- Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a new bill on Tuesday that requires K-12 schools in New Jersey to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history as part of their curricula.
- The recent move made New Jersey the second state to pass this type of bill after Illinois in July 2021.
New Jersey has become the second state that will require K-12 schools to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander history as part of their curricula starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
The bill, also known as the NJ AAPI Curriculum Bill (S4021/A6100), aims to create a “more tolerant and knowledgeable future for New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said after signing the legislation on Tuesday.
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Additionally, Murphy also signed S3764/A3369, a bill that will establish the Commission for Asian American Heritage within the Department of Education. One of the commission’s aims is to help develop private and public schools’ curricula and aid in the “implementation of historical, cultural and educational programs concerning people of Asian and Asian American descent,” CNN reported.
“All children deserve to know they belong,” Dr. Kani Ilangovan, a founder of Make Us Visible NJ, a coalition that spearheaded the efforts in support of S4021/A6100 and S3764/A3369, said. “All children deserve to feel safe. This law will help ensure Asian Americans are represented in our great American story.”
Many organization members applauded the new legislation amid the rise in anti-Asian hate in the country brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some prominent community members include vice-chair of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund Amman Deep Singh Seehra, co-founder of the Livingston AAPI Youth Alliance Russell Fan and AAPI Montclair’s Amber Reed and Jeffrey Chang.
“These laws exemplify our New Jersey values and we are so grateful to Gov. Murphy and the Legislature,” Reed and Chang said in a joint statement, reported Montclair Patch. “Amidst the tide of anti-Asian hate, we found hope in joining a diverse coalition of parents, advocates, students, and legislators to use the best tool we have to fight hate: education.”
Before New Jersey passed the NJ AAPI Curriculum Bill, Illinois Gov. Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker signed a similar one, called the TEAACH Act (HB 376), in July 2021.
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