FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Brendan Boyle
Boyle announces details of Holocaust and genocide education bill
PHILADELPHIA, May 18 – State Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, unveiled his legislation requiring Pennsylvania schools to provide Holocaust and genocide education.
Boyle was joined state Sen. Anthony Williams, by representatives from the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center and other Holocaust education groups at the Holocaust Museum at Klein JCC to announce the details of the bill.
"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."
"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," said Sen. Williams. "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."
Under the bill, the Department of Education would develop a model curriculum to be used by schools beginning with school year 2014-15. The instruction would be integrated within the social studies and language arts courses in accordance with the State Board of Education regulations.
The bill also would require training and instruction programs on the Holocaust, genocide and human rights violations for teachers.
Approximately 6 million Jewish individuals lost their lives during the Holocaust, as well as millions of other individuals targeted by the Nazi regime. Boyle said that, unfortunately, instances of genocide can be found all over the world, even today.
According to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, five states have enacted laws requiring the teaching of the Holocaust in schools: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.