Published on June 9, 2020 in
With police reform front and center in the national debate, it’s a good time to learn about the history of policing in the United States. Here are resources on the subject from the nonprofit Zinn Education Project, which offers free downloadable lessons and articles on history organized by theme, time period and grade level. The lessons are based on the approach to history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book, “A People’s History of the United States,” emphasizing the role of working people, women, people of color and organized social movements in shaping history.
Published on April 6, 2020 in
With a presidential election months away and uncertainty about whether and how the pandemic might affect it, here is a lesson for students and everybody else on the history of voter suppression in this country. It was written by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, who has taught high school social studies since 2000. She is on the editorial board of Rethinking Schools, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public schools and a publisher of educational materials in the United States and many other countries. She is also the project organizer and curriculum writer for the nonprofit Zinn Education Project
, which offers free downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period and grade level.
Published on February 18, 2020 in
Middle school teacher Lesley Younge was a featured guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on climate change. She noted, “I was teaching about early American history through an indigenous perspective. And we came up with the idea of teaching climate change through indigenous perspectives as a project. And we were able to incorporate the materials from the Zinn Education Project. And because they have a simulation of a conference that happened in 2009 that was a coalition of indigenous people meeting together to talk about how climate change was affecting them, and they have just really awesome materials that got our students started on the research required to study issues that are affecting indigenous people, and then to present those in a simulation of a model UN-style forum. And they got really into it.”
Published on February 6, 2020 in
Seven states launched commissions designed to oversee state mandates to teach black history in public schools in recent years, and Illinois requires public colleges and universities to offer black history courses. To meet the rising demand for resources, at least six Black History textbooks are on the market, as well as lesson plans on websites including Teaching Tolerance, Teaching for Change, Zinn Education Project and Rethinking Schools. (The most-downloaded lessons from the Zinn Education Project website for most of 2019 were about Reconstruction.)
Published on November 22, 2019 in
The fountainhead of the historian Bill Katz’s immersion in African-American culture was his father’s passion for jazz. Ben Katz had derived more pleasure from the music and its historical roots than from his day job as an art director for an advertising agency... Mr. Katz recalled in an interview with the Zinn Education Project (named after another progressive historian, Howard Zinn) that his provocative opinions had first surfaced in high school, when, in a school project, he devoted the first three chapters of a 200-page history of jazz to slavery.
Published on June 20, 2019 in
Earth frowns. With a face of green and blue, the planet’s mood is blue, too — as unblinking eyes cast a somber stare.
Colored with crayons, this drawing is the schoolwork of Maya, a fifth grader from the United States. At the top sits a title: “Greenhouse Gas Effect.” Piercing Earth’s atmosphere, sharp arrows represent solar radiation, which for the most part remain trapped as heat by a ring of gases aptly shaded green. While a patchwork of flags from around the world makes for a vibrant backdrop, it can’t detract from the dismal mood. To punctuate the point with urgency, there’s a red explosion with all caps in black: “EXTREME!”
Kids like Maya are growing up in a world set to face the worst of climate change. As dire warnings pour out from research scientists and indigenous peoples around the globe, many U.S. teachers don’t mention our planet’s fever in the classroom — and think tanks and fossil fuel companies that deny the scientific consensus on climate promote junk lessons to instructors who do.
Published on February 26, 2019 in
This Black History Month has been packed with controversy, with scandals and headlines revolving around blackface dominating the national conversation. But some say the singular focus on blackface distracts from the larger issues — namely, how little is known about the nation’s deeply racist history, and what is — and isn’t — taught about the black American experience in the nation’s public schools. (PDF
Published on February 12, 2019 in
The future of labor unions is tenable not only because of political efforts to suppress them, but also because of pedagogical oppression. American schools are not teaching students about labor unions and their fight against economic injustice. Ask any young American what they know about labor unions, and you will likely get the same response. This points to a serious issue in the American school system, which tends to ignore the labor movement’s role in American history. (PDF