This week Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) and Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) introduced AB 1915, the Armenian Genocide Education Act, which will promote the teaching of the Armenian Genocide in California schools.
AB 1915 will require the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the list of studied subject areas for the adopted courses of study in Social Science for 7-12. This bill will also require the Department of Education to include the atrocities of 1915 into their publications and teaching materials.
Currently, California is one of 11 states, including Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia, which have the Armenian Genocide included in their curriculum. The California Model Curriculum developed by the Department of Education, includes the Armenian Genocide as a recommended topic to teach. However, schools aren’t required to follow this Model Curriculum.
“It all starts with education,” said Assemblymember Nazarian. “California has had a steadfast record in promoting education on the Armenian Genocide, but much more needs to be done. I am confident that AB 1915 will shed some light on the horrors of 1915 and educate our students about an important yet dark period of time in World History.”
Supporters of the bill echoed Assemblymember Nazarian’s sentiments about the current state of Armenian Genocide curriculum in California. “Currently the State Department of Education Curriculum framework does provide for the teaching of the genocide but unfortunately this has not been put into practice within most California schools. We are deeply appreciative for the stewardship of Assemblymembers Nazarian and Achadjian on Armenian Genocide Education reform and look forward to working with them on this landmark legislation.” said Haig Baghdassarian, Legislative Affairs Director for the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region.
Joint Author Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, stated “AB 1915 is a significant step in educating our youth about the Armenian Genocide and ensuring these atrocities are not repeated. I would like to thank Assemblyman Nazarian for his leadership on this critical issue.”
Assemblymembers Nazarian and Achadjian introduction of AB 1915 re-emphasizes their commitment to pursue a more complete approach in teaching about the Armenian Genocide. AB 1915 joins AB 659 to complete a package of human rights education bills. Similarly AB 659, introduced last year called on the Department of Education to incorporate an Oral History Component to the existing curriculum when teaching about specific instances of genocide including the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Darfur, and Rwanda into existing curriculum. AB 659 saw overwhelming success in the Assembly, enjoying unanimous passage in all committees and on the Assembly floor. That bill awaits to be heard in the State Senate.