Holocaust education proposed


State Rep. Brendan Boyle last Fri­day held a news con­fer­ence at the Klein JCC to un­veil his le­gis­la­tion re­quir­ing Pennsylvania schools to provide Holo­caust and gen­o­cide edu­ca­tion.

The event was held at the Holo­caust Aware­ness Mu­seum and Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter at Klein JCC, at 10100 Jam­is­on Ave.

“Know­ing our his­tory is the only way to en­sure that the mis­takes of our past are nev­er re­peated,” Boyle said. “The les­sons learned from the at­ro­cit­ies com­mit­ted dur­ing the Holo­caust and oth­er gen­o­cides must be used as an ex­ample of how it is es­sen­tial to ex­er­cise tol­er­ance and com­pas­sion. My le­gis­la­tion will en­sure that Pennsylvania stu­dents are provided with this valu­able and im­port­ant mes­sage.”

Boyle (D-170th dist.) was joined by state Sen. An­thony Wil­li­ams and rep­res­ent­at­ives from the mu­seum and oth­er Holo­caust edu­ca­tion groups.

Un­der the bill, the state De­part­ment of Edu­ca­tion would de­vel­op a mod­el cur­riculum to be used by schools be­gin­ning with the 2014-15 aca­dem­ic year. The in­struc­tion would be in­teg­rated with­in the so­cial stud­ies and lan­guage arts courses in ac­cord­ance with the State Board of Edu­ca­tion reg­u­la­tions.

The bill would also re­quire train­ing and in­struc­tion pro­grams on the Holo­caust, gen­o­cide and hu­man rights vi­ol­a­tions for teach­ers.

Five states have en­acted laws re­quir­ing the teach­ing of the Holo­caust in schools, ac­cord­ing to the Task Force for In­ter­na­tion­al Co­oper­a­tion on Holo­caust Edu­ca­tion, Re­mem­brance and Re­search. Those states are New Jer­sey, New York, Flor­ida, Illinois and Cali­for­nia.

“The world has be­come more com­plex, so it is crit­ic­al that we arm our chil­dren with the in­form­a­tion they need to nav­ig­ate it suc­cess­fully on every front, and hav­ing a sol­id sense of his­tory aids in that ef­fort,” Wil­li­ams said. “It would simply be ir­re­spons­ible to al­low our chil­dren to fall sus­cept­ible to cam­paigns of lies, par­tic­u­larly about events of great hu­man tragedy. And without study of the Holo­caust and oth­er in­stances of gen­o­cide, too many are left vul­ner­able to the half-truths and vi­cious­ness of Holo­caust den­iers and oth­ers, wheth­er here or abroad. Ig­nor­ance in this arena gives fer­tile room for in­dif­fer­ence, or worse, re­pe­ti­tion.” ••


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