On April 17, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (A-4720) requiring the commissioner of education, in conjunction with the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, to craft and distribute a survey for public schools relating to educational instruction on the Holocaust and genocide. The survey will measure how each school district is meeting the state’s current requirement that every board of education include instruction on the Holocaust and genocide in an appropriate place in the curriculum of all elementary and secondary school students.
The signing of the legislation, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, underscores the governor’s commitment to combating antisemitism while ensuring the promise of ‘never again’ is instilled in future generations.
“By taking this action today, we are honoring the memory of the six million Jews and the millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust,” Murphy said. “As we witness truth being stripped from education systems in other states and antisemitism on the rise across the country, our responsibility to future generations must be to lead by example and defend the promise with which our nation was founded – equality and freedom for all. This law guarantees that our children will be prepared with the knowledge and understanding necessary to learn from the mistakes of history and build a world that is stronger and more united than ever before.”
The bill requires that the commissioner of education, within 60 days, develop the survey that will focus on how each district is meeting instruction requirements. The survey will be comprised of questions for all grade levels and will inquire about curriculum content, learning goals, instructional strategies and other factors.
“As each generation is born, time distances us from the events of the Holocaust and fewer survivors are able to share their personal accounts. This leaves our society exposed to the risk of a lack of awareness of genocide events,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, acting commissioner of education. “Governor Murphy’s signing of this legislation, in conjunction with the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, is integral to ensuring that elementary and secondary students will receive the educational insights they need to garner a deep understanding of the Holocaust as we educate to prevent future genocide events.”
Primary sponsors of the bill include Senators Linda Greenstein and Vin Gopal and Assemblymembers Gary Schaer, Lisa Swain, and Robert Karabinchak.
Within 180 days of this act going into effect, the commissioner must provide a detailed report of the survey’s findings to the governor and the Legislature, including any recommendations for improvement. This survey will ensure that curriculum standards and expectations are being met across New Jersey, and serves as an opportunity to swiftly highlight concerns and take corrective action.
Learn more in the full news release.