Protests of proposals to de-emphasize the Holocaust in Georgia’s public school curriculum succeeded in changing those plans, only for the process to be postponed because of an apparently unrelated political dispute.
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust reacted positively to the final draft of the proposed Georgia Standards of Excellence for Social Studies, issued Tuesday, March 22, eight days after the public comment period ended.
In response to public feedback and the commission’s suggestions, the state Education Department made changes that, “for the most part, will provide the content, context and rigor necessary for successful teaching and learning” about the Holocaust, the commission said. It cited the restoration of Holocaust elements in the fifth-grade curriculum and the clarification of sixth-grade standards.
The final draft also largely follows the commission’s recommendations for the high school world history standards.
The draft does not restore the impact of the Holocaust on Georgia to the eighth-grade curriculum because teachers said they have far too much to teach that year. But the proposal offers the option of teaching the Holocaust with the help of the commission’s suggested standard.
All of the changes are on hold until at least May, however, after the State Board of Education decided Thursday, March 31, to send the standards back to a review committee and the Education Department.
Teachers had complained about last-minute changes to the proposal that seemed to reflect political interference, such as a new description of the U.S. government and the addition of Christmas to the national holidays studied in kindergarten. The Holocaust standards don’t appear to be an issue.