PHOENIX - Arizona's education chief wants schools across the state to prove students are being taught about the Holocaust.
The state's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, gave Arizona public school districts and charter schools two weeks to prove they are compliance with a state law that was passed by lawmakers in 2021.
The law, HB2241, required the Holocaust, as well as other historical genocides, to be taught as part of the curriculum at least once in middle school, and once in high school.
In a statement released on Jan. 9, Horne wrote:
"During the past three months we have learned all-too-well how many people are ignorant about the realities of the Holocaust and other genocides of history. We have heard about pro-Hamas and anti-American propaganda being spread in a high school student club, students being intimidated because of their ethnicity, and we have seen pro-Hamas protests on college campuses.
Expressions of hatred like this are unacceptable in an educational setting and a powerful way to combat this scourge is with learning. Students would not be vulnerable to antisemitic propaganda if they had received proper Holocaust instruction. I’m grateful state law exists to require instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides, and it is important to ensure that districts and charter schools are in compliance."
The text of the email sent to schools was also included in the statement, and it reads:
"Please report us by close of business on January 24th, 2024, what you are doing to implement ARS section 15–701.02 regarding instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides. Please indicate how much time is devoted to the subject and what you use for curriculum.
The Arizona Department of Education provides resources, training, and support for educators in meeting House Bill 2241 requiring students to receive instruction in the Holocaust and other genocides at least once in middle school and once in high school through our Arizona Holocaust and Genocide Education Resource webpage - https://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/holocaust-and-genocide.
This assistance is optional, but compliance with state statute is obligatory."