Genocide Education bill approved, awaits Governor Baker’s signature

Political News

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)– The Massachusetts Legislature has passed legislation that would require teaching middle and high school students about the history of genocide and promote the teaching of human rights issues.

The bill, “An Act concerning genocide education,“(S.2557) requires middle schools and high schools in Massachusetts to include instruction on the history of genocide. This most recent iteration of the legislation comes as incidences of hate and anti-Semitism are on the rise across the country, with several incidents reported in Massachusetts over the past year.

This bill would establish a Genocide Education Trust Fund to promote and educate middle and high school
students on the history of genocide. Funds in this trust would be used for the instruction of middle and high
school students on the history of genocide and ensure the development of curricular materials, as well as to
provide professional development training to assist educators in the teaching of genocide.

The legislation requires each school district to annually file a description of their lesson plan and programs
related to genocide education with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The
bill also establishes a competitive grant program that schools, and districts can apply to for additional
programming support.

In 2020, a widely reported survey commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against
Germany, which gauged Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z populations, found that
63 percent of survey respondents in the United States did not know six million Jews were murdered in the
Holocaust. The survey also found that nearly half were unfamiliar with Nazi concentration camps like
Auschwitz. Massachusetts does not currently require Holocaust education or other genocides as part of
classroom curriculum.

The bill now moves to Governor Baker for his approval or veto.

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