Jul 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Illinois becomes first state to require public schools teach Asian American history

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks.

Gov. JB Pritzker. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill Friday requiring public schools across the state to teach at least a unit of Asian American history.

Why it matters: Education experts suggest this is the first requirement of its kind in the U.S., USA Today reports.

The big picture: The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History Act mandates "a unit of instruction studying 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 mandate will take effect in the 2022-2023 school year.

What they're saying: "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," Pritzker said in a statement.

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