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Illinois public schools to teach Asian American history

First U.S. state to do so aims to eliminate prejudice and discrimination

Part of Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s We Are More public art campaign celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in New York City. (Photo by Naoko Yamauchi)

NEW YORK -- Illinois will become the first U.S. state to require public schools to teach Asian American history. Beginning next year, the education aims to lessen the kinds of discrimination and prejudice against Asian Americans that have rapidly increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new Illinois law requiring Asian American history to be taught in public schools will go into effect in January. "We are setting a new standard ... that helps us understand one another," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on July 9, when he signed the bill into law. He said he hopes the education will help reduce discrimination and wrong ideas.

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