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Wisconsin schools required to teach Holocaust under new law

Wisconsin Capitol
Wisconsin Capitol(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 2:02 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:32 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill requiring Wisconsin middle and high school social studies classes to teach the Holocaust and other genocides.

Evers signed the bipartisan bill on Wednesday. It passed the Legislature unanimously.

“This bill will affect generations of kids in our state and bring increased awareness, and recognition in our schools to the tragedies of the Holocaust, the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism to this day, and hopefully cultivate a generation that is more compassionate, more empathetic, and more inclusive,” said Gov. Evers.

Wisconsin joins 17 other states that require Holocaust education, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

An 18th state, Arkansas, has a law taking effect next year.

Under Wisconsin’s new law, public schools, charter schools and private schools in the voucher program must include instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides at least once between fifth and eighth grade and once in high school.

The state superintendent of public instruction must also weave Holocaust and genocide education into the model academic standards for social studies. The governor explained they must also create curriculum with the consultation of other states who have already developed the standards, as well as create an organization that is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and preservation of the victims.

State Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) also joined Gov. Tony Evers at the signing ceremony, emphasizing the importance of teaching about genocides and standing up for others.

“Educating future generations about the most horrific events in our history could be the one thing standing in the way of repeating this history,” said Subeck.

Subeck cited a recent poll, noting that 22% of millennials said they had never heard of the Holocaust, which is double the percentage of US adults who said the same.

NBC15 asked the governor if he thought the Armenian genocide that President Biden declared one should be included in curriculum, as well as current events that have been condemned as genocides. Gov. Evers refused to answer and referred our team to the Department of Public Instruction.

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