Analysis and Recommendations for AAPI Representation in Maryland Middle School and High School Frameworks

Analysis and Recommendations for AAPI Representation in Maryland Middle School and High School Frameworks

In order to promote school curriculums to be more inclusive to include APPI community’s past, present, challenge and achievement in the whole community perspective, I have several summer interns Lily Peng, Ryan Zhou, Michael Hou and Sophie Zhang, did a study on this and here is the report.

I wish this will shed a light on the issue AAPI community is facing: ignored, transparent or irrelevant in our history context. We should be able to do better on this.

2023 Newsmaker: Asian American stories of resistance and joy

Newsmaker: Asian American stories of resistance and joy

Our new article on National School Board Association’s American School Board Journal.

July 11, 2023

Despite persisting discrimination, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are pushing for increased visibility of their communities and their heritage, both inside and outside of the classroom.

The American public school system is changing. As the epidemic of anti-Asian hate swelled to a new peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, activists have pushed back against harmful stereotypes. In school systems across the U.S., policymakers have advocated for changes to their state’s curriculum to reflect better the diversity of their student body and surrounding communities. Illinois, the first state to require the teaching of Asian American history in 2021, began implementing this new curriculum in public schools this academic year. In May, Florida became the most recent state to require Asian American history to be taught in its classrooms.

The progress made by Asian American activists, policymakers, and educators has been impressive, but the work is not finished. Anti-Asian hate and ignorance continue to pervade classrooms, despite these efforts. In May 2023, the Maryland state legislature passed a bill that provided grants to local school systems to encourage more student field trips to museums, such as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) museums. Yet, students continue to face discrimination, even with additional efforts to increase diversity. A first grader in Maryland’s Howard County Public School System was repeatedly harassed by her peers on the way home from school, where other students would make inappropriate gestures and make fun of her Chinese heritage. Moreover, required reading materials and a lack of nuanced discussions about U.S.-China foreign policy have increased anti-Chinese sentiments within classrooms. These sentiments are often directed at Chinese American students. Linfeng Chen, a Howard County school board member, recalled that his son felt ostracized when the school morning announcements replayed news reports about the “spy balloon.”

Other Chinese American students felt uncomfortable reading Red Scarf Girl in their middle school English classes because they felt that the book painted the Chinese government in a negative light and placed those stereotypes on all Chinese people. Nearly half of all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide reported experiencing discrimination in 2023, and Asian American students are a part of that statistic. Even with the progress in incorporating Asian American history into school curricula, discrimination and anti-Asian hate still plague Asian American students. Our public school system must address this hatred and incorporate more inclusive, culturally competent changes to classrooms.

In the face of these challenges, the Asian American community in Howard County has pushed for the school system to recognize their culture and traditions. The Asian American communities rallied together for years to petition the school board to add Asian American holidays to the school calendar, which only included Christian and Jewish holidays. In 2016, the school board voted to expand its calendar to include Eid Al-Adha, Lunar New Year, and Diwali as days for school closure to allow Asian American students the opportunity to celebrate these holidays with their families at home.

Asian American students and parents have strived to share their holidays and cultural traditions with peers and school faculty, as well. Every year, around Lunar New Year, families visit their children’s schools and spend their day making dumplings for the school’s teachers and staff. They also bring paper lanterns and other red-colored decor to line the hallways. Just as the hallways are decorated each year around Halloween and Christmas, the Lunar New Year decorations brighten the hallways and make students excited about the holiday.

Asian American youth have used their agency as student leaders to create clubs and events that celebrate the diversity of cultures at their school. In Howard County, Project Lotus aims to share Asian American culture. Its members collaborated with other student clubs, such as the Black Leadership Union and the Muslim Student Association, to host a Culture Day to celebrate the diversity within the schools’ student body. Lily Peng, a high school student and the founder of Project Lotus, expressed that “the months of planning were all worth it to see the community come together and celebrate each other’s cultures.” The event boasted performances and cultural activities that attendees could participate in. Reflecting on the impact of that night, Lily believed that Culture Day “reaffirmed the importance of diverse communities” at her school. Asian American culture and traditions are a part of the diversity that make up our schools, communities, and country. Recognizing and including the Asian American community is not adding to the picture of America but completing it.

