New Jersey Becomes Second State to Require AAPI History in Schools

New Jersey became the second state to require Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history to be taught in public schools.

Governor Phil Murphy signed a legislation on Jan. 18 mandating school districts in the state to teach AAPI contributions, history, and heritage to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 starting in the 2022-2023 school year.

“By teaching students about the history and heritage of our AAPI community, we can ensure that the diversity of our state is reflected in our curriculum and create a more tolerant and knowledgeable future for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement.

The New Jersey Legislature approved the bill in December.

The legislation also came after Illinois signed a similar bill into law last year.

Murphy also signed a bill that will establish a Commission for Asian American Heritage within the Department of Education in the state.

Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen said the Commission “will serve as an invaluable resource to enhance classroom instruction throughout the state.”

Make Us Visible NJ, an advocacy group that led the efforts in support of the bills, said that the new laws are “a concrete way to prevent anti-Asian hate and support the mental health of Asian American children.”

The new laws came after a rise in hate incidents against the AAPI community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to national coalition Stop AAPI Hate, a total of 10,370 hate incidents were reported from March 19, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.

“There’s never been a more important moment for us to broaden children’s understanding of the world around them and promote inclusivity and respect,” New Jersey Assembly member Rob Karabinchak said of the bills.

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