The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is appalled to learn that a Carroll Independent School District Administrator advised teachers last week to offer books with an “opposing view” on the Holocaust if they have a Holocaust-related book in their classroom.
This direction was given in response to the district’s struggle to comply with a new Texas law (known as HB 3979) that requires teachers who choose to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy and social affairs to strive to explore the topic from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective. The district’s response illustrates the dangers of this new legislation – mandating that historical facts be taught alongside an opposing view.
The challenge with legislation limiting educators’ ability to teach historical fact is the question of who decides if an issue is controversial or whether contending perspectives are worthy of instruction. The Holocaust is one of the world’s most well-documented historical events. Our Holocaust Survivors are a living testament to the accuracy of the history we teach at our museum – the deliberate, cruel, and systematic murder of 6 million Jews.
Should the beliefs of Holocaust deniers be provided as “opposing views?” When students learn about slavery, should they also be forced to read accounts that deny the horrors of slavery? The answer to these questions must be a resounding “no!”
We call upon all Texans to speak out against this requirement to present “opposing views” to events and developments based in well-known historical fact. Teachers should not be pushed to present myth, opinion, or bias as equal to the historical record. Our future depends on our youth learning difficult history, so they may build a better future for us all.
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. To learn more about the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and its mission, please visit dhhrm.org.
– Mary Pat Higgins, Museum President and CEO
– Mark Zilbermann, Board Chair
Statement by Carroll ISD Superintendent
Posted to Facebook, October 14 at 8:15 PM
Dear Dragon Families:
As the Superintendent of Schools, I express my sincere apology regarding the online article and news story released today. During the conversations with teachers during last week’s meeting, the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust. As we continue to work through implementation of HB3979, we also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts. As a district we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused.