Illinois Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Teach Asian American History

·2 min read

Illinois is now on its way to becoming the first state to require public schools to teach Asian American history as part of its curriculum as the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act enters final voting.

The final phase: The TEAACH Act (HB 376) received a unanimous vote of 57-0 at the Illinois Senate on Tuesday, according to Injustice Watch.

  • The bill will now go back to the House for a final round of voting after a Senate amendment.

  • The last stop before the bill becomes law is at Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J.B.” Pritzker’s desk, Newsy reported.

  • Grace Pai, Organizing Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago, believes education is a good place to start tackling the anti-Asian problem on a long-term basis.

  • "We've seen such a huge rise in Anti-Asian racism and sentiment and violence over the last year, it's been, I think, really striking and disturbing," she said. "And so we wanted to be able to tackle that problem with kind of a more long-term perspective to think about how can we interrupt these cycles that lead people to commit these acts of violence or lead people to believe stereotypes or other harmful narratives about Asian-Americans."

  • If signed into law, the TEAACH Act would come into effect starting fall 2022.


Other details: The legislation was introduced by Illinois State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) in January and sponsored by State Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago).

  • Villivalam, who is Indian American, believes addressing hate crimes requires "more representation in government" and bystander training.

  • “We are also minorities,” Villivalam said. “We need to make sure that our issues are also being taken in that same lens [as other minorities] and we stand together in solidarity.”

  • The Illinois House of Representatives passed the bill in April, NextShark previously reported.

  • It is being spearheaded by Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago.

  • The act would require elementary and high schools to instruct students on the roles Asian Americans have played in U.S. history, specifically in civil rights and the development of the nation.


Featured Image via WGN News

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