Pennsylvania Passes Law 'Strongly Encouraging' Holocaust Curriculum

Law does not require schools to comply, but provides department of education with assistance in creating curriculum.

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett campaigning in 2013.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett campaigning in 2013.Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A bill that "strongly encourages" – but does not require – schools in Pennsylvania to teach the Holocaust as part of their curriculum was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett late last week.

The bill had earlier passed both the state Senate and House of Representatives unanimously, according to the local Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Exponent.

The new law directs the state department of education to create curriculum options for Holocaust and genocide education with the help of organizations like the Shoah Foundation.

It also provides for Holocaust education and training for teachers and allows the education department to require schools to offer Holocaust education, if fewer than 90 percent of schools are teaching the subject after two years.

“Pennsylvania’s Jewish community applauds Governor Tom Corbett for signing this important legislation into law,” said Matt Handel, chairman of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, in a news release. The new bill “ensures that Pennsylvania students will receive the best possible education about the Holocaust, genocide and human rights violations.”

“Educating our students about our world’s historic atrocities creates an understanding of the need for tolerance and an understanding of the consequences of bigotry and hate,” Handel said. “We must never forget the horrors of what has happened so that we do not allow these tragic chapters of history to be repeated.”

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