Wisconsin governor signs bill requiring Hmong, Asian American history in schools

Wisconsin governor signs bill requiring Hmong, Asian American history in schoolsWisconsin governor signs bill requiring Hmong, Asian American history in schools
via TMJ4, WJFW
Wisconsin students and teacher celebrated as Gov. Tony Evers signs Senate Bill 240 into law, mandating the teaching of Hmong and Asian American history in schools. 
Key points:
Catch up:
  • In April 2023, Republican State Senator Jesse James of Altoona and other Wisconsin legislators introduced SB 240 as many students and teachers have been advocating for an Asian American studies curriculum in schools for years. The previous state law only mandated instruction on American Indians, Black Americans and Hispanics. 
  • Its passage is credited to relentless advocacy efforts, coalition building and the leadership of individuals like State Rep. Francesca Hong, Wisconsin’s first and only Asian American state legislator. Hong emphasized the importance of AAPI education not just for historical knowledge but for fostering understanding, acceptance and inclusion. 
The details:
  • The official signing was held at G.D. Jones Elementary School in Wausau, where Evers met and celebrated with students, teachers and AAPI organizations. He also visited the Hmong American Peace Academy in Milwaukee, where students welcomed the bill’s passage by proudly wearing traditional Hmong clothing. 
  • “I’m proud to sign this bill to ensure that the stories and histories of Hmong and Asian American neighbors are shared for generations to come,” Evers said. “Prejudice and discrimination have no home here in Wisconsin and programs like this are meaningful ways to fight hate and promote understanding, appreciation, and acceptance.”
  • Wisconsin educators, including longtime teacher Kabby Hong, emphasized how the new curriculum will provide a sense of belonging for Asian American students and foster understanding among all students.
  • HAPA junior Andrew Vang also expressed excitement, noting that the law will “give them an insight into our culture and community. That’s what everyone wants to have is to be represented to have your voice acknowledged.” 
  • Wisconsin is home to more than 200,000 AAPIs and a significant refugee population, particularly of Hmong descent. Hmong make up 29% of the Asian American population in the state, which is home to the third-largest Hmong population in the U.S. 
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