Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Jewish advocacy groups at the Center for Jewish History to address a national rise in anti-Semitism and announce the reintroduction of her Never Again Education Act. This historic legislation is a bipartisan bill that will create a new grant program at the US Department of Education to give teachers across the United States the resources and training necessary to teach the nation’s children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of hate and intolerance. The Congress member introduced the bill last on January 31st with Congress Member Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and 23 other co-sponsors.
In the past few years, there has been a significant rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes throughout our nation and in New York City. According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have spiked roughly 60% between 2016 and 2017. NYPD figures show over 180 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, a 22% spike from 2017, and a 38.6% increase from 2016. Congress Member Maloney said, “We must be vigilant in the fight against hatred and ensure our youth understand the horrors of the Holocaust and the intolerance and bigotry that led to it, so we can fulfill the promise of ‘Never Again.’
“We are at a dangerous moment in time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world and here at home, and the memory of the Holocaust is fading for far too many Americans. We can combat this by making sure we teach our students, tomorrow’s leaders, about the horrors of the Holocaust. It is simply not enough to condemn hateful, violent attacks against the Jewish community – we need to be proactive, we need to take action. I am proud to reintroduce the Never Again Education Act, so that we can be vigilant in the fight against hatred and give teachers across the United States the resources and training they need to teach our children the important lessons of the Holocaust.”
“Over the last few years, a concerning amount of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in our country. My hope is that this bill will combat the rise of this inexcusable behavior by further educating our nation’s students on the unthinkable and innumerable atrocities of the Holocaust. As a nation, we cannot allow a return to the hateful actions that led to the Holocaust and I’m proud to do my part to change it,” said Congress Member Elise Stefanik. Currently only eight states, including New York, have laws requiring teaching about the Holocaust in schools and another 12 states recommend it.
In November a professor at Columbia University found swastikas painted in her office. Weeks later, a 9-year-old Hasidic boy was assaulted in Williamsburg and shortly after that a Hasidic man was attacked only blocks from the first attack. Earlier this month, stickers with disturbing and hateful messages were posted around Maloney’s district in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just last week, two Hasidic men were beaten and left bloodied by three men in Crown Heights.
A recent poll found that 31 percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. 41 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. 52 percent of Americans wrongly believe Hitler came to power through force.
What the bill does: • Establishes a federal fund at the Department of Education, the “Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund.” The fund is able to accept private donations in addition to appropriated funds. The fund will finance grants to public and private middle and high schools to help teachers develop and improve Holocaust education programs. • Gives funding directly to teachers to develop individualized programs that best suit their students’ needs. • (Covers) expenses including training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips. • Creates a Holocaust education website as a central hub of resources and best practices for teachers interested in Holocaust education. • Curriculum experts at the Department of Education will work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops that help teachers work within their state and local education requirements to incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms. • Creates an advisory board to help develop the competitive criteria for grants, select the content for the website, and lead fundraising efforts for the program.