Proposed Legislation Aims to Ensure Holocaust Education in Pennsylvania's Classrooms

Proposed Legislation Aims to Ensure Holocaust Education in Pennsylvania’s Classrooms

Senator Doug Mastriano is working on a Senate bill for Pennsylvania that mandates schools to incorporate curriculum on the Holocaust, genocide, and civil rights.

The proposed legislation aims to ensure that young people in Pennsylvania are educated about historical events. Schools would be required to provide age-appropriate instruction on the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations, as outlined in a sponsorship memo from January.

“Act 70 was passed by the General Assembly and enacted beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. The law recommended holocaust, genocide, and human rights education but it did not require it,” he stated.

On Monday, advocates of the legislation, among them a Holocaust survivor, spoke at the Capitol, urging lawmakers to consider the proposal.

They emphasized the importance of teaching Pennsylvania students about the Holocaust, a tragic event in which 6 million Jews and millions of others were targeted and killed by the Nazis.

Rhonda Fink-Whitman, an author advocating for the inclusion of Holocaust education in schools, recounted the journey to pass Act 70.

She emphasized the ongoing need for further measures to guarantee that students are adequately informed about this profoundly dark chapter in human history.

“We were looking for a full-blown 100% mandate. We started out strong but in the end there was a lot of pushback and we were forced to settle,” she stated.

Even while 90% of public and private schools teach some kind of Holocaust curriculum, according to a state board of education survey, several people expressed on Monday that they would prefer to see more standardized instruction on the topic.

Holocaust survivor Sami Steigmann remarked that in order to make sure that the attitudes, behaviors, and acts that caused the genocide never occur again, schools should be given explicit guidelines regarding teaching students about what happened.

“The Holocaust must be taught forever and ever,” he stated.