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Pushing for Holocaust Education

February 16, 2012
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State Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democratic lawmaker from Northeast Philadelphia, is set to introduce legislation requiring Pennsylvania's public and private schools to include Holocaust and genocide studies in the curriculum.

"Learning from our past is the only way to ensure that this terrible part of history never repeats itself. The lessons learned from the atrocities committed during the Holocaust should be taught and used as a lesson for the need to have tolerance of others," said Boyle.

Currently, five states have a similar law on the books: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

So far, Boyle has gathered 17 co-sponsors for the measure. He noted that the bill's language doesn't specify at exactly what grades certain material should be taught, but he envisions curriculum being developed for elementary school, junior high and high school.

Boyle, who is not Jewish, has sat on the board of the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center.

In 2009, in his first months in office, he introduced a resolution, which passed, in support of Israel in its nearly monthlong war against the terrorist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Michael Steinlauf, who directs the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program at Gratz College, said that "getting the state to mandate, not just recommend -- which is the current situation -- Holocaust education, would be an important step forward."

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