The NC Holocaust Education Act

North Carolina’s Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act was passed in November 2021. With the passing of this Act, the North Carolina General Assembly asserted that “Knowledge of the Holocaust is essential to provide students with the fundamental understanding of geography, history, and political systems necessary to make informed choices on issues that affect individuals, communities, states, and nations.”1 The Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act is a manifestation of their commitment to this assertion.  This North Carolina law is based on the intent articulated in the federal Never Again Education Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2020.  The Never Again Education Act encourages the development and dissemination of accurate, relevant, and accessible resources to promote understanding about how and why the Holocaust happened, along with the development, dissemination, and implementation of principles of sound pedagogy and best practices for educators for teaching about the Holocaust. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is legislatively responsible for overseeing the implementation of the provisions of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act.  In carrying out this responsibility NCDPI has collaborated with the N.C. Council on the Holocaust, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, NCCAT, local universities, and other Holocaust education experts to curate and develop curriculum resources for both social studies and ELA that support the teaching of the Holocaust and other genocides.

      1 General Assembly of North Carolina. Session Law 2021-180 Senate Bill 105 (2021). 

 

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed January 27th.  

 

Holocaust Legislation

Frequently Asked Questions About NC's Holocaust Legislation

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is legislatively responsible for overseeing the implementation of the provisions of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act.

For information relating to the implementation of the GAHEA, it is recommended that you reach out directly to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The NCDPI consultants working to implement the GAHEA are always accessible and will respond in a timely manner to address your questions and provide you with the most current and accurate information. Please contact: Michelle McLaughlin (michelle.mclaughlin@dpi.nc.gov) or Lori Major Carlin (lori.carlin@dpi.nc.gov ).

The state education agency does NOT develop curriculum. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction IS developing curriculum support materials that can be used to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides. 

NCDPI is following the provisions of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Act (GAHEA): 

  1. NCDPI has reviewed the middle school and high school standard course of study to identify instructional resources that can be curated and aligned to the standards of existing courses in grades 6-12.  This will allow teachers and curriculum leaders to know where, in each course identified, Holocaust studies will align with existing standards in the state standard course of study.  
  2. NCDPI is developing and collaborating with organizations to develop curriculum support materials. NCDPI is responsible to ensure that the state agency can provide curriculum content for those who want to teach about the Holocaust in North Carolina classrooms.
  3. NCDPI is developing and collaborating with organizations to ensure that professional development opportunities on Holocaust education will be provided to educators by the state agency. 
  4. NCDPI is developing a framework for a state-level elective course on the Holocaust. The Holocaust elective course will be broad enough to use in both high school and middle school. 

Social Studies Resources

  1. A curated list of curricula and instructional resources aligned with objectives that have been identified as the best fit for the teaching of Holocaust and genocide topics.  There will be a curated list of resources for the following: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, American History, World History, and Founding Principles of U.S. History and North Carolina: Civic Literacy
  2. A set of digital resources with accompanying wrap around instructional materials to guide the use of each resource in instructional planning and delivery.
  3. North Carolina History focused primary source sets from the N.C. State Archives. These primary source sets focus on the years 1933-1946. These sets provide content that can be used to show what North Carolinians knew and engaged in during the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
  4. North Carolina History focused newspaper articles during the years 1933-1946. The articles represent all eight NC State Board of Education regions. The articles are intended to help grade eight teachers with the teaching of Holocaust topics as they relate to the teaching of North Carolina History.
  5. A set of lesson starters and classroom activities using primary sources from the state archives and local North Carolina newspapers. These lesson starters will be provided for the following: Grade 8, American History,  and Founding Principles of U.S. History and North Carolina: Civic Literacy. 
  6. A course framework for a new state developed Holocaust elective. The framework will include the following: (SS & ELA)
    1. Teaching competencies and objectives
    2. Thematic categories for organizing teaching the history of Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust
    3. An unpacking document outlining what students should know, understand, and be able to do

ELA Resources

  1. A series of Text Sets (two per grade level) with all of the following: 
    1. Overarching unit questions
    2. Standards linked in the lessons to all documents and lessons
    3. Text Complexity evaluation for the anchor text
    4. Essential Vocabulary for teaching the anchor text
    5. Resources for teachers to prepare for teaching the Holocaust
    6. Rationale for teaching the anchor text as the focus of the text set
    7. Individual lessons aligned to one or more of the following four themes:
      1. Understanding Identity and Culture
      2. The Rise of the Nazis
      3. Life Under Nazi Occupation
      4. Liberation, Survival, Justice, and Legacy
  2. A course framework for a new state developed Holocaust elective. The framework will include the following: (SS & ELA)
    1. Teaching competencies and objectives
    2. Thematic categories for organizing teaching the history of Jews before, during, and after the Holocaust
    3. An unpacking document outlining what students should know, understand, and be able to do

Curriculum support documents and resources will be available for classroom planning and use beginning Fall 2023. The last section of Senate Bill 105 Session Law 2021-180 states that the provisions of the Gizella Abramson law will apply beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, which will be the fall of 2023.

