Do you object to any of the new Holocaust standards? The final version of the Holocaust standards starts on page 20:
When we advocate for “experts” to draft standards for our district-run schools, how should we define “expert”?
The task force’s official position is that the Holocaust should be “taught in ways that encourage a pluralistic perspective and democratic practices.” This view is standard among Holocaust education experts.“ The Holocaust should be studied in a way that builds empathy and focuses on social action so that it doesn’t happen again,” Dobrick said. “You have to also bring into Holocaust education things like hate groups today, and hate crimes against Asian Americans, and shootings at synagogues and mosques.” Though the final draft of the standards includes, at the very end, the mandate to “recognize the significance of ‘Never Again,’” Hershfield argues that the rest of the document fails to live up to that goal. “If we truly want to educate our next generation to understand the evils of hatred, exposed during the Holocaust, we must address the universal lessons,” Hershfield wrote in a letter to FLDOE on June 11th. “Failure to do so effectively makes the last proposed standard a mere label without any meaning or substance.” … LAST OCTOBER, the expert panel appointed to write Florida’s Holocaust education standards—a group composed of scholars and Jewish communal leaders—received feedback on a draft of the standards from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) provided by the right-wing Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN). … Tensions boiled over at a February meeting between FLDOE officials and members of the expert panel and task force. Stier likened the FLDOE’s reliance on PJTN to inviting a group “championing the so-called ‘lost cause’ of the southern states” to contribute to learning standards on slavery. … The expert panel rejected PJTN’s recommendations, citing both historical inaccuracies and an inappropriately religious tenor, which, they wrote in a letter, “has no place in the public school curriculum.” … Over the course of many months, the members of both the expert panel and a state-appointed Holocaust education task force of area experts fought to minimize PJTN’s influence on the standards—but the final draft still bears evidence of the group’s political project, and its efforts to overtly falsify history to build support for Zionism. The latest standards contain scaled-down versions of the inaccuracies that the experts have protested. … PJTN’s communications director, Jackie Monaghan, explained that “Jewish interests are a big part of our game plan.” The “game plan” of Christian Zionists is well established: They support complete Jewish control over Israel/Palestine based on the theological premise that it will bring about the rapture, or the end of days. The group approaches state education standards as an opportunity to cultivate political support for Zionism toward its theological ends. … PJTN is not the only group guiding the transformation of Florida’s schools: In 2020, FLDOE also invited Hillsdale College, a conservative college in Michigan with deep ties to pro-Trump Republicans, to weigh in on civics education standards. …https://jewishcurrents.org/the-christian-zionist-group-shaping-holocaust-education-in-florida/
The League of Women Voters has a list of issues for which they advocate. I think they need to define “expert” in this bullet point:
Support a curricular framework that includes broad common standards developed by educational experts that serves as a guide to local districts.https://lwvfl.org/issues/education/
The way I understood Florida Statute 1003.42 (2)(g) is that its main purpose was to explain the Holocaust in a way to reduce prejudice against all groups. It wasn’t meant to be a history course or a course on comparative religions. Am I wrong? This is how that statute reads:
(g)1. The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), the systematic, planned annihilation of European Jews and other groups by Nazi Germany, a watershed event in the history of humanity, to be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=1000-1099/1003/Sections/1003.42.html
Some of the new standards seem to have an agenda other than trying to instill tolerance in our children. Specifically
1. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) 912.HE.1.3 is trying to tell kids that reparations led those paying the reparations into an irrational mob mentality. That seems a distortion of history. Certainly there could be a course about the pros and cons of reparations, but does it belong in a course about the Holocaust?
2. It seems to me (and I could be wrong) SS.912.HE.2.2 is trying to blame Hitler’s actions on the one Jewish kid who committed a crime. How is that helpful? It was HItler who did these things. It’s like blaming George Floyd for Trump having protesters pepper sprayed.
Please tell me if you think these are OK. These are excerpts from the standards (see link above):
Students will describe the basic beliefs of Judaism.
Students will identify examples of antisemitism related to Israel
Students will recognize German culpability, reparations and military downsizing as effects of the Treaty of Versailles
Students will explain how the Nazis used propaganda, pseudoscience and the law to transform Judaism from a religion to a race.
Students will understand the reasons for Herschel Grynszpan’s actions at the German embassy in Paris and how the assassination of Ernst vom Rath was a pretext used by the Nazis for Kristallnacht.
Admittedly my knowledge of history isn’t that great. I wasn’t interested in history in school. Maybe we do need to know the ugly as well as the good so we can know when people are distorting history. However, it doesn’t seem that the new standards are focusing on
The history of the Holocaust (1933-1945), … [should be] taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions,