April 4, 2024

Governor Signs Bill to Include Asian and Hmong American History in Schools

Governor Signs Bill to Include Asian and Hmong American History in Schools Featured Image

With much support from WEAC members, the Asian American and Pacific Islander History Bill passed the Wisconsin Senate unanimously in March. On April 4, Governor Tony Evers held a signing event to celebrate the state’s Asian and Hmong American communities and Hmong Heritage Month as he signed Assembly Bill 232 into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 266.

The new law requires school boards to provide instruction on Hmong and Asian Americans as part of already required instruction on human relations and certain demographic groups. Similar legislation has been introduced several times in previous sessions and the idea has slowly gained an enormous showing of bipartisan support, passing the Assembly unanimously earlier this session.

WEAC recommended passage of the bill and used the organization’s communications vehicles to encourage members to email and call their state Senators and Assembly Representatives to urge support. The bill was also supported by organizations that advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander inclusion and anti-discrimination.

“Our state’s thousands of Hmong and Asian American students deserve to be heard and recognized,” WEAC President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen said. “And all the students in our state will benefit from learning about the many contributions Hmong and Asian American people have made throughout history. This bill is long overdue.”

In March, WEA Academy introduced a new course to help WEAC members best prepare for the new law. The WEA Academy teamed with a diverse group of Asian American educators to create a workshop that will provide insight and instructional resources to support Wisconsin teachers as they integrate Asian American and Hmong content into their instruction. The course is free for WEAC members.