New Holocaust and genocide education grant program introduced

Senator Jen Day introduces LB 679
A new Holocaust education grant program was introduced by Senator Jen Day to help support educators financially in their teachings of the Holocaust.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 6:25 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Omaha Senator Jen Day introduced LB679 to the Education Committee on Monday, March 6.

The bill would could give Nebraska teachers the financial help to effectively teach Holocaust and Genocide education.

If passed, the State Department of Education would be required to establish and administer a program that provides grants to school districts and Educational Service Units (ESU).

The money from these grants could be used for a multitude of things such as training, workshops, or inviting speakers out to schools to integrate holocaust and genocide education into their social studies curriculums.

Megan Helberg, named 2020 Teacher of the Year, testified on behalf of the Nebraska State Education Association.

Helberg said she knew she wanted to teach this subject to her students in rural Nebraska but didn’t know where to start 13 years ago.

She found the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Memorial in Washington, D.C. to help her with resources, training and mentors.

“I’m so passionate about learning and teaching the Holocaust that I traveled around the world to various Holocaust and genocide sites,” she said. “I brought back what I could for my students and community. However going to Washington DC every year or traveling abroad to Holocaust sites is not an option for most educators, nor should it be the only source of help.”

Helberg said Nebraska can do better to support its educators.

This bill would appropriate $2 million to the program for the fiscal years 2023-24 to 2024-25.

LB 679 is a supplement to a previous Holocaust Education bill, LB888, that was passed last year.

Sen. Day says this funding is needed in order to support it.

Helberg echoed that sentiment by adding this.

“We all know that the Holocaust is a sensitive matter and needs to be approached with factual knowledge and quality resources that are readily available to educators,” Helberg said. “Teachers must have a strong foundation when teaching the Holocaust otherwise we simply giving lip service with no credible action.”

No immediate action was taken on the bill and no one testified in opposition to the bill.