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New York City schools to teach AAPI heritage under new curriculum

AAPI heritage curriculum coming to NYC schools
AAPI heritage curriculum coming to NYC schools 02:01

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams announced a new curriculum that teaches students about the history, culture and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

As CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported Thursday, it comes after months of pressure to make the change. 

New York City students danced and sang inside Tweed Hall, celebrating AAPI heritage. Starting in the fall, each grade will be learning about it, too.

"There's nothing more tragic than a Caribbean student sitting next to an AAPI student not knowing the rich history of that student," Adams said. 

There are more than 1 million AAPI New Yorkers.   

Teachers will use a guide that includes profiles of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. to launch a pilot program in social studies and literacy units.

"Such as Anandibai Joshee, the first woman of Indian ancestry to be a doctor of western medicine, Patsy Mink, the first Asian American woman elected to Congress, and Helen Zia, Chinese American journalist and activist," New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said. 

"I went to New York City public education here and actually I never heard about the history of anyone that looked like me," New York City Council Member Sandra Ung said. 

"Making sure that people know that our Asian history is just as American as everyone else's," said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng. "Things like the Chinese laborers building the transcontinental railroad."

To support instruction, the Department of Education said it will purchase and make available culturally diverse AAPI trade books.

"A lot of what we're seeing with anti-Asian sentiments that has resulted in hate incidents is the result of being invisible," said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation. 

"A lot of it has to do with ignorance, but it also is a lack of education," Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. 

The schools will gather feedback from teachers. The plan is to launch a more fully developed curriculum in 2024. 

State Sen. John Liu sponsored legislation to mandate AAPI education statewide and is still pushing for it to pass.

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