According to the recent legislation that amends Michigan public school’s s social studies curriculum, it is now mandatory for schools to teach students about genocide. Governor Rick Snyder signed a new law which incorporates Holocaust and Armenian genocide into the curriculum. Age and grade appropriate lessons that would involve six hours instruction will be taught for students in grades 8 to 12. Snyder added that his signing of HB4493 should not be misunderstood to mean that elected officials of the state are the best guides to consider which topics are to be added to classroom curriculum. He also added that this does not restrict the study to Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide alone.
State lawmakers broke for their summer recess last Tuesday after Snyder signed 11 bills into laws. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto and he shared his view that it is important for students to study tragedies such as the ones inflicted upon Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks and the genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has set some guidelines to teach about the Holocaust. They state that instruction on this part of history requires high levels of sensitivity and understanding of the intricacies. They also suggest that teachers avoid simple answers to complex questions and stay away from “comparisons of pain.”
The museum officials inform teachers to translate the statistics into people, that are part of the narrative of this horrific time. They also encourage instructors to do a balanced instruction as they influence how students perceive tragedies such as the Holocaust. The museum officials insist that teaching this should include positive actions that nations or individuals have taken in the face of genocide.
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