Despite persisting discrimination, Asian Americans have pushed for the visibility of their community and their heritage inside and outside of the classroom. The Asian American community is an intrinsic part of the fabric of the U.S. Asian Americans are students, leaders, mentors, volunteers, and community members in towns and cities across the nation. Our history, culture, and traditions deserve to be learned about and celebrated.

Judy Zhou ( is a student at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Lily Peng and Julia Chen are 11th-grade students in the Howard County Public School System, Maryland. Linfeng Chen ( is a member of the Howard County School Board. Yun Lu ( is vice chair of the Howard County School Board. Chao Wu ( is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, District 9A.

2022 Issue

2021 Issue

The Inclusion of Asian American Studies in Schools Becomes a Reality

Our new article is published at June 2022 Issue of American School Board Journal, an affiliate of National School Board Association. The link is:

Our 2021 Article “AAPI History is American History”, published on American School Board Journal. The link is here:

AAPI History is American History | Dr. Chao Wu

Guest Article: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by Amy Liao

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Amy Liao

The month of May was officially designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month under the George H. W. Bush administration with the passing of Public Law 102-540. The month of May was chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the Transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.

Since the middle of the 19th century, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders charted their unique journey in American history. The multi-ethnic communities (from east and south Asian immigrants to the native Hawaiian and other Pacific islanders) endured many institutional discriminations such the infamous “Chinese Exclusion Act” in 1882 and the Japanese Encampment during World War II. Yet the AAPI communities thrived in this great nation that many times corrected paths and embraced differences into the melting pot.

Throughout the 180-year history, there were many AAPIs left their marks. From the 16-year-old Chinese immigrant Mabel Ping-Hua Lee who helped lead a 1912 Suffrage march, to Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, honored by the US Postal Service by featuring in the Forever Stamps as the Manhattan project contributor and one of the most influential nuclear physicists in the 20th century. According to the Census Bureau, by 2019, there were more than 22 million residents in the US who identified as of AAPI origin or descents. This vibrant community has been weaved in every part of the American society, from Silicon valley big tech executives to the half a million business owners; from military service men and women to the doctors and nurses who fought in the frontline against Covid-19 and many others who are active contributors in the workforce of industries and government agencies.

This year, we celebrate AAPI heritage with a special highlight! On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to study the creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American history and culture. Let’s all learn from history, embrace diversity, and build a bright future together.

My failed motion at MABE

During this year’s Maryland Association of Board of Education (MABE) annual meeting, because the ongoing hate and violent crime against AAPI community, I proposed a resolution to expand and enhance the public school curriculum to reflect the diverse community needs and include more contents for AAPIs, African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities.

Unfortunately the motion failed. I will continue to advocate to have a more diverse and inclusive public school curriculum in the future.

The following is the text, drafted by me, revised by MABE staff and reviewed by the MABE resolution committee.

Proposed amendments to the Curriculum and Assessments resolution:

Insert on page 39 after the last WHEREAS clause:

WHEREAS, anti-Asian harassment and violence has a long history in the United States and more than 9,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes were reported in 2020 and 2021 including the murder of six Asian American women in Atlanta on March 16, 2021; and

WHEREAS, the State Content Standards and Framework for Grade 6-8 Social Studies are designed so that each “student will understand the diversity and commonality, human interdependence, and global cooperation of the people of Maryland, the United States, and the World through a multicultural and a historic perspective”;

Insert on page 39 before the last BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED clause:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MABE supports the exercise of local board authority to ensure that local curriculum and instruction reflect the diversity, commonality, and right to be free from harassment and violence of all persons, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ persons, and persons with disabilities; and