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Wisconsin schools required to teach Holocaust under new law

Tony Evers
Posted at 12:57 PM, Apr 28, 2021

With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Tony Evers has set the new standard for public and private schools in Wisconsin, which will now be required to teach the history of the Holocaust and other genocides by no later than the 2022-23 school year.

"It is one of those moments that I will remember for the rest of my life," said Mark Miller, board chair for the Holocaust Education Resource Center.

"If we don't know history, we are bound to repeat it. And this is one thing where we are saying 'never again,'" said District 8 State Senator Alberta Darling.

Senator Darling, a key sponsor of Senate Bill 69, also known as the Holocaust Education Bill, says the instruction will need to be taught at least once to students between 5th and 8th grade and once in high school. The law also requires the curriculum to be developed with help from other states and entities that are currently teaching these courses.

Survey: 63% of young Americans don’t know 6 million Jews were killed in Holocaust
FILE - In this May 7, 1945 file photo emaciated prisoners at one of the largest Nazi Concentration camps at Evensee Austria, in the Austrian Alps.

"HERC is now going to be one of the engines behind providing content. We've created a website especially for these teachers," said Miller.

Holocaust survivor Eva Zaret, who now lives in Wisconsin, says legislation like this is key.

"Hatred brought me terrible pain, destroyed my family, murdered my whole father's family," said Zaret.

Other subjects that are mandated to be taught in schools in Wisconsin along with the Holocaust include American Indian Studies, Environmental Education, American Labor, and more.

"There is importance in talking about systemic oppression, abuse of power away, even the way propaganda is using a way to perpetuate stereotypes and beliefs about people groups because that has not gone away," said Sam Coleman, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Shorewood School District.

State officials add that the bill passed unanimously in the legislature, and the curriculum for the Holocaust is already set up for teachers to start following.

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