In the News

How Teachers Can Talk About the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Published on November 22, 2023 in

While the Israel-Palestine conflict has always been a difficult subject for educators, the recent adoption of policies in some states that limit conversations on topics such as race has added to teachers’ fears about discussing such contested issues, said Deborah Menkart, co-director of the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between progressive nonprofits Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Those concerns notwithstanding, her colleague Mimi Eisen, program manager at the Zinn Education Project, said teachers can seek to have substantive conversations that, for example, explain the differences between Judaism and Zionism, and between Palestinian people and groups like Hamas.

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Into the Mix Podcast — Libraries Off-limits: Examining Florida’s book bans

Published on September 27, 2023 in
In this episode of the Into the Mix podcast, host and writer Ashley C. Ford examines ongoing book bans in Florida and governor Ron DeSantis’ attempts to silence marginalized voices in Florida classrooms. Ford talks to Andrea Phillips, an elementary school teacher, and Jesse Hagopian, Rethinking Schools editor and Zinn Education Project staff member. “This debate really isn’t about obscenity at all,” Hagopian said. “Education is such a powerful force and it can help young people understand themselves and that can help them transform society, or it can be used to create conformity and impose authority and train young people to believe that they should accept the current inequalities.”
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Many U.S. Schools Aren’t Teaching About Climate Change. Students Aren’t Happy About That.

Published on September 24, 2023 in

Despite the vast majority of parents and members of the public supporting climate change education, the scrutiny has had a chilling effect on some teachers’ and schools’ willingness to address it.

It’s become “a kind of curricular hot potato,” said Bill Bigelow, a former social studies teacher and co-director at the Zinn Education Project who has helped edit and write climate education lessons. Adequate climate education, he said, necessitates coverage in not just science classes but subjects ranging from history to language arts. Yet this interdisciplinary relevance makes it especially dicey. “The standards that states and school districts and teachers adhere to lag behind the consciousness of the crisis,” he said.

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Textbooks Still Aren’t Teaching the Climate Crisis

Published on September 15, 2023 in
“The corporate textbooks that the kids get largely ignore the crisis. They either fail to educate the kids about the climate catastrophe, or they relegate it to the last pages of the book,” says Jesse Hagopian, who has taught in Seattle public schools for over 20 years, and also works for the Zinn Education Project, which recently published a Climate Crisis Timeline showing the very strong links between slavery, colonialism, racial capitalism, and climate change.
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Howard Zinn at 101: Needed Now More Than Ever

Published on August 21, 2023 in
Conservatives have made headway on censorship; since the fall of 2021, PEN America has tracked more than 4,000 efforts to ban books — including several by Zinn — dealing with race, gender identity, and sexuality from libraries and schoolrooms. . . . But progressives are also mobilizing and groups including the Zinn Education Project, Red, Wine and Blue, PEN America, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Library Association, and Honest Education Action and Leadership Together/Race Forward, are pushing back and organizing teach-ins, teacher trainings, and study groups in support of academic freedom and public education.
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Stop Saying ‘I Am Not My Ancestors’

Published on August 10, 2023 in
Make no mistake, our ancestors did fight back, from Day One, and to even hint that they didn’t plays into white supremacist-based beliefs and attitudes. Seriously, have these T-shirt makers never heard of Nat Turner? Granted, even before Florida’s most recent “anti-woke” efforts, Black history hasn’t exactly been taught well in the nation’s public schools. But at the very least, most of us learned about the 1831 slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia, that resulted in as many as 65 white people being killed. [The] Zinn Education Project breaks down what was happening [in another example of Black resistance.]
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Teachers Fight GOP Book Bans & the Whitewashing of U.S. History

Published on August 8, 2023 in
At least 25 states have enacted laws that will make it easier to remove books from school libraries, ban certain lessons on race, gender and sexuality, and limit the rights of transgender students, according to a Washington Post analysis. On this edition of Your Call, we speak with teachers who are fighting back against Republican policies to ban books and whitewash US history. For the hour, we talk with teachers Ben Hodge in York, Pennsylvania, Adam Tritt in Melbourne, Florida, and Jesse Hagopian, with the Zinn Education Project, in Seattle, Washington about how they are fighting back against attempts to ban the teaching of true history in classrooms.
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Katie Rinderle Is Not Alone

Published on August 3, 2023 in
Today, Rinderle is believed to be the first teacher in Georgia to have been fired because of a trio of vaguely worded 2022 state laws that ban teachers from teaching “divisive concepts.” Georgia isn’t the only state censoring, even firing, teachers. Since 2021, 18 states have passed laws that restrict teaching about racism and sexism, according to Education Week, and 15 have laws restricting or banning discussion of LGBTQ+ people or issues, according to the Movement Advancement Project. “We’re at a point where there needs to be a collective response,” says Zinn Education Project co-director Deborah Menkart.
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