An initiative launched by academics and AJC Central Europe voicing concern over the nomination of Dr. Przemysław Czarnek MP as Poland’s Minister of Education and Science has brought together universities, NGOs, popular publicists, and religious leaders to send a clear message that experimenting with education is unacceptable.

A statement supported by 122 intellectuals was published by Poland’s top online media outlets -- Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita, Onet, TVN24 – as well as by leading Catholic monthly Więź.

Czarnek made a shocking declaration last June about LGBT people on Polish public television channel TVP. “Let's stop listening to these idiotic things about some human rights or some equality. These people are not equal to normal people," Czarnek declared.

“What we have observed over the last couple of days was a growing feeling of concern that Poland’s system of education could be governed by someone who questions the concept of human rights,” said Dr. Sebastian Rejak, Acting Director of AJC Central Europe. “With partners we have gathered together more than a hundred intellectuals, liberals and conservatives, who want to safeguard high standards in public life and say no to changes that could put in danger the socialization and intellectual development of millions of students in Polish schools.”

Cracow’s Pedagogical University Professor Piotr Trojański, who cooperated with AJC Central Europe in preparing the statement, noted the coincidence of the release on October 3 of the Encyclical Letter “Fratelli Tutti,” in which Pope Francis warns against “varieties of narrow and violent nationalism, xenophobia and contempt, and even the mistreatment of those who are different.” Trojański, who also sits on the Education Ministry’s Advisory Council for Holocaust Education, added: “We have been clear on what we believe are sine qua non conditions for running the system of education. And we would like our voice to be heard in the public debate.”

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