ALBANY — A controversial bill that may survey how nicely public colleges are teaching concerning the horrors of the Holocaust cleared a key Assembly committee Tuesday, after sparking debate amongst Democrats and Republicans final week amid a rise in anti-Semitism throughout the nation.
The measure simply handed the Ways and Means Committee however was met with a singular “no” vote from Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-The Bronx) who tried to “hold” — or stall — the invoice throughout a heated Assembly Education Committee assembly held final Monday.
Benedetto — who chairs the panel — argued the laws would place an “unfunded mandate” on an already overburdened state Education Department and “take a lot of time” to manage the audit.
But he was overruled by an alliance of Democrats and Republicans to maneuver the invoice out of committee — a uncommon defiance of management by rank and file members in Albany.
“I was a ‘no’ vote today for the same reason that I was a ‘no’ vote and wanted to hold that bill last week. The teachers of New York State are doing their job and we don’t need to burden the commissioner of the Education Department and drain money or manpower away,” he informed The Post.
“I talked to the education commissioner and yes she more or less informed me that this would be a bill that would be kind of redundant.”
“To request to conduct a study of something that is already being done, that is overseen by various superintendents and various principals is something that she did not want to do,” he added of his dialog with SED Commissioner Betty Rosa.
The SED mentioned whereas they don’t touch upon pending laws, training for Okay via 12 college students consists of instruction on the “human atrocities and mass murder during the Holocaust,” marginalizaton of Jews in European society through the reformation interval and the Nuremberg Trials.
But invoice sponsor Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) mentioned though state-run colleges are already mandated to show Holocaust research, the necessity to assess curriculum is essential amid an increase of anti-Semitic vandalism and threats of violence in opposition to Jewish New Yorkers.
The laws would require the state Education Commissioner to conduct a research of New York’s over 700 faculty districts and submit a report assessing the effectiveness of Holocaust teachings.
“Reviewing whether or not schools actually teach about the Holocuast shouldn’t be controversial. A majority of New Yorkers ages 18 to 39 do not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust — we’re clearly not making the grade when it comes to Holocaust education,” she mentioned.
“We think the bill should pass and we are baffled by the roadblocks,” mentioned Alexander Rosemberg, deputy regional director of Anti-Defamation League of New York and New Jersey.
“The generations that actually lived through the Holocaust are dying off and we think it is very important, as common standard practice, to know how effective teaching methods are.”
The ADL conducted a 2019 audit of anti-Semitic acts in colleges grads Okay via 12 — the final full faculty yr earlier than the pandemic — which discovered 37 out of 43 incidents contained swastikas.
“The Holocaust needs to be taught and understand in our history. It deserves the attention that it needs, it’s already part of the curriculum but we want to make sure our tax dollars are being spent in an effective way.”
Last week’s Assembly Education Committee assembly drew ire from Republican committee ranker Assemblyman Doug Smith (R-Brookhaven/Islip) who informed the Post he believes opposition additionally stems from worry that the invoice would spark debate on the chamber flooring between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine lawmakers.
“I am deeply concerned that Democratic leadership actually directed this bill to be killed in the fear that should this bill come to a vote, a small group of self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist members would espouse anti-Israel and anti-Semitic commentary on the floor of the New York State Assembly as they have done frequently within their districts,” he mentioned.
The invoice nonetheless has to move the Assembly Rules Committee earlier than transferring to the ground for a closing vote.
A consultant from state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Nassau)’s workplace — who carries the invoice in the higher chamber — mentioned they’re additionally working to move the invoice on the ground earlier than session’s finish.
The legislative session ends on June 10.