Kara Driscoll, Holocaust & Humanity Center, (513) 638-0508, [email protected]
The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) exists to ensure that lessons of the Holocaust inspire action today. HHC’s dynamic public programs and education initiatives impact more than 200,000 students, educators, and the community at large, each year. Ohio House Bills 322 and 327, which would restrict the teaching of certain concepts and topics in K-16 classrooms, could have unintended consequences that would negatively impact Holocaust education in the State of Ohio. With hate crimes in the United States soaring to record highs, it is imperative that teachers are encouraged to devote instructional time to teaching the Holocaust, a seminal event in human history, freely. HHC is opposed to these bills for the following reasons:
- Stipulations that prohibit the teaching of topics dealing with race, sex, slavery and bias could potentially discourage educators from providing necessary historical context and discussing the practices and ideologies that contributed to the Holocaust, such as stereotyping and antisemitism.
- HB 322 and HB 327 challenge fundamental aspects of social studies education, hindering the efforts of teaching critical thinking and democratic values.
- The value of learning about issues and relevant topics from multiple perspectives could be severely compromised and even eliminated, having a disproportionate and undue impact on marginalized groups.
- It is unclear who gets to determine what events are “divisive” and whether a teacher’s delivery is objective and impartial. Because of the punitive nature of HB327, HHC is concerned that an educator may view topics surrounding the Holocaust as potentially “divisive” and thus not worth the risk to teach.
- Funding stipulations in both bills could threaten existing partnerships between HHC and area school districts. HHC offers subsidies to school districts, representing approximately 22,000 students across the region annually, to cover the admission, bussing and tour costs associated with bringing students to the museum. Under HB 322 and 327, these funding opportunities would prevent students from participating in HHC programs.
- Studies have shown that students who receive high quality Holocaust education exhibit higher critical thinking skills and a greater sense of social responsibility and civic efficacy. The bills would impede these learning outcomes, negatively impacting students and teachers across the state.
At HHC, we value the lessons the Holocaust and history have taught us about the value of humanity, dignity, and respect for one another. Legislation which threatens these aims is dangerous for the future of our children and our state. We ask that members of the House State and Local Government Committee oppose HB 322 and HB 327.
The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center was formed by a passionate group of Holocaust survivors and their families, and opened its doors in 2000. In 2019, HHC relocated to the prominent Cincinnati landmark, Union Terminal. This unique partnership is the first of its kind in the United States, putting Cincinnati on the map for bringing the lessons of the Holocaust into the civic conversation. HHC welcomes state legislators to tour the museum, either in person or virtually.
In addition to the museum, HHC offers a variety of programs and resources including:
- Holocaust Awareness Programs
- Humanity Programs & the Cincy Upstander Project
- Coppel Speakers Bureau
- Digital Programming and Virtual Tours
- Haile Foundation Traveling Exhibits
- Professional Development
- Customizable Experiences and Presentations
- Roma & Sam Kaltman Holocaust Studies for Educators
- Jacob G. Schmidlapp Bystander to Upstander Youth Leadership Day
- Caller Resource Center
- Echoing Voices
ABOUT THE NANCY & DAVID WOLF HOLOCAUST & HUMANITY CENTER
The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center exists to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust inspire action today. Located at Cincinnati’s historic Union Terminal, HHC educates more than 200,000 community members through its educational initiatives, innovative digital and in-person programs, virtual tours and partnerships. For more information, visit www.holocaustandhumanity.org.