Legislators Aim to Curb Anti-Semitism by Requiring Classes on the Holocaust

The legislative push comes as anti-Semitic crimes surge nationwide, while awareness of the Holocaust dwindles.

The legislative push comes as anti-Semitic crimes surge nationwide, while awareness of the Holocaust dwindles. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

A proposed bill would make Massachusetts the 13th state to mandate students learn about the Holocaust as part of public school curriculum.

Students in Massachusetts would be required to learn about the Holocaust under proposed legislation, a tweak to an existing state law that recommends, rather than mandates, the curriculum.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Jeffrey Roy, requires every school district to “include in its a curriculum a unit of instruction on the Holocaust and genocide,” teaching “acts of genocide across the globe…consistent with the frameworks to address the notion that national, ethnic, racial, or religious hatred can overtake any nation or society, leading to calamitous consequences.”

Roy, a Democrat, had introduced similar legislation for years and thought it might no longer be necessary to push the issue after 2018, when the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education added genocide to its curriculum frameworks. But an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks and incidents convinced him otherwise.

“But events have occurred in this world and we’re seeing a rising tide of hatred, which has led me to believe we do need to reintroduce this bill and get a statewide mandate,” he told State House News Service.

Roy’s latest effort, currently before the House Joint Committee on Education, comes as anti-Semitic hate crimes continue at near-historic levels across the country. Reported incidents at K-12 schools quadrupled from 2015 to 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League, while assaults rooted in anti-Jewish sentiments tripled. 

At the same time, awareness of the Holocaust is waning. More than 20 percent of millennials said they “haven’t heard” or “are not sure if they had heard of” it, and 31 percent of all Americans said 2 million Jews or fewer were killed in the Holocaust, according to a 2018 survey by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. (About 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, along with millions of other people.)

Only 12 states require Holocaust education as part of middle and high-school curriculum, including Oregon, which passed a measure earlier this year. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown in July, requires that schools provide curriculum to “prepare students to confront the immorality of the Holocaust, genocide, and other acts of mass violence and to reflect on the causes of related historical events.” The measure will take effect in the 2020-2021 school year.

Lawmakers in Maryland proposed a similar initiative this year that failed to gain traction in the state’s General Assembly. Officials with the state’s education department had opposed the measure, noting that much of the content required by the bill was already addressed by or “alluded to” in current lessons. 

State Sen. Ben Kramer, a Democrat and the bill’s lead sponsor, indicated that he would reintroduce it in the next legislative session, writing in July that the legislation is necessary to “ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are remembered in perpetuity.”

“Holocaust and genocide education opens the door to teach our children about the beauty of diversity and how we should embrace our differences for the betterment of all people,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

NEXT STORY: More States and Cities Getting Interested in Ranked Choice Voting

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.