Besides civics, Holocaust and character standards for K-12 students are also up for public comments

By: - June 1, 2021 4:24 pm

School entrance sign. Photo, CD Davidson-Hiers

While Florida’s proposed civics standards are garnering media attention — particularly over leaving out the word slavery — other new standards, such as the Holocaust and so-called “character education,” are under consideration too.

The proposed standards and others will be part of a “listening tour” in June, with the Department of Education presenting information and allowing the public to comment.

The first listening tour stop will be Tuesday evening in Miami-Dade County. The next will be Thursday, June 3, in Osceola County in central Florida. The last will be June 9 in Baker County in Northeast Florida. All sessions will start at 6 p.m., according to the Department of Education’s website.

“The listening tour gives the public an opportunity to share their thoughts on the standards and I encourage them to participate,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said in a written statement. “Their thoughts and ideas are integral to the success of the process and, because of their valuable contributions, we will have better standards to guide instruction.”

One new set of standards address how the Holocaust should be taught in schools, from 4th through 12th grade.

The first standard lays the foundation for the rest of Holocaust education, expecting 4th graders to “compare and contrast Judaism to other major religions observed around the world, and in the United States and Florida.”

Fifth graders would learn about antisemitism and “recognize the Holocaust as history’s most extreme example of antisemitism.”

For middle schoolers, the proposed Holocaust standards would discuss the systemic and state-sponsored persecution of the the Jewish people.

High school students would receive the most thorough dissection of the Holocaust. From 9th through 12th grades, students would discuss and analyze various aspects of the Holocaust, such as major historical events, the surrounding culture that enabled the Holocaust and the long-term effects the Holocaust has on modern day.

High schoolers will also discuss how Nazi Germany targeted people other than the Jewish people, as well as people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people.

Another set of proposed standards focuses on “character education,” establishing desired characteristics students may learn throughout their school career.

The proposed standards outlines five categories for students to work on throughout their academic career: Self-Control & Responsibility; Resiliency & Self-Motivation; Leadership Skills; Kindness, Honesty, and Empathy; Cooperation & Conflict Resolution, according to the Department of Education’s website.

Each grade would have a different goal in achieving these proposed standards. For example, kindergarteners would be expected to “define the concepts of kindness, honesty and empathy,” while high schoolers would be expected to “identify ways honesty, empathy, and integrity can lead to success in school and in life.”

Leadership skills in first grade would ask students to “identify the characteristics of a leader.” Middle schoolers would need to know “ways to apply leadership skills in the school and the community.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.