Rhode Island becomes fourth state to require schools to teach AAPI history

  • Effective at the start of the 2023-2024 school year, all public elementary and secondary schools in Rhode Island will be required to teach Asian American history and culture to students, based on the new bill that Governor Dan McKee signed into law on Saturday.
  • Rhode Island is now the fourth state in the U.S, following New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, to require Asian-American studies in its public school curriculum.
  • McKee signed the piece of legislation during the opening ceremonies of the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival in the city of Pawtucket.
  • “Rhode Island’s strength is in its diversity and this important legislation will do so much to highlight the rich history and heritage of the Asian American community and the positive impact they’ve had on our state and country,”  the governor said during the event.
  • State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R, RI-15), who sponsored the bill in the House, said: “Combined with the rising bias against Asian Americans, there is a clear need to break this cycle of cultural misunderstandings and this legislation is a good first step in that direction.”

Schools in the state of Rhode Island will now be required to teach Asian American history and culture to students.

According to a new bill signed into law by Governor Dan McKee on Saturday, which is set to take effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, all public elementary and secondary schools in the state will be required to each teach at least one unit on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history and culture. 

With the law’s passing, Rhode Island now joins New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois in requiring Asian American studies in the public school curriculum.

McKee signed the piece of legislation during the opening ceremonies of the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival in the city of Pawtucket.

“Rhode Island’s strength is in its diversity and this important legislation will do so much to highlight the rich history and heritage of the Asian American community and the positive impact they’ve had on our state and country,”  the governor was quoted as saying.

State Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R, RI-15), who sponsored the bill in the House, spoke about the impact the bill will have on Asian American students during the event. 

“When talking to Asian American students about this bill, they told me they had never been assigned material to read by Asian American author, and that they had never learned about their history and culture in school,” said Fenton-Fung. “Combined with the rising bias against Asian Americans, there is a clear need to break this cycle of cultural misunderstandings and this legislation is a good first step in that direction.”

Featured Image via WPRI (left), (right)

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