Currently in the Connecticut State Senate, Senate Bill 452, calling for Holocaust and world genocides to be included in the Social Studies curricula in Connecticut’s schools, is being readied for a vote. We must assure the powerful lessons of the Holocaust and world genocides are not lost as survivors of these conflagrations pass away. “Never again” has not yet been realized. In the world today there exist five active genocides.
As an educator for more than 18 years in Connecticut schools, teaching in many diverse schools, my colleagues and I used the priceless lessons of Holocaust and genocides; not the norm in Connecticut as there exist schools that do not cover the Holocaust and genocides. The attempt to eradicate human identity is a compounding lesson that our children must understand. Connecticut students need these intellectual tools as global citizens and protectors of future generations.
Senate Bill 452 is not an unfunded mandate. In Connecticut, universities, centers and private nonprofits are prepared to financially support the successful implementation of this bill through training, materials and Holocaust/genocide survivor lecturers.
Senate Bill 452 must be passed by the State Legislature. Contact your legislator.
Dr. Joseph A. Olzacki
Dr. Joseph A. Olzacki is director of the Rwandan Teacher Education Program, a partnership between the University of Hartford and the Republic of Rwanda, Ministry of Education. He was named a 2010 “Mover and Shaker” by the Connecticut Jewish Ledger for his contributions and creation, with Rabbi Phillip Lazowski, of the IDENTITY Project, a program that taught “at-risk” students in Bloomfield the importance of their identity through lessons of the Holocaust and world genocide.