As a result of the legislation requiring instruction on the Holocaust, then Commissioner of Education Doug Jamerson appointed a special Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education. The Task Force continues to pursue efforts to help teachers, school administrators, and other educators identify effective instructional strategies and materials for integrating the Holocaust into K-12 classrooms.
The mandate identifies both rationales and strategies for achieving Holocaust literacy. By focusing on key elements, the Task Force has created specific recommendations for the scope, content, and outcomes for Holocaust education in Florida schools.
The Holocaust is to be taught across the curriculum from preparatory lessons in the primary and intermediate grades, through exploratory studies in the intermediate and middle school grades, and synthesizing projects by the conclusion of the senior high school experience. Holocaust content is to be infused in ways that are age-appropriate, interdisciplinary, and consistent with other required instruction.
The Holocaust is to be taught as a uniquely important event in modern history, emphasizing the systemic and state-sponsored violence, which distinguish it from other genocides. Florida teachers are enjoined to teach about the gradual unfolding and escalation of the Holocaust (“the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping”), with special attention paid to both the apathy and the altruism of the world community (“what it means to be a responsible and respectful person”). Finally, the Holocaust is to be taught in ways that encourage a pluralistic perspective and democratic practices.
Ultimately, the establishment of Holocaust studies in Florida schools is expected to play a significant role in the development of tolerant attitudes, cooperative and collaborative behaviors, informed, involved and compassionate citizens, and other skills encouraging civility.