Jan 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New Jersey becomes second state to require AAPI history in schools

Photo of protesters marching in front of SF City Hall, with one holding a poster that says "Asian is not a virus, racism is"

Demonstrators at an anti-Asian hate march and rally at San Francisco City Hall on March 27, 2021. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

New Jersey on Tuesday became the second state to require Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history in school curricula.

Why it matters: The move comes after a rise in anti-Asian hate since the pandemic began two years ago, and calls for action from AAPI leaders who say education is necessary to understand the community's diversity and needs.

Details: The legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy will ensure that AAPI "contributions, history, and heritage" are included in New Jersey's K-12 learning standards for social studies, per a release from the Democratic governor's office.

  • It will also create an AAPI curriculum requirement and establish the Commission for Asian American Heritage within the Department of Education. 

What they're saying: "Though Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to make significant and positive contributions to our state, they remain misunderstood and are often targeted for race-based violence and bigotry," Democratic state Sen. Vin Gopal, who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement.

  • With the new laws, "I am confident we will be able to better educate students about Asian American culture and foster greater understanding across the many diverse communities of our state," Gopal added.

Worth noting: One in three AAPI parents say their child has experienced a hate incident in school in the past year, according to a Stop AAPI Hate report published in November.

The big picture: Illinois became the first state to mandate AAPI-inclusive teachings in July.

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