In 1994 the legislature voted unanimously in favor of an act requiring education on the Holocaust and genocide in elementary and secondary education and it was subsequently signed into law by Governor Whitman. The law indicates that issues of bias, prejudice and bigotry, including bullying through the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide, shall be included for all children from K-12th grade. Because this is a law and in statute, any changes in standards would not impact the requirement of education on this topic in all New Jersey public schools.
The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, recognizing the importance of ongoing discussion, debate and reexamination of its purposes, programs and activities, reaffirms the significance of Holocaust and genocide studies as an integral aspect of public education in the state of New Jersey, utilizing content drawn from a broad range of academic disciplines, interdisciplinary fields of study and the state standards. To that end, the Commission adopts the following as a foundation for its ongoing work.
Study of the Holocaust and genocides in the public schools of the State of New Jersey is designed to:
- Contribute to student attainment of the goals of general education based upon the academic standards established by the N.J. State Board of Education
- Improve understanding of the significance of the Holocaust as a unique historical tragedy of the 20th century, and as one of a series of genocides that challenge humankind’s commitment to tolerance, peace and the preservation of human life
- Provide opportunities for the analysis of patterns of human behavior by perpetrators, bystanders, victims of genocidal acts, individuals and groups who resisted, and others who acted to support and rescue members of targeted victim groups
- Stimulate reflection on the fragility of democratic institutions and the roles and responsibilities of citizens in democratic societies to combat prejudice, hate, intolerance and discrimination
- Develop recognition and respect for cultural diversity, as well as for the protection of international human rights for all members of society
- Preserve and examine the legacy of the Holocaust and genocides as a form of public remembrance in an effort to combat efforts to deny historical truths and to honor the memory of survivors and their cultural legacies
New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education
The core mission of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education is to promote Holocaust education in the State of New Jersey. On a continual basis, the Commission shall survey the status of Holocaust Education; design, encourage and promote the implementation of Holocaust and genocide education and awareness; provide programs in New Jersey; and coordinate designated events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state. The Commission will provide assistance and advice to the public and private schools and will meet with county and local school officials, and other interested public and private organizations, to assist with planning courses of study on the Holocaust.