Gov. Murphy signs bills requiring New Jersey schools to teach Asian American history

Photo by Jason Leung/Unsplash

Governor Phil Murphy signed a couple of bills last week that will ensure that the contributions, history, and heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are included in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Social Studies for students in kindergarten through Grade 12.

S4021 will create an AAPI curriculum requirement for schools and S3764 will establish the Commission for Asian American Heritage within the Department of Education.

“The members of our Asian American/Pacific Islander community have contributed so much to our state and nation,” said Governor Murphy. “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. I am proud to sign these bills into law.”

“By incorporating instruction on the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, New Jersey schools can provide a curriculum that reflects the diversity of our state,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education.

A Commission on Asian American Heritage will be established within the state’s Department of Education and will serve as a resource to enhance classroom instruction throughout the state.

Senator Vin Gopal said that 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.”

“With these new laws, and implementation of learning standards that do more to highlight the history and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 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,” he added.

In a joint statement, Assembly sponsors Raj Mukherji , Mila Jasey, Britnee Timberlake, and Sterley Stanley called the “erasure of AAPI history is unacceptable and incredibly harmful for young people who are being robbed of valuable representation that could have a positive impact on their lives.”

“Excluding the rich history of the AAPI community from our schools’ curriculum not only prevents students from gaining a full understanding of our nation’s history, but also opens the door for racial biases that can turn into violence and hatred,” the statement read.

They added that one of New Jersey’s best qualities is its diversity, which should be highlighted in the schools.

“By expanding the K-12 curriculum to include lessons on the history and contributions of the AAPI community, we can help break down persisting negative stereotypes and show the over 140,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander students in our state that their stories and experiences matter,” they said.

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2022 Asian Journal Media Group. All Rights Reserved.