TEAACH act mandated in Illinois public schools


Sophie Yang

On July 9, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH Act) was signed by Illinois Governor JB Prizker in the Niles West Gymnasium, making Illinois the first state to require Asian American history to be taught in public schools, according to NBC Chicago.  

“We are setting a new standard of what it truly means to reckon with our history,” Pritzker stated following the signing.

This law was created in order to address issues surrounding the lack of representation of Asian-Americans in history textbooks and classroom teaching.

The TEAACH Act will be effective starting the 2022-2023 school year for elementary to high school students attending Illinois public schools. The curriculum will cover the contributions, civil rights and overall history of Asian Americans in Illinois and in the United States as a whole.  The ETHS Board of Education will provide curriculum guidelines, but the final decisions of what aspects to teach will be left up to individual districts.

“Hopefully by teaching future students more about Asian American history, people will be able to not alienate us and listen to our stories,” sophomore Joan Camaya says.

Many students, including freshman Alex Witt, feel that Asian American stories and history have been scarce or completely absent from their past learning.

“I have noticed that the school curriculum displays a lot of teachings about other cultures, [but] I do not remember our school district teaching much about Asian Americans,” Witt recalls.  Despite the insufficient past experiences, he has a positive outlook towards the future, “I not only hope to learn, but I hope to see the impact of this legislation in the student body and in our community.”