Bill would require teaching of the “Secret War”

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs AB 2064 into law, lessons on the Vietnam War will be required to include the refugee experience of Southeast Asians — and the role the Hmong played to fight Communism.

If you have a chance, you should read this personal and thought-provoking piece by Connie Vang, a young Hmong woman who is a freshman at CSU Fresno. It was published today in New America Media.

Vang writes:

Many young Hmong do not know about the Secret War. They do not know how their parents and elders ran through treacherous jungles and escaped Laos by crossing the Mekong River. They do not know that in Laos today, some Hmong are still hunted and tortured by the government.

A.B. 2064 could change that. It would require that all high school history textbooks in California include teaching what Southeast Asians provided to the Americans during the Vietnam War. In 2003, A.B. 78 was signed into law. It was similar to A.B. 2064, but it only encouraged history teachers to teach it, rather than requiring it.

You can read the whole article here.

What are Oakland students learning about the Vietnam War? Does the social studies curriculum touch on the history of Southeast Asian refugees? Do you agree with Ms. Vang that it’s vital to educate students about this aspect of history?

image of Hmong refugee from Refugees International Web site

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • perryt

    As a high school social studies teacher I completely oppose this idea. Most of my teaching is done to 11th graders in the area of U.S. History and I can honestly say that there is little to no room for this topic. That’s not to say that the experiences and role of Southeast Asians in this part of our nation’s history is not important, but there is simply not enough time to teach this area. The state has almost completely eliminated The Revolution and our own Civil War from the 11th grade curriculum (go to score.k12.ca.us and look up benchmarks and standards to see what we are supposed to teach), and yet we still have a hard time getting through everything we are supposed to cover. It certainly would be nice to have something about this in the books to mention and/or discuss, but it would just make an already difficult situation even worse.

  • Nextset

    This is typical politically correct propaganda that is being shoved down the throats of our families by politicians pandering to special interests groups. This “education” is not for the benefit of the students and their families but for the political advancement of the favored constituients of the politicians who did this.

    Students would be better off studying the fate of gunless victims of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Weimar Republic, the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, or any number of 20th Century events that can happen here than this unimportant material.