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Florida schools soon will be required to teach AAPI history

The bill garnered near-unanimous bipartisan support as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders call for greater visibility.
Florida schools soon will be required to teach AAPI history
Posted at 2:07 PM, May 11, 2023

As part of a broad education curriculum bill signed this week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, educators in the state will be required to teach Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history. 

Florida joins Illinois and New Jersey among states that include AAPI history as part of their curriculum. 

Lawmakers noted that Illinois was the first state to add such education amid an increase in violence directed toward the AAPI community in 2021. 

An analysis of the bill says the lessons "must include the history of Japanese internment camps and the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II; the immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity, and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American society."

Before reaching DeSantis' desk, the bill got strong bipartisan support, getting unanimous 40-0 approval in the Senate before getting approval in the House by a 112-3 margin. 

SEE MORE: Here's how Disney is celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

The bill earned the approval of some AAPI community advocates, including Make Us Visible. 

"I am often treated like a perpetual foreigner, especially during my childhood," said Make Us Visible Florida Director Mimi Chan. "If I had learned about the civic contributions of Asian Americans, I would have felt proud to be an Asian American, especially here in Florida where Lue Gim Gong's innovative cold-resistant oranges saved the citrus industry when cold fronts came through. I deeply believe that by educating our youth in the history of Asian Americans, our differences can be celebrated instead of feared and young Asian Americans can take pride in their history."

The signing of the bill coincides with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.


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