By Daniel Stefanski |
A key reporting deadline for Arizona schools is being extended.
Earlier this week, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced “an extension of the deadline to February 23 for schools to report their compliance with the current law that requires Holocaust education in public schools.”
The law “requires students to receive instruction in the Holocaust and other genocides at least once in middle school and once in high school.”
In a statement to accompany the announcement, Horne said, “Since we first requested that schools attest to their compliance with the state mandate for Holocaust education for middle and high school students, we have received many responses, but not all districts and charters have replied. Arizona law is clear that this is a requirement for middle and high school students. As Superintendent, I have the legal authority to make sure that laws pertaining to education in Arizona are being followed. Therefore, my enforcement action will be that for the online ADE School Report Card we will indicate in red letters any school’s failure to respond to the Holocaust education verification by February 23.”
Not only is Horne extending the deadline for schools to report compliance with the law, but he is hoping state legislators and the governor are able to strengthen the statute for future students. His press release noted that two lawmakers – Representatives David Marshall and Alma Hernandez – have embarked on a bipartisan mission to pass a bill that would “require students in grades 7-12 to twice complete a three-day program on the Holocaust and other genocides.”
Horne also addressed this development in his release, saying, “After the horrific events of October 7, there was a one-sided pro-Hamas presentation at Desert Mountain High School that produced antisemitism among students and made Jewish students uncomfortable and fearful. If Holocaust studies are presented, students will be less gullible to antisemitic presentations and this legislation will strengthen that effort. I am grateful to Representatives Hernandez and Marshall for their bipartisan work to strengthen this law.”
The law giving the state’s schools chief authority to require the information from Arizona schools was HB 2241, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Doug Ducey in 2021. The bill was sponsored by Alma Hernandez, a Democrat. It passed both chambers with almost unanimous support. Ducey, in his letter to then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, informed her that he was signing the legislation to “ensure that we continue to teach our students the history of past atrocities, which in return will instill greater compassion, critical thinking, societal awareness, and educational growth in our students.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.