In the recent article on Holocaust education in Florida, Rachel Pignato, a teacher from Palm Beach County, was quoted as saying that “Florida didn’t have much material for teachers on the Holocaust.” (“Florida makes strides in Holocaust education after new standards prioritize source material,” cjn.org)
This is far from the truth and is erroneous in every respect. As it happens, in 1994, the state of Florida passed a mandate to teach Holocaust education in grades K-12. Along with this, the Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education was formed and still to date includes educators from 10 Holocaust centers within the state. At the time, I was the director of educational outreach at the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Dania Beach, Fla. and was involved in the creation of four resource manuals which were distributed throughout Florida’s 67 counties. Since then, the task force has a myriad of Holocaust educational resources, including from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, listed on its website.
According to the task force, our state has been among the leaders in the United States in Holocaust education with more annual teacher institutes than any other state, student programming, contests and speakers bureaus, where Holocaust survivors share their experiences with students. Pignato is not a member of the Florida task force and is not representative of the important work that has been and continues to be done in Florida.
Merle Rothenberg Saferstein
North Miami Beach, Fla.