Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, one of the co-sponsors of the bill

Genocide, Holocaust Education Bill Passes Colorado House

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DENVER (Combined Sources) — The Colorado House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Friday, June 3, to require that high schoolers study genocide and the Holocaust in order to graduate.

“Ignoring the darkest, most harrowing chapters of our history for the sake of temporary comfort will only lead to history tragically repeating itself,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, one of the proposal’s sponsors. “Teaching our high school students about the horrors of the Holocaust and the genocides that have occurred across history and around the world will no doubt lead to a better informed, hopefully more compassionate and conscientious Coloradans down the road.”

House Bill 1336 directs the State Board of Education to adopt learning standards by July 1, 2021, and for school districts to implement their genocide curriculum by the 2023-2024 school year.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reports that 12 states require schools to teach about the Holocaust. Those states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia.

A 2018 survey of 1,350 Americans found that four in 10 respondents and 66 percent of millennial respondents could not identify Auschwitz, the Nazi-run death camp that killed 1.1 million Jews.

HB1336, which has bipartisan cosponsorship in both chambers, defines genocide as killing, seriously harming, or attempting to bring about the destruction of a national, racial, ethic or religious group. Currently, Colorado’s high school social studies standards only mention the Holocaust and genocide as examples of concepts for which students should “evaluate continuity and change” and “investigate causes and effects.”

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The bill requires the state board to adopt standards related to Holocaust and genocide studies on or before July 1, 2021. The adoption of standards is conditional on the receipt of gifts, grants, or donations.

The bill requires each school district board of education and charter school to incorporate the standards on Holocaust and genocide studies adopted by the state board into an existing course that is currently a condition of high school graduation for school years beginning on or after July 1, 2022 2023, if the standards are adopted by the state board on or before July 1, 2023 .

The bill requires the department of education to create and maintain a publicly available resource bank of materials pertaining to Holocaust and genocide courses and programs, which must be available for access by public schools no later than July 1, 2021.

The bill also mandates the teaching of the Armenian Genocide in addition to other genocides.

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