AAPI Curriculum: Why is it important and how to expand access?

Stewart Kwoh
Gary Locke

America’s public schools have rarely taught Asian American history and culture. For nearly 200 years, Chinese Americans have contributed to American history —and in many cases against overwhelming racism and xenophobia. Public schools are critical in shaping citizens. In most states, schools do not require students to learn about the contributions of Americans of Asian descent, but Asian American history is American history. If they don’t learn this as children, how can students become citizens who will understand the challenges and struggles of all Americans?

Committee of 100 recently unveiled a state-by-state analysis of the prevalence of existing policy and potential legislation requiring the teaching of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and contributions in K-12 social studies curriculum.

On July 27th, 2022, Committee of 100  held a webinar where we presented an overview of the analysis and discussed the following questions with expert academics and policymakers:

  • Why is adding AAPI curriculum requirements important?
  • What states have requirements, which don’t, and how do they differ?
  • What lessons can we learn from successes and failures in getting legislations through?
  • How can we expand access to AAPI curriculum to all fifty states?
  • Has the rise in anti-Asian hate led to more of an understanding of Asian Americans and their contributions to the building of America?
  • How do we get involved?

The white paper, press release, and virtual event replay are available on the Committee of 100 website HERE.



Stewart Kwoh, President Emeritus, Founder, Past President, and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA)

Stewart Kwoh has been a member of the Committee of 100 since 1999. He is a nationally recognized leader and expert in race relations, Asian American studies, nonprofit organizations and philanthropies, civil rights, and legal services. In 1983, Kwoh co-founded Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, the nation’s largest Asian American legal and civil rights organization that serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. The organization provides direct services to individual clients; engages in policy advocacy, research and analysis; litigates impact lawsuits; and provides social change-based leadership training.

Advancing Justice | Los Angeles has successfully challenged garment sweatshops, English-only policies, racially discriminatory employment practices and unfair immigration laws as well as advocated for stronger protections for low-wage workers, limited-English-speaking immigrants, and hate crime victims.

Stewart is currently the co-executive director of The Asian American Education Project, a national initiative founded in 2021 that offers rigorous lesson plans for K–12 curriculums and professional development trainings that teach the rich history of Asian Americans.

He was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1998, becoming the first Asian American attorney and community leader to receive this highly prestigious recognition, often referred to as the “genius grant.” Kwoh earned his B.A. and J.D. from UCLA.



Natha Anderson, Nevada State Assemblywoman

Natha Anderson is the Nevada Assembly Representative for District 30. Assemblywoman Anderson is a second-generation Nevadan and a fourth-generation teacher. She served as the president of the Washoe Education Association, a director of the National Education Association and board member of the Nevada State Education Association. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from University of Nevada, Reno.


Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, Rhode Island State Representative

Representative Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Dist. 15, Cranston) was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2020.  Fenton-Fung is the first woman to ever represent the district, and the first person in 114 years to defeat a sitting Speaker of the House.  She is a member of the House Corporations Committee, the House Education Committee, the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the House Small Business Committee and the House Special Legislation Committee.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation medicine from Northeastern University and Certificate in Emergency Management from Auburn University. Representative Fenton-Fung has also earned a Master of Science degree in physical therapy from Northeastern University and a Master of Science degree in Digital Media Management from Arkansas State University.

Representative Fenton-Fung is a physical therapist and is currently serving as Chairwoman of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations, and on the board of the Cranston Substance Abuse Task Force.


Russell Jeung, PhD, Professor of Asian American Studies of San Francisco State University

Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, Dr. Russell Jeung is an author of books and articles on race and religion. He’s written Family Sacrifices: The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans (Oxford U Press, 2019); Mountain Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies (UCLA AAS Center, 2019); and At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus Among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors (Zondervan, 2016).

In March 2020, Dr. Jeung co-founded Stop AAPI Hate with Chinese for Affirmative Action and the AAPI Equity Alliance. It tracks incidents of COVID-19 discrimination to develop policy interventions and long-term solutions to racism.

Stop AAPI Hate was awarded the 2021 Webby Award for “Social Movement of the Year.” Dr. Jeung has been named as one of the TIME 100 Most Influential Persons, as well as the Bloomberg 50 and Politico 40 most impactful persons.


Irene Parisi, Chief Academic Officer, Connecticut State Department of Education

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