been working with educators and students to address stereotypes by pushing Asian American history to be taught in K-12 lessons.

On Friday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act, which will go into effect on 1 January 2022.

“Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to creating more inclusive school environments. We’re making Illinois the first state in the nation to require that Asian American history will be taught in public schools, including a unit about the Asian American experience,” said Pritzker in a statement.

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

Under the new law, schools must add a unit to the curriculum that covers the “events of Asian American history,”

Contributions of Asian Americans in advancing civil rights since the 19th century, and “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,” are examples of such topics according to the bill.

The bill states that each school board should determine the “minimum amount of instructional time” needed to qualify as a unit and satisfy the law.

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