Require Genocide Education in Public Schools

Target: Pennsylvania House Education Committee Chair Paul Clymer

Goal: Support mandating education about the Holocaust in Pennsylvania public schools

Currently, five states in the US require their schools to teach about the Holocaust. Pennsylvania’s legislature has been debating the issue, with the Senate approving a bill that would require Holocaust education and the State House proposing that it be recommended. As it stands, the two houses are at an impasse, but they should require education about the Holocaust

Interestingly, all parties agree that Holocaust education is important to democracy and the future. As one advocate said, Holocaust education reminds us to “keep looking at people as people.”

However, some worry that this requirement will open the door to teaching controversial topics like creationism. This argument is fallacious. Whereas teaching about the Holocaust opens the door to teaching important history lessons that the vast majority agree actually happened and are important to teach, creationism is a controversial theory about something that has no scientific proof to support it. In addition, creationism has no place in public schools due to the constitutional separation of church and state. Each case should be taken on its individual merits, and Holocaust education has a practically universally agreed merit whereas creationism does not.

Still, others worry that there is simply not the funding or the training available for teachers to teach about the Holocaust effectively. If so, the government can place a waiting period on the education implementation while that is prepared.

Holocaust education is crucial for a healthy, empathetic understanding of human beings and human rights. Sign this petition to encourage the Pennsylvania legislature to require Holocaust education.


Dear Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer,

The Pennsylvania House has a historic opportunity to become the sixth state to require Holocaust education in public schools. Understanding the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust is important because it helps children understand human rights and develop empathy towards their fellow human beings. Moreover, as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Some are concerned that requiring Holocaust education will open the door to creationism being taught. However, that is a fallacious argument. Let each case be decided on its merits and it should be clear that Holocaust education should be required, while creationism should not be.

In addition, if lack of funding or training concern House representatives, delaying implementation of the law may be necessary. Yet, despite this, Holocaust education should be required so that those who are trained begin teaching immediately.

I urge you to support requiring Holocaust education in Pennsylvania schools.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: zenobia_joy via Wikimedia Commons

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138 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • James Thrailkill
  • Mal Gaff
  • Alexander Dolowitz
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