You are reading

NYC Schools to Pilot Asian American Studies Curriculum

New York City students perform songs and dances representing various Asian cultures at Tweed Courthouse, the New York City education department headquarters, as part of launching a new curriculum focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures.Christina Veiga / Chalkbeat

This article was originally published by Chalkbeat New York on May 24
BY

New York City is piloting a curriculum on Asian American history this fall, with a wider rollout planned for 2024, officials announced Thursday.

The lessons are part of the city’s roughly $200 million investment in Universal Mosaic, a curriculum under development that aims to provide more culturally representative lessons for the nearly 1 million students in the nation’s largest school system.

Called “Hidden Voices: Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” the guides will be available to every grade level and will include profiles of influential members of the community, often referred to as AAPI. The education department will provide training for teachers on the lessons and will buy books that reflect the AAPI experience.

At a press conference at Tweed Courthouse, the education department’s Manhattan headquarters, Chancellor David Banks said the curriculum “honors all that our Asian American and Pacific Islander students and families contribute daily to our school communities and city.”

“We want each child to be heard and seen for who they are, to feel deep in their bones that they are respected and important,” Banks said.

Many advocates have been calling for schools to incorporate more lessons that better reflect the diversity of the city’s students. That includes Asian Americans, who make up the fastest growing racial group in New York City. Mayor Eric Adams said with the creation of the new curriculum, “we are listening to the people.”

There are also efforts at the state level to introduce more students to the contributions of the Asian community. State Sen. John Liu has proposed legislation to require Asian American studies in schools. The bill is in committee. Advocates are calling for $800,000 to be devoted to the statewide curriculum from a pot of $20 million that has already been approved for AAPI causes.

“When I immigrated here at the age of five, I thought I was going to be American. It wasn’t long thereafter that I found that in the schools, as well as in the streets, that I was somehow different,” Liu said. “In order for us to overcome this difference that has been imposed on us, we need to teach our experience.”

Calls for more representative lessons have only grown louder amid a wave of anti-Asian violence. Attacks have swelled since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, including the 2021 spa shootings in Atlanta that left dead six women of Asian descent — though many at the press conference noted that discrimination against Asian Americans has long been intertwined with the country’s history.

In New York City, students say it has taken a toll, recounting experiences of being afraid for their safety and subjected to racist comments.

“Growing up, I didn’t see many people like me in the history books or in media. So for a while, I thought that maybe there was just nobody notable, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Mikayla Lin, a student at Stuyvesant High School who spoke at the press conference about her own family tree. “We don’t want to be segregated and separated out with the title of ‘model minority.’ And we are not any less American than anybody else.”

The advocacy group Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) has been working on its own pilot curriculum to use with youth organizations across the city. It centers on healing by allowing young people to explore their own backgrounds and building community across identities, said Kristen Sze-Tu, a program coordinator at CACF who helped create the lessons.

“We have to have a complete understanding of where we’re coming from before we know where we’re heading to,” said Ivy Li, the associate director of mental health at Apex for Youth, a nonprofit that works with the AAPI community.

CACF is among the organizations involved in creating New York City’s new curriculum along with the Asian American Education Project, the New York Historical Society, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Yuri Education Project.

Christina Veiga is a reporter covering New York City schools. Contact Christina at cveiga@chalkbeat.org.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Cyclist sought for endangering the welfare of a child in Richmond Hill: NYPD

Police from the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill are looking for a cyclist who rode up alongside a 9-year-old girl and tried to engage her in conversation at around 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 13.

The encounter occurred in the vicinity of Jamaica Avenue and 104th Street while the youngster was walking to school. When the man asked the girl to join him on his bike, the girl sensed danger and took off, running to her school where she alerted authorities of the incident.

Ex-building inspector pleads guilty to official misconduct for accepting bribes from southeast Queens homeowners: DA

A College Point man pleaded guilty on Monday to taking bribes while working as an inspector for the city Department of Buildings (DOB) in exchange for not issuing violations from January 2023 through January 2024.

The city’s Department of Investigations conducted a probe after receiving allegations about Zabihullah Ibrahimi from homeowners and the DOB. The office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz prosecuted the case.

Richmond Hill man gets 4-12 years in prison for DWI collision that killed a city worker last year: DA

A Richmond Hill man was sentenced in Queens Supreme Court on Thursday to 4-12 years in prison for a drunken collision that killed a 36-year-old city worker during an early morning crash nearly a year ago.

Errick Persaud, 25, of 104th Street pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree before Justice Michael Aloise on May 8. According to the charges, at approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 6, 2023, video surveillance footage showed Persaud behind the wheel of a black Mercedes-Benz speeding through a steady red light at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard in Richmond Hill.

Rapper Remy Ma’s son arrested with Queens Village man for 2021 murder of Astoria drug kingpin: NYPD

The son of hip-hop star Remy Ma was arrested Tuesday along with a Queens Village man for the murder of a reputed drug kingpin from Astoria just over three years ago.

The rapper’s 23-year-old son, Jayson Scott, of Tier Street on City Island in the Bronx, and Richard Swygert, 22, of Springfield Boulevard, were booked at the 113th Precinct in Jamaica on first-degree murder and related charges in the 2021 fatal shooting of 47-year-old Darius Guillebeaux on the afternoon of June 7, 2021.

Queens DSNY worker busted for allegedly filling his pool with water from a fire hydrant: NYPD

A Southeast Queens off-duty NYC Sanitation worker was arrested on Tuesday morning and booked at the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, where he was charged with theft of city services, according to the NYPD.

Rodolfo Jiminez, 41, was taken into custody just before 10:30 a.m. after he allegedly opened a fire hydrant on his street and then used a garden hose to run water to fill his backyard pool, police said, after a neighbor tipped off the cops.

Rep. Grace Meng delivers major funding boost to local preschool in Jamaica

Jun. 20, 2024 By Athena Dawson

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-6) presented a check for $850,000 in federal funding to a local preschool in Jamaica on Tuesday, June 18. Meng was joined by parents, local government leaders, teachers, school board members and students at Queens Centers for Progress’ Apple Preschool for an early morning celebration. Apple Preschool provides specialized services to children with developmental disabilities to give them a positive learning environment and school experience.