Lawmakers propose bill adding Hmong, Asian Pacific Islander history in Wisconsin public school curriculum

By Brennen Scarborough

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wisconsin Representatives are proposing a bill that would add Hmong, Asian American Pacific Islander, and the history of other Asian American communities to the Wisconsin public school curriculum. The bill has failed in previous attempts, but it has since been edited and is being resubmitted.

“Previously this only covered the history of Hmong migration and Hmong culture. Now it has expanded to Asian Americans and the Asian Americans including Pacific Islanders and Desi Americans,” said 71st Assembly District Representative (D) Katrina Shankland.

In past years, the bill did not make it to the Senate floor. The hope is to continue to grow bipartisan support and get enough signatures to take action.

“That’ll be the key, to see if we can get 17 senators. That way we can bring it to the floor and vote on it,” 81st Assembly District (R) Representative Pat Snyder said.

“I’m excited about the forward-looking progress and the momentum we have in the legislature for it,” Rep. Shankland said.

Like it did in the 2020 session, the bill had bipartisan support. Republican representative Pat Snyder says he clearly sees the importance of this topic.

“I think it’s very important for our school kids to learn the sacrifices that were made,” Rep. Snyder said.

The Stevens Point School District showed support for the bill when it was submitted last year. The District says Wisconsin holds the third-highest Hmong population in the country, and 6.5% of students in the Stevens Point Area Public School District are Hmong.

“Not only are we trying to reflect that for our students who are of Hmong descent, but also those who are not of Hmong descent. We think it’s important about their fellow students and what their history might look like,” SPAPSD Communication Director Sarah O’Donnell said.

Representative Snyder says the next step would be for the bill to go to a committee then it would need to go through a process to go through the Assembly. If the Bill passes every step, the soonest it can be on the floor is in June. If the Bill does not pass right away, it will need to get to the floor by next Spring, or the whole process will need to start again.

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