In the News

Teaching Black history in school: ‘Kids need to see joy,’ less trauma, say educators

Published on February 11, 2021 in
With Black History Month underway, some educators are challenging the way Black history is currently handled in the public education system. Erica Buddington, founder and chief executive officer of curriculum consultant firm Langston League, for example, believes the approach is contrary to how Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History Month,” intended.
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Can we teach our way out of political polarization?

Published on January 25, 2021 in
"You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation,” former President Donald Trump told the collection of white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and would-be instigators of a second civil war who rallied with him in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. The crowd cheered at the idea that people like them — mostly white, mostly male — were the true heroes of American history. Then they ransacked the Capitol.
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How should schools teach kids about what happened at the US Capitol on Jan. 6? We asked 6 education experts

Published on January 11, 2021 in
Teachers scrambled to create lesson plans to help students make sense of the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol right after it happened. It’s a fraught task. Even the news media wasn’t sure what to call this unprecedented attack on U.S. democracy. Was it a coup? A riot? An act of domestic terrorism? Likewise, it’s not clear where lessons should begin. The Conversation U.S. asked six education experts how teachers – and parents – can help young people comprehend, analyze and process what happened.
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Kesson: Contested histories

Published on October 10, 2020 in
In 1980, historian Howard Zinn released “A People’s History of the United States,” a reader that became wildly popular in high schools across the country and sparked a revolution in the way that history is taught. Rather than putting students to sleep with factoids and timelines, teachers began to rely more on primary source materials, including documents and texts that narrate history from multiple perspectives.
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Learning About Christopher Columbus By Putting Him on Trial

Published on October 9, 2020 in
Last fall, teacher Michael Palermo called Columbus’s crew to the witness stand. Wilfredo Lopez Murcia, a student at Wakefield High School in Virginia, strolled to the front of the classroom, followed by classmate Jhonnatan Moya Miranda. “Hello, mates,” Wilfredo quipped, giving a short salute to his peers. Wilfredo and Jhonnatan were about to defend themselves in The People vs. Columbus, et al. trial, a social studies role play that encourages critical thinking about European colonization of the Americas...
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History educator: Let’s teach as if democracy depends on it — because it does

Published on October 2, 2020 in
President Trump’s recent call for “patriotic education” in American schools sparked sharp criticism from educators, historians and others who saw it as the latest assault by conservatives who believe that far-left history teachers are indoctrinating students into hating their country... Part of teaching history honestly is exposing students to a multitude of perspectives. As the Zinn Education Project wrote in response to Trump’s attacks last week, “Teaching people’s history is about empowering and invigorating students to better understand the perspectives of workers, women, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, whose voices are too often erased in the corporate-produced textbooks.”
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Racial Justice Uprising Spurs Teachers to Reshape Lesson Plans

Published on September 22, 2020 in
It’s often unsettling to confront new knowledge and see our world in new ways. When our ordered paradigms are found to be less true than we thought, we are cast adrift in a chaotic reality. Consider Galileo and others like him when they found the earth was not at the center of the universe but just one of many bodies orbiting around one of many stars. Or, reflect on the United States when the theory of natural selection in evolution reached our shores...
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