PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Governor Dan Mckee signed a new bill into law Saturday that requires Asian American history and culture be taught in Rhode Island schools.
The law applies to all public elementary and secondary schools in the Ocean State and ensures that they provide at least one unit of teaching on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander History and culture.
Governor Mckee signed the bill during the opening ceremonies of the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival in Pawtucket.
“Rhode Island’s strength is in its diversity,” said Mckee, “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…”
Rhode Island State Representative, Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, also attended the ceremony and spoke about how the bill will impact Asian American learners.
“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.”
The new law goes into effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.