Batinick backs bill to require study of Asian American history in schools

Rep tied importance of Japanese American history to his extended family’s experience

mark batinick, state government

State Rep. Mark Batinick spoke in support of legislation the General Assembly passed last month to require Illinois schools to include Asian American history in its curriculum.

The bill, H.B. 376, specifically provides for the teaching of the “wrongful incarceration” of Japanese Americans during World War II, according to a summary of the legislation.

Batinick, R-Plainfield, tied the important of the bill to his extended family’s experience. He mentioned his brother-in-law’s Japanese American family members who were subjected to internment and also served in the U.S. military.

The representative also prefaced his remarks by acknowledging some members on his side of the aisle taking issue with adding more state mandates for school curricula. As an example, he said he was against mandating the teaching of cursive writing in schools, but this time backed H.B. 376.

“I like the bill,” Batinick said in a floor speech. “I understand that we’re going both ways on this one. I appreciate you bringing the bill forward.”

After the Senate unanimously passed the bill, the House voted 108-10 in favor last month.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.