Colorado state Democrats working on bill to make Holocaust, genocide education mandatory

Colorado state Democrats working on bill to make Holocaust, genocide education mandatory
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Colorado state lawmakers are trying to get legislation passed in 2020 to make Holocaust and genocide education mandatory at certain levels in public schools.

“It is time for us to make certain that our students understand genocide, like what happened in the Holocaust, in Armenia, to Native Americans,” state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) told The Denver Post for a story published Friday.

Michaelson Jenet has cousins who were Holocaust survivors and previously was the director of the Holocaust Awareness Institute at the University of Denver.

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While Colorado school districts are in charge of their own curriculum, the Colorado Department of Education can issue standards as a form of guidance, the newspaper noted.

The Democratic lawmaker said that her bill with state Rep. Emily Sirota (D) “would require public schools to include holocaust and genocide education at age-appropriate levels."

Currently, the standards for social studies say that Colorado high school graduates should be able to “evaluate continuity and change over the course of world history,” and “investigate causes and effects of significant events throughout world history.” Both the Holocaust and genocides are mentioned in the standards, according to the paper.

But Sirota argued that the proposal was necessary to emphasize the importance of learning about the world events, saying that many students "do not have an accurate understanding" of the Holocaust.

"Many of them can’t say what was Auschwitz,” she told the Post. “If we do not educate future generations to what happened in history, you know the saying: We are doomed to repeat it.”

Michaelson Jenet told the newspaper that she expects “very wide, bipartisan support” when she introduces the bill in 2020.