The Illinois lower house passed a bill on Wednesday requiring public schools to teach Asian-American history, setting the stage for possible adoption of milestone legislation amid rising incidents of violence against people of Asian descent.
The bill, which would mandate the teaching of a unit of Asian-American history in public elementary and high schools starting in the 2022-2023 school year, passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives by a vote of 98 to 13.
“Asian Americans are a part of the American fabric but we are often invisible,” said state representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill. “Empathy comes from understanding. We cannot do better unless we know better.”
The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History Act will now go to the Senate for deliberations and a possible floor vote. If passed, advocates say, it would make Illinois the first state to mandate a unit of Asian-American history in schools.il-aa