There’s a new look to history classes in New York City schools: a curriculum in Asian American and Pacific Islander history. Its creators say they’ve felt a a surge of support, in part because the idea could provide long-term solutions to help combat the extraordinary rise in hate crimes targeting all Asian Americans seen since the beginning of the pandemic. It could also help resolve the internal conflicts that many Asian Americans experience when dealing with their sense of identity.

New York City’s Department of Education is the latest public school system to require that U.S. history instruction include an Asian American and Pacific Islander K-12 curriculum. The program will be piloted this fall at selected schools and fully rolled-out in over 1,800 schools by the spring. The curriculum is part of the Hidden Voices Project, initiated by the New York City Department of Education’s Social Studies Department and the Museum of the City of New York.

New York City Schools join seven states that now require Asian American and Pacific Islander studies and 15 states that have recently introduced legislation creating these requirements, according to a recent study by The Committee of 100, a nonpartisan group promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in U.S. society. But many hurdles must still be overcome by lawmakers and policymakers, before they can assess the effectiveness of the curriculum and its impact, if any, on healing societal wounds.

One way to measure this impact is by involving students in conversation circles and listening to what they say.

To get a sense of how students in New York feel about these changes, The Hechinger Report spoke with six public school students, representing four of the city’s five boroughs, whose heritage is Asian American or Pacific Islander. Despite living in neighborhoods that are predominantly Asian, or associating primarily with other Asian Americans at school, the students said they were taught little — if anything — about their history at school.

Read the full article about Asian American and Pacific Islander history curriculum by Juliana Giacone at The Hechinger Report.