The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia hopes the state Senate will pass Holocaust education legislation at an upcoming session.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has a long history of supporting education about the Holocaust. This is not just a Jewish cause; it is a lesson for all of humanity. Only by ensuring that each generation learns about this terrible period in time, as well as other episodes of genocide, can we ensure that these tragic events will never occur again.
It has always been Federation’s policy that every student — in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States and the world — have access to comprehensive education about this time period.
Over the past five years, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has worked to craft legislation to establish Holocaust education that is (a) state-funded, (b) focused on consistent and effective education state-wide, and (c) developed by trained experts. At this point in time, this bill, HB1424, is under review by the State Senate. A recent amendment has put forth a comprehensive plan that will:
• Direct the Department of Education to create a statewide curriculum on the Holocaust and genocide using professional Holocaust educators
• Ensure teachers will be trained in this curriculum and receive Continuing Education credit for this training, so that they can personally provide comprehensive education about the Holocaust and genocide
• Require a statewide study as to which schools are teaching the Holocaust and which schools are not. If targets are not met, the study will call for recommendations for improvement that will guide actions by the state Board of Education.
The Board of Directors of the Federation feels that this is a very significant step in ensuring that every student in Pennsylvania receives comprehensive education on the Holocaust. By a unanimous vote, the Board has endorsed this amended bill and requests the members of the General Assembly to pass this legislation during this session.