Jan 27, 2023 - Politics

Arkansas' Holocaust education mandate

States with legislation requiring Holocaust and genocide education
Data: National Conference of State Legislatures; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Arkansas is among 18 states that require public schools to teach students about the Holocaust, according to an Axios analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Driving the news: It's International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Why it matters: Surveys show Americans — especially millennials and Gen Z-ers — don't know basic facts about the Holocaust. Meanwhile, racist and antisemitic social media posts have been on the rise alongside a jump in antisemitic violence across the U.S., Axios' Russell Contreras writes.

  • And many Holocaust survivors who have spoken at schools nationwide as part of education programs are dying of old age, depriving educators of a key resource to teach young people about the event.

Flashback: Then-Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Act 611 into law in 2021, requiring educators to include Holocaust history in their curricula beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

The latest: Two bills related to Holocaust education have been filed by Arkansas legislators this session:

Go deeper: Arkansas PBS has published seven video conversations with people in the state to complement the documentary "The U.S. and the Holocaust" by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein.

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