Campus: CSU Chico -- February 4, 2004
Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Offers Teacher Training
Sixty-five Elk Grove School District teachers will participate in the
first training for university credit offered this week through the State
Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human
Rights and Tolerance located at California State University, Chico.
Under the auspices of the center, professors Sam Edelman and Carol Edelman,
director and associate director of the center, with the help of experts
from around the state and in-kind support from the State Department
of Education, have trained 300 teachers since January 2003. Their task,
created by Assembly Bill 2003 (Paul Koretz) in October 2002, is to provide
California teachers with the training and knowledge to effectively teach
pupils about the Holocaust, genocide, human rights and tolerance.
The Elk Grove teacher training is the first large training for credit
that the center has organized. The goal of the center is to train California
teachers of history, social science and language arts. The curriculum
for the training supports the state’s frameworks in those subject
The curriculum materials include information on the social, geopolitical
and economic aspects of the Holocaust, as well as 20th century genocide
in Armenia, Rwanda and Cambodia. A core element of the curriculum is
survivor testimonies. Teachers are trained to use the materials to explore
questions of related moral issues.
Teachers’ response to the curriculum has been “phenomenal,”
said Sam Edelman. “They view what we are doing as important to
them. We introduce them to a vast number of resources—film, testimonies,
documents—and help them teach the state frameworks more effectively.
“One of the things we want teachers and students to understand
is that democracy is a very fragile thing. Small things build up. The
Nazi movement started out with a tiny group of people. It was eventually
able to destroy a fully functioning democracy in about a 10-year period.
It was able to do that because people were silent when there was discrimination,
prejudice and hatred in Germany,” said Edelman. “Our ultimate
goal is to teach kids the necessity of taking the step to treat others
AB 2003 directed the center at CSU, Chico be set up as a pilot project
with private funding. Edelman said that, with the help of groups such
as the Koret Foundation of San Francisco, the Endowment Fund of the
Jewish Federation, the Jewish Chautauqua Society and the CSU Chancellor’s
Office, funding has gone well.
Because of the success in private funding and the demonstration of the
viability of the center, Assemblyman Koretz authored AB 1175 for this
year’s legislative agenda. If passed, the legislation will make
the center, located at CSU, Chico, permanent and operational throughout
Edelman said that the center works with institutions and agencies that
deal with issues of human rights throughout the state, including The
Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles; Steven Spielberg’s
Shoah Foundation of Visual History, with 53,000 survivor testimonies;
the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith Statewide; the
Armenian Genocide Resource Center, Northern California; the Northern
California Holocaust Resource Center in San Francisco; the school-based
organization Facing History in Ourselves; and a number of Cambodian
groups in Long Beach and Stanislaus County.
In the next few years, the center plans to have master teachers sponsored
by the center in every school district in the state, perhaps in every
high school in the state. There are models for such programs in Florida
and New Jersey, said Edelman. They also foresee an international conference.
You can find more information about the center at http://www.csuchico.edu/mjs/center/about_center/index.html.
CONTACT: Kathleen McPartland, 530-898-4260
Sam Edelman, director, 530-898-4336