The Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act § 115C-81.57 was passed into law in November 2021. With the dramatic rise in antisemitism, not only around the world but also right here in North Carolina with a thirty percent increase in antisemitic incidents in 2022 alone, this legislation will help the students of North Carolina understand how the lessons of the Holocaust apply to the world of today and why we must work to combat the rise in hatred, whether it be across the street or around the world.
This legislation, named after Holocaust survivor Gizella Abramson, expects English and Social Studies teachers in grades 6-12 to begin integrating teaching about the Holocaust, topics related to histories connecting to the Holocaust, and genocide in their courses in August of 2023. It also provides for the creation of an optional elective course on the Holocaust, which will be offered beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. This act directs the Department of Public Instruction and the NC Council on the Holocaust to create a curriculum and support the teaching of the Holocaust in these grades and subjects, as well as to identify standards in both ELA and Social Studies that connect to teaching topics related to the Holocaust and other genocides.
Teams of teachers on the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, working in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and historians who are experts in the study of the Holocaust, have worked to identify and align curriculum content to the Standard Courses of Study, in Social Studies and ELA, which ensures that the intent and provisions of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act of 2021 can effectively be implemented in North Carolina public school classrooms. In Fall 2023, curriculum resources for teaching the Holocaust and topics related to the Holocaust will be available for classroom teachers to access as they begin planning for how to best integrate the teaching of the Holocaust into their curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year. These resources were also piloted in the classrooms of fifty-two teachers in each of the eight State Board of Education regions across the state. Those teachers and over 1,500 students gave their feedback on the curriculum, which was incorporated into the final draft of the curriculum.
It is the intent of the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction, in consultation and collaboration with the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, to ensure that superintendents, principals, and local boards of education have the most current and accurate information needed to be able to communicate with curriculum leaders and classroom teachers the expectations of this new Holocaust legislation and to make decisions about its implementation at the local level in accordance with North Carolina as a local control state.
Connecting with the NC Council on the Holocaust via email and social media will allow districts to stay updated on the curriculum and the resources and training that will be provided to support districts and their teachers.
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