December 2, 2021
By Mr. Roy of Franklin, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 692) of Jeffrey N. Roy and others relative to requiring instruction on the Holocaust and genocide in public schools. Education.
SECTION 1. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 2. (a) To achieve and promote the teaching of human rights issues in all districts, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, including but not limited to the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine known as Holodomor, the Pontian Greek Genocide, the forcible transport of Africans to the Americas in the slave trade in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, the violence committed against indigenous people in the Americas, and more recent atrocities in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan, there shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Genocide Education Trust Fund for the purpose of educating middle and high school students on the history of genocide. The fund shall be administered by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The fund shall be credited with: (i) revenue from appropriations or other money authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited to the fund; (ii) interest earned on such revenues; (iii) funds from public and private sources such as gifts, grants and donations to further genocide education, (iv) fines paid to the General Fund for a hate crime or civil rights violation pursuant to sections 37 and 39 of chapter 265. Amounts credited to the fund shall not be subject to further appropriation, and any money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund. Amounts credited to the fund shall not be subject to further appropriation and any money remaining in the fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund.
(b) Amounts credited to the fund may be expended, without further appropriation, by the commissioner for purposes related to the instruction of middle and high school students on the history of genocide, including but not limited to: (i) the development of curricular materials detailing the underlying causes, international reaction, progression, and aftermath of genocide; and (ii) professional development training, including the provision of trainings, seminars, conferences, and materials for educators to use in the teaching of genocide. Instruction shall be performed in a manner consistent with the history and social science standards developed pursuant to section 1D of chapter 69 and the curriculum frameworks adopted by the board of elementary and secondary education pursuant to section 1E of chapter 69. In expending amounts credited to the fund, the commissioner may prioritize underserved communities across the commonwealth, including those school districts with high concentrations of economically disadvantaged students; (ii) communities that have experienced multiple racial, ethnic, or religious bias-motivated incidents; and (iii) schools that are implementing a genocide education program compliant with the standards set by the department of elementary and secondary education for the first time.
(c) Amounts received from private sources shall be approved by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and subject to review before being deposited in the fund to ensure that pledged funds are not accompanied by conditions, explicit or implicit, on the implementation of genocide education programming that may be detrimental to the neutral and rigorous teaching of the history of genocide or unduly influence the direction of genocide education policy. The review shall be made publicly available.
(d) Annually, not later than October 1, the commissioner shall report to the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the fund's activity. The report shall include, but not be limited to: (i) the source and amount of funds received; (ii) the amounts distributed and the purpose of expenditures from the fund; (iii) any grants provided to institutions of higher education and other stakeholder organizations; and (iv) anticipated revenue and expenditure projections for the next year.
(e) There shall be a competitive grant program developed and administered by the department of elementary and secondary education for all public schools and school districts. The department may expend funds from the Genocide Education Trust Fund for this grant program. All grant applications shall be for projects consistent with the history and social science standards developed pursuant to section 1D of chapter 69 and the curriculum frameworks adopted by the board of elementary and secondary education pursuant to section 1E of chapter 69. The department may establish additional requirements for applications to this grant program.
In approving grant applications, the department may give preference to applications that include: (A) input from relevant community stakeholders, including but not limited to, local officials, municipal human rights commissions, and community-based organizations; and (B) plans to partner with community-based organizations or otherwise engage with the applicant’s local community. For purposes of this section, “community-based organization” shall mean a public or private non-profit organization that is representative of a community or significant segments of a community and provides educational or related services to individuals in the community.
The department may provide funds and other resources to districts as needed to ensure that every public school and school district has the opportunity to apply for grants.
SECTION 2. Section 1I of chapter 69 of the general laws is hereby amended by striking lines 205 and 206 and inserting in place thereof the following:-
“(k) global education;
(l) nutrition and wellness programs; and
(m) genocide education programs.”
SECTION 3. Said section 1I is hereby further amended by adding, after line 206, the following new paragraph:-
The department shall report annually to the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the joint committee on education, and the committees on ways and means on each school district’s genocide education programs. The report shall include: (i) the number of schools that have implemented a new genocide education program using funds from the Genocide Education Trust Fund; (ii) the number of schools that have used the Fund to enhance or maintain current programming; (iii) the number of schools that applied for, but were not granted, funding; and (iv) the number of schools that have not applied for funding and have no genocide education program in place. The report shall be publicly available.