  1. SECTION 7.84.(c) This section is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will inform stakeholders as each set of resources are released, beginning in the fall of 2023.  Public announcements will be made using the following communication vehicles: Social Studies and ELA email list servs, NCDPI Social Studies and ELA agency websites, Social Studies and ELA newsletters, CAO newsletters and updates, Superintendent’s updates, regional leaders list servs, and the Office of Charter School list servs.

Yes. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) will provide professional development opportunities.

Professional development opportunities will begin fall 2023 and continue throughout the 2023-24 and 2024-2-25 school years. Public listing of all professional development offered by the state will be listed on the Social Studies and ELA agency websites. 

The state developed Holocaust elective course will be available for schools to offer beginning with the 2024-2025 registration process.

PSUs will be able to find the state developed Holocaust elective in the 2024-2025 Course Code Master List. It will be up to the PSU to draw down the new course into their yearly draw down of courses for their districts.

Additionally, schools will need to make sure their data managers have been informed to add the Holocaust elective course code to the local list of course codes so they can pull in the new elective course into the course offerings available to students in a school.

The new state developed Holocaust elective will have a unique academic course code. Any Holocaust elective that has been offered by a PSU may continue to be offered, however, it will continue to use the generic course code that has been used to differentiate it as a locally developed course.

The new Holocaust elective is a state-developed course with a framework of state-level competencies that can be used to develop local curricula and guide instruction. The Holocaust electives that were offered prior to 2024 are locally developed courses and vary from district to district, and school to school. Like any other state developed course with a unique course code, the state Holocaust elective provides a standard to guide the planning and implementation of instruction for all who teach the course.  

Yes. The Holocaust elective is just like any other “elective” course offered by the state. If schools do not want to offer this elective they do not have to.

Schools do not have to offer or teach the new state developed course. The decision to offer the new Holocaust elective is a local decision.

The state is developing one (1) Holocaust elective course.  The Holocaust elective course will be broad enough to use in both middle and high school and in both social studies and English.

The state’s Holocaust elective will be a high school course. Like any other high school course, middle school students will be able to take the high school course. Keep in mind, middle school students do not get credit for any high school course taken in middle school. The elective course will be broad enough to use in both middle and high school.

There will be one (1) state-developed Holocaust elective course. The Holocaust elective will be a social studies course. This course may be taught by a school’s English or social studies teacher.  Those teaching this course will be required to have a N.C. teaching license in 9-12 social studies, 9-12 history, or 9-12 English in order to be classified as teaching “in-field”.  (Updated 12/23)

The state’s Holocaust elective will be titled Holocaust and Genocide Studies.  The code is course code 4803. (Added 12/23)

There are three (3) sections to the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act: 

  1. The Gizella Abramson Holocasut Education Act

SECTION 7.84.(a) – Provides the connection of the U.S. “Never Again Education Act” with the NC General Assembly’s intention for Outlines Holocaust education in NC schools 

SECTION 7.84.(b) –the provisions of the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act

SECTION 7.84.(c) – When we should begin to see the provisions of this law begin to be implemented

The legislation states the following about the development of resources/services (provisions):

  1. SECTION 7.84.(b) 

(b) The State Board of Education SHALL review the middle school and high school standard course of study and, in consultation and coordination with the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, SHALL 

  • (i) integrate into English, social studies courses, and other courses, as appropriate, education on the Holocaust and genocide and 
  • (ii) develop a curriculum for a Holocaust Studies elective that may be offered in middle schools and high schools of local school administrative units. 

(c) The Department of Public Instruction SHALL provide or cause to be provided curriculum content, and local boards of education SHALL provide or cause to be provided professional development to ensure that the intent and provisions of this section are effectively implemented. 

The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching MAYin consultation with the Department of Public Instruction and local boards of education, provide curriculum content and professional development. 

(d) The State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction SHALL review resources and programs developed pursuant to the Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116-141) in satisfying their obligations under this section. 

(e) For any standards, curriculum content, professional development, or other materials developed pursuant to this section, the following terms SHALL be utilized and defined consistent with their definitions in section 3 of the Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116-141): 

  • (1) Antisemitism. 
  • (2) Holocaust. 
  • (3) Holocaust denial and distortion."  

In plain language, (b) and (C) simply mean that NCDPI will ensure that curriculum content resources are provided for teachers to be able to access via a state delivered platform, and professional development will be designed, delivered, and made available by the state so local Boards of Education (PSUs) are able to access professional development opportunities for teachers.