On February 27, 2023, the New Jersey Assembly unanimously passed a bill aimed at enhancing Holocaust and genocide education in the state's public schools. The bill, A4720, requires the Commissioner of Education to distribute a survey to school districts to gather information about current instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides – an important first step in the process.
Despite being mandated, Holocaust and genocide education in the state's public schools lacks uniformity and structure. Instruction on the subject varies widely and can range from a simple book assignment to an elective course or part of a World War II history unit. As a result, the bill's passage will help ensure transparency and accountability when evaluating the Holocaust and genocide education across the state.
“The Assembly’s unanimous passage of this bill is a significant milestone and sends a clear statement about the Assembly's commitment to improving Holocaust and genocide education in New Jersey, said Dan Rozett, Federation’s Manager of Community Relations & Israel Engagement. “Thank you to our partners in the Assembly for helping ensure that our students receive quality and consistent instruction.”
Federation's advocacy led to the passage of a companion bill, S3145, in the New Jersey Senate's Education and Budget and Appropriations committees over the past three months. We expect that bill to be heard on the Senate floor in the coming months. If the bill passes the Senate, it will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) continues to work with our partners in the NJ Senate, Assembly, and Commission on Holocaust Education to combat antisemitism and improve Holocaust education throughout the state.
To learn more about the JCRC's work, please visit jewishheartnj.org/jcrc.