ORLANDO, Fla. — If some state lawmakers get their way, Florida schools may soon be required to teach the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
What You Need To Know
- A piece of state legislation filed in late January, Senate Bill 294, would require Florida schools to teach about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
- Numerous lawmakers have indicated that they support the bill
- Apopka High School student Colin Poon says he thinks the legislation would benefit Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the state
The legislation, Senate Bill 294, would require Florida schools to teach the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including information about their cultures and contributions to American society.
Apopka High School student Colin Poon, part of several Asian-American social groups, says he is in favor of the bill.
“I think it’s a useful initiative with everything going on since the pandemic," he said. "And everything we're talking about anti-Asian hate crimes."
A sophomore, Poon said he thinks the bill would benefit Asian American communities throughout Florida.
“And it just will help better understand the contributions Asian Americans have had in American society,” said Poon, whose father grew up in China while his mom was raised in Florida.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani, of Orlando, says she was the first to file a similar bill in the Florida House back in 2021.
“The bill has been very bipartisan," she said. "When I first filed it last year, alongside Sen. Linda Stewart, we had Republican co-sponsors, and we got a hearing in the Senate, but it did not move in the House.”
Eskamani said she believes the bill could get more traction this time around.
“Now I’m very hopeful that — we have a Republican as the main sponsors of both bills — that we will actually get some movement on it," she said.
Eskamani said the Legislature could take the bill up in the upcoming March session. If passed in the spring, it could be implemented by the fall, she said.