We are thrilled to share that as of November 2019, there are more than 100,000 educators signed up at the ZinnEdProject.org.
That’s 100,000 educators who are accessing people’s history lessons, joining a national network committed to teaching outside the textbook.
When we first launched the Zinn Education Project in 2008, we sent people’s history packets to 4,000 teachers by mail.
By 2010, we’d built the Zinn Education Project website and registered close to 8,000 teachers. Our ambitious goal at the time was to reach 24,000 — the number of teachers in NCSS, the National Council for the Social Studies.
We never imagined that in just a few years, we would quadruple that number and reach 100,000. Our thanks to everyone who has donated and/or helped with outreach to build toward this significant milestone.
Why are 100,000 Educators Teaching People’s History?
Here are just a few of countless stories from educators across the United States about the impact of using people’s history lessons in their classrooms:
It is easy for some to lose track of WHY we teach these days and instead focus on what we are teaching. The Zinn Education Project has been so helpful to access thought-provoking resources, simulations, and role plays that I can use in my classroom to reinforce the text while also teaching social justice and citizenship.
I’ve used the Zinn Education Project’s materials since my first year teaching.
Nine years later, my students can speak to the power of deconstructing the narratives of Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln’s efforts that have replicated white supremacy and marginalization of people of color in historical discourse.
For many of them, it is empowering to learn from multiple perspectives and invigorates their desire to learn and disrupt the status quo.
Lessons like the Climate Change Mixer, Paradise Lost, and the Thingamabob simulation took my students from a place of what appeared to be indifference and complacency, to a place of inquiry, compassion, and activism.
The culminating activity involved having my students participate in a mock trial based on Bill Bigelow’s role play activity ‘Who’s to Blame for the Climate Crisis’? By this point of our study, my students were emotionally and intellectually ‘invested’ and were genuinely curious as to what or who is responsible for the environmental crisis. The collection of primary-source based lessons and activities at the Zinn Education Project website and in A People’s Curriculum for the Earth proved to be an invaluable and powerful resource.
The Zinn Education Project has delivered time and time again the most impactful experiences for my students. They will not remember the PowerPoint info on the Articles of Confederation, but they will remember when they wrote the Constitution from the perspective of an enslaved African American or a member of the Iroquois nation using the Constitutional Convention role play.
They understand the problems embedded into the way our country was founded AND the remarkable opportunities we have to reshape the conversation in our nation.
How Did 100,000 Educators Find the Zinn Education Project?
The Zinn Education Project doesn’t have a Madison Avenue marketing budget. So, where did the 100,000 educators come from and how did they hear about the Zinn Education Project?
You can find the answer to that question in the comments people leave when they register at our site. New teacher registrants offer a wonderfully wide range of responses, including word of mouth from family and colleagues, searches for specific lesson topics, “This Day in History” posts on social media, assignments from teacher educators, “good luck,” and more. Here are some examples of what teachers told us when they registered:
I heard about the Zinn Education Project through a Google search. I use A People’s History in my classes whenever possible, and when I accidentally left my materials at school when lesson planning at home, I hit the internet to see what I could find access to there. As it turns out, I hit a gold mine!
— Madelynne B., Florahome, Florida
My stepmother sent me this link and I love A People’s History. I have been trying to incorporate this important text into my classroom for years.
— Britt S., San Diego, California
My academic adviser suggested I look at some of the lessons to get a better sense of cultural competence and inclusion.
— Hannah M., Maryville, Missouri
I was participating in a workshop, the Missouri Writing Project. A fellow class member showed us this website. It was just what I was looking for.
— Susie A., Columbia, Missouri
Rethinking Schools? I feel like I hear about it from a variety of sources in my circle!
— Irene N., Oakland, California
I am a student at the University of Georgia as well as a certified teacher. I was searching the internet for my unit on workers’ rights and found this wonderful site. Thank you so much for sharing such important information.
— Sheila B., Dawsonville, Georgia
Via a friend that teaches education at Howard University.
— Kemyta T., Silver Spring, Maryland
I’ve been using materials from Zinn Education Project since 2009. We teach through the lens of social justice and equity at my school and this resource is essential to my teaching.
— Suzanne P., East Providence, Rhode Island
I learned about this project from @ClintSmithIII on Twitter. We are using A People’s History this year as our history book, and I am so excited to find all these resources. Thank you! This is wonderful!
— Shin., Elkton, Maryland
Through an email from Rethinking Schools. I’m excited to explore the resources for science.
— Michael P., Chico, California
In a St. John’s University graduate school course where we read Bill Bigelow’s Rethinking Schools article The Big One: Teaching About Climate Change.
— Gabrielle T., Bronx, New York
Through my nephew, who is also a high school social studies teacher.
— Rick K., Fort Myers, Florida
Although the registration numbers are high, our staff and budget are still small.
We need your help to reach 100,000 more teachers. Please encourage other teachers to register, make a donation, and follow us on social media.
Not registered? Sign up for free and be part of the growing network of people’s history educators.