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A new bill has passed in Oklahoma, requiring Holocaust education for students in grades 6-12. SB 1671 will go into effect at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
The bill was authored by Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, along with Senator Joanna Dossett D-Tulsa. State representatives John Waldron D-Tulsa and Carol Bush R-Tulsa also co-authored the bill.
Previously, Oklahoma schools did not require Holocaust education for students, although teachers had the discretion to teach about the mass genocide.
The goals of SB 1671 include the following:
- Generate an understanding of the causes, course, and
effects of the Holocaust;
- Develop dialogue with students on the ramifications of
bullying, bigotry, stereotyping, and discrimination; and
- Encourage tolerance of diversity and reverence for human
dignity for all citizens in a pluralistic society.
Some are surprised that SB 1671 passed, given Oklahoma Governor Stitt’s resistance to Oklahoma teachers covering factual history. Last year the governor signed SB 1775, a bill that prohibits teachers from using Critical Race Theory to address America’s past.
According to Representative Bush, “The curriculum will be in accordance with the Oklahoma academic standards. This bill is the result of a collaboration among the Jewish Federations of Oklahoma and the State Department of Education. It is a bipartisan, bicameral effort.”
The Jewish Federation of Oklahoma City is thrilled with the bill’s passage. The organization “is the central address for community-wide needs – an umbrella organization sponsoring a wide variety of educational, cultural, and community outreach programs and services as well as serving as an important safety net for individuals and families in need.”
Not every state requires Holocaust education in school. In fact, only 20 states maintain Holocaust education as a requirement for history or social studies classes.
During World War 2, over 6 million European Jews were slaughtered by Nazis, under the guidance of Adolf Hitler. Additionally, many other people who were considered “undesirables” were also killed.