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Bill to ensure New York schools are meeting Holocaust education standards has passed both houses of State Legislature
New York State Sen. Sean Ryan and the Senate majority passed legislation (S.121B) designed to improve Holocaust education in New York schools. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Anna Kaplan and Assembly member Nily Rozic, has already passed the Assembly and now heads to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk for her signature. Ryan is a co-sponsor of the legislation.
If signed into law, this legislation would create a survey to assess the state of Holocaust education in New York in order to ensure that students are being taught about the Holocaust as required by existing state law. Any school districts whose Holocaust education curriculum does not meet the state’s standards will be required to provide a corrective action plan.
Ryan and Rozic visited the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo in Amherst to highlight the importance of passing the legislation.
Ryan’s team said, “A 2020 study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany documented a concerning lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among New Yorkers ages 18-39. The study found that 58% of New Yorkers in that age group were unable to name a concentration camp, and 28% believed the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated. In addition, 60% did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Even more concerning, New York led all states with 19% of respondents who believed Jews caused the Holocaust.”
Ryan said, “A 2020 study of Holocaust knowledge painted a disturbing picture of New Yorkers’ understanding of Jewish history. Then, last year, our state saw a sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes. It is easy to see how these facts are connected – ignorance is the root of bigotry. We need to ensure that our existing Holocaust education standards are being met, and that each new generation of New Yorkers understands the scope of the atrocities faced by the Jewish people during that dark time.”