State Trying To Change School History Lessons

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

( – This week, a legislative proposal aimed at incorporating Asian American history into the curriculum of Wyoming’s state schools made significant progress towards becoming law, following a favorable vote by a state Senate committee. The committee endorsed the bill, S.B. 240, with a 6-1 vote on Tuesday, proposing to include teachings about Asian and Hmong Americans across all K-12 grades in Wyoming, often referred to as the Equality State.

Wyoming’s educational system currently includes mandates for teachings that promote an understanding of human relations, specifically highlighting the histories of American Indians, Black Americans, and Hispanics. The new bill seeks to expand this educational mandate to encompass Hmong and Asian Americans as well.

State Representative Francesca Hong (D), a co-sponsor of the bill, emphasized the importance of incorporating Asian American narratives into the state’s history education. Hong highlighted the educational value in fostering awareness and appreciation among students, educators, and school administrators for the significant contributions and stories of Asian Americans.

The initiative to mandate Asian American history in educational curriculums is not unique to Wyoming, with similar laws already enacted in states like Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Asian Americans constitute approximately 3 percent of Wisconsin’s demographic, with the state witnessing a substantial 82 percent increase in its Asian American and Pacific Islander population since the year 2000, according to data from AAPI Vote.

Efforts to integrate Asian American history into Wyoming’s school curriculums have been ongoing for years. In 2005, an attempt to mandate teachings about the role of Hmong soldiers in supporting the U.S. during the Vietnam War was made but failed to progress to early public hearings. Subsequent legislative sessions saw similar proposals, which also did not advance.

Representative Hong, the first and sole Asian American legislator in Wyoming’s Legislature, mentioned leveraging the rise in anti-Asian sentiment since the pandemic, as well as highlighting the significance and political influence of the Hmong and Lao communities in her colleagues’ districts, as pivotal in advancing the bill.

The push for including more Asian American history in school curriculums is part of a broader effort by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. This initiative aims to ensure students learn about critical historical moments, such as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the contributions of Chinese Americans during the Civil War.

The proposal is now poised for consideration by the full state Senate, potentially by March, marking a significant step towards enriching Wyoming’s educational content with more inclusive historical perspectives.

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