A task force appointed by Florida’s Commissioner of Education has called for major changes in the adoption of K-12 Holocaust Education Standards, just months after the Principal of a public high school in Boca Raton was fired for telling a parent that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” and antisemitism is on the rise in Florida.
The group of academics, teachers, and parents found that many Floridian students’ first interaction with Jews was through the prism of the Nazi’s Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Then when taught about the Shoah, it was too often bundled with other atrocities and used as a general tool to teach about the woes of intolerance.
The task force, which is led by Dr. Laurie Cardoza-Moore has called for immediate amendments to the standards stating that “bad Holocaust education will fuel the Jew-Hatred of tomorrow.” They provided a thorough analysis of the standards and advocated changes that focused on two key themes: the uniqueness of the Holocaust and the importance of acclimating students with living Jews to contextualize the Nazi atrocities.
Dr. Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, who heads the task force explained: “Students’ first interaction with Jews or Jewish culture should not be in grade 6 when they first learn about the Final Solution. If students in K-5 are taught about Jewish culture, traditions and the impact that the Jewish people have had on our shared history, they will be better served to understand the magnitude of the Shoah. In addition, by demonstrating the unique nature of the Nazi’s war against the Jews, students will be empowered to ensure that Jew-hatred is eradicated. With antisemitism and Holocaust Revisionism on the rise across America, we must understand that good Holocaust education will ensure that Never Again becomes reality, while bad Holocaust education will fuel the Jew-Hatred of tomorrow.”
She continued: “Sadly we have received much pushback from organizations that seek to universalize the memory of the Holocaust. The systematic annihilation of the Six Million Jews at the hands of the Nazis cannot become a convenient tool to teach about racism and xenophobia. Standards that focus on Jews as a hated relic of the past is a recipe to fuel the Jew-Hatred of the future.”
In addition to Dr. Cardoza-Moore, key Holocaust scholars on the task force include Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, PJTN’s Senior Academic Fellow and global expert on the Holocaust and Antisemitism, as well as Dr. David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies; Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies; University of Texas at Dallas and Emanuel Rund, International Holocaust Scholar; American; Israeli and German Producer of 30 films about the Holocaust and the Initiator of the Annual January 27th International Holocaust Day.
The K-12 Florida Holocaust Standards are currently under consideration by Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran with a final decision expected in June.
Dr. Cardoza-Moore penned an Op-Ed on the subject which appears in the Miami Herald.