Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed the Teaching Equitable Asian American History Act (TEAACH) into law, making the state the first in the US to require a unit of Asian American history be taught in public schools.
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, the Governor said: “Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to creating more inclusive classrooms by making Illinois the first state in the nation to require Asian American history be taught in public schools.”
With the recent rise in acts of violence and bigotry against the Asian American community, teaching students about rich culture and important contributions throughout history will help combat false stereotypes, the office of the Governor in a statement.
The legislation adds a new section on Asian American history study to the Illinois School Code.
Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, every public elementary school and high school will be required to include a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American History, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest.
The bill specifies that the curriculum should include: the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward; the contributions made by individual Asian Americans in government, arts, humanities, and sciences; and the contributions of Asian American communities to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the US.
While the legislation specifies topics that should be addressed in the curriculum, the state will not require or designate a specific curriculum for school districts.
The Illinois State Board of Education is authorised to make instructional materials available to all school boards; while each school board will determine the minimum amount of instructional time that qualifies as a unit of instruction as stated in the bill.
The measure builds upon the administration’s commitment to creating more inclusive school environments and curriculums, and will ensure every high school graduate in Illinois will learn about Asian American history as well as the rich contributions and traditions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, said statement.