Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization or America, Inc. (HWZOA) and Jewish advocacy groups at a Holocaust education center in Manhattan on April 10, to recognize the Week of Remembrance and announce the introduction of the “Never Again Education Act.” The national legislation will give teachers across the United States the resources and training they need to teach their students the important lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of intolerance and hate.
Maloney introduced the bill with Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and seven co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force. Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin and Hadassah Executive Director / CEO Janice Weinman joined representatives from the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Association of Holocaust Organizations, and other Jewish organizations to partner on the legislation.
“For far too many in this country, the memory of the Holocaust is fading and we need to do all we can to ensure that people never forget those atrocities. As the saying goes, if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it,” Maloney stated. “That is why I am proud to announce the Never Again Education Act. This bipartisan legislation gives our teachers what they need to teach the Holocaust accurately and effectively. We know that hate is learned. Our children are not born with prejudices, and it is up to us to make sure they never learn them.”
Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman remarked, “On the week of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the pledge of “Never Again” is especially close to our hearts. With anti-Semitism on the rise worldwide, the Holocaust Education Assistance Act helps us to be vigilant in the fight against hatred, denial, and xenophobia. As a proud Zionist organization, Hadassah stands with Congresswoman Maloney and will do our part to make sure this bill is passed.”
The original cosponsors of the bill are: Dan Donovan (NY-11), Peter Roskam (IL-06), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Kay Granger (TX-12), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Deutch (FL-22), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).
This legislation is endorsed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Ameinu, American Zionist Movement (AZM), Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) Board of Directors, Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, Baltimore Zionist District, B’nai B’rith International, Florida Holocaust Museum, Hadassah, Holocaust Museum of Houston, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Jewish Women International, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, NA’AMAT USA, National Council of Jewish Women, ORT America, Inc, Religious Action Center, USC Shoah Foundation, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, WIZO USA Women of Reform Judaism.
The bill establishes a federal fund at the Department of Education, the “Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund,” which will be paid for by private donations. The fund will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs. It gives funding directly to teachers to develop individualized programs that best suit their students’ needs.
Expenses include training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips. The bill Creates a Holocaust Education website as a central hub of resources and best practices for teachers interested in Holocaust education.
Curriculum experts at the Department of Education will work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops that help teachers work within their state and local education requirements to incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.
An Advisory Board will be created to help develop the competitive criteria for grants, select the content for the website, and lead fundraising efforts for the program.
The bill encourages State education agencies to work with schools and take advantage of the program and prioritizes grants to schools with no current Holocaust education programs.
Teachers face many barriers to teaching the Holocaust: a lack of awareness of where to find resources, a lack of funding to take advantage of these resources, and a lack of knowledge for how to incorporate the subject into their curriculums. This program will help teachers overcome these barriers at no additional cost to the taxpayer. Private Holocaust education centers provide valuable training programs, curriculum and other resources, but are limited to helping the schools in their area. This program will help these centers reach a broader audience and provide teachers with the tools to educate students in communities across the country.
This program will finally recognize the importance of Holocaust education at the federal level and teach children about the valuable lessons from the Holocaust.