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Citing the rise in anti-Semitism worldwide, New Jersey lawmakers want to ensure that public school children are properly educated on the Holocaust and genocides.

The Senate Education Committee today cleared S3145 which directs the Commissioner of Education to develop and distribute, within 60 days of the bill’s effective date, a survey regarding instruction on the Holocaust and genocides to the public schools of the State.

The survey will focus on how each school district is meeting the requirements of existing State law which requires every board of education to include instruction on the Holocaust and genocides in an appropriate place in the curriculum of all elementary and secondary school students.

The survey will be required to include questions, for all grade levels, on: curriculum content; learning goals; instructional strategies and activities; texts and resources; and assessments.

The bill directs the commissioner to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature within 180 days of the bill’s effective date. The report will include findings of the survey and, if needed, recommendations to strengthen the instructional requirement.

The bill also requires the superintendent of each school district, or a designee, to:

     (1)  complete the survey within 30 days of its receipt; and

     (2)  submit, with the survey response, an attestation affirming that the school district is meeting the instruction requirement on the Holocaust and genocides.

The bill further provides that the commissioner may require the completion of a corrective action plan by:

     (1)  any school district identified from the survey as not meeting the instruction requirement on the Holocaust and genocides; or

     (2)  any school district that fails to submit an attestation.  

Under the bill, the corrective action plan will be submitted for approval by the commissioner in such manner and form prescribed by the commissioner.

The bill is sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, and co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Diegnan, Robert Singer and Andrew Zwicker.

The Senate Education Committee cleared the bill unanimously. Prior to the vote, numerous teachers unions and Jewish Federation groups indicated their support for the bill.

The bill now awaits further consideration from the Senate President.

A sister bill, A4720, is sponsored in the Assembly by Assembly Members Robert J. Karabinchak, Gary Schaer, and Lisa Swain. The bill was introduced on October 11th, and it awaits consideration from the Assembly Education Committee.

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