In the News

Nonprofits Enrich Curriculum and Help Schools Teach Social Justice

Published on January 18, 2018 in

A recent article in the Washington Post discussed a curriculum designed to help history teachers explore the post­-Civil War era of Reconstruction with their students. What interests us about the article is not just the topic, but the nonprofits behind it.

Michigan teacher James Gorman, watching on television as white supremacists marched at the University of Virginia, decided his students should learn about similar events that took place 150 years ago. To do so, he turned to a tool called Teach Reconstruction, a curriculum developed by the Zinn Education Project. The curriculum provides accounts of how politicians made decisions, helps students see the impact of these decisions on the country, and shows some parallels with our society today.

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Teaching kids how battles about race from 150 years ago mirror today’s conflicts

Published on January 15, 2018 in

In August, Michigan history teacher James Gorman watched televised images of torch-bearing white supremacists marching on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and decided to use the incident to teach his students about similar events that happened in a divided United States 150 years ago.

To inform his lessons, Gorman chose a curriculum called Teach Reconstruction created by the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between social justice education nonprofits Teaching for Change, based in Washington, D.C. and Rethinking Schools, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The creators of the Teach Reconstruction project are actively campaigning for the inclusion of lessons about Reconstruction in history and social studies classes. The project provides educational materials and teaching guides for teachers.

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Forgotten in the classroom: The Reconstruction era

Published on January 15, 2018 in

In August, Michigan history teacher James Gorman watched televised images of torch-bearing white supremacists marching on the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and decided to use the incident to teach his students about similar events that happened in a divided United States 150 years earlier.

To inform his lessons, Gorman chose a curriculum called “Teach Reconstruction” that was created by the Zinn Education Project, a collaboration between social justice education nonprofits Teaching for Change, based in Washington, and Rethinking Schools, of Milwaukee. The creators of the Teach Reconstruction project are campaigning for the inclusion of lessons about Reconstruction in history and ­social studies classes. The project provides educational materials and teaching guides for teachers.

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Students gain an appreciation for history after learning there’s more to the story

Published on November 21, 2017 in

Columbus discovered America. Pilgrims were loyal friends to Native Americans. The relationship between John Smith and Pocahontas was a love story with a happy ending.

Like many of us, 16-year-old Tori Blakeney accepted those accounts as truths.

At the Capital City Public Charter High School in the District, where she is an 11th-grader, such “truths” have given way to a new reality. Students are getting to see history from the perspective of people and groups who are often left out of the traditional American narrative — African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women, among others.

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Zinn is ‘In’ Again

Published on April 23, 2017 in
The latest controversy over Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, brought on by proposed legislation from Arkansas State Rep. Kim Hendren, is at an end. The bill died in committee, so Zinn — and everything by or about him — is still allowed (by state law anyway) in Arkansas public school curricula. It is heartening that, in response to their pleas for help, more than 700 Arkansas teachers and school librarians received free copies of Zinn’s books from the Zinn Education Project. Donations to support the project came in from across the nation. Ironically, at least some of the educators who received copies of Zinn’s works might never have included him in their studies of American history had this bill not called attention to him.
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Kim Hendren’s Howard Zinn ban dies unceremoniously in the Arkansas state legislature. SAD!

Published on April 7, 2017 in
Several weeks ago we wrote about an effort by Arkansas state representative Kim Hendren to ban the works of legendary progressive historian Howard Zinn from classrooms and curricula throughout the state. Today, we’re happy to report that, according to Bill Bigelow (co-director of the Zinn Education Project), that legislation has been quashed by the House’s education committee.
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Attempted Ban of Howard Zinn’s Books Defeated in Arkansas

Published on April 7, 2017 in
A proposed bill in Arkansas, sponsored by Rep. Kim Hendren, which would ban not only every book written by Howard Zinn but also all material referencing Zinn’s books, was put to rest by the Arkansas House’s education committee. The bill was one page, too broad, and hard to defend even for Rep. Kim Hendren who has said that the point of the bill was more to, “spark a conversation and debate.” A conversation was certainly sparked as educators and students alike rose up to defend Zinn’s books and demand an education that viewed history with eyes wide open to the misdeeds and terrible truths that societies have been built upon. According to Arkansas Times, about 700 copies of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States were sent to librarians and teachers throughout Arkansas as a response to the bill. The Zinn Education Projectreceived a boost in donations so they could continue to send Zinn’s books to schools and libraries that wanted them.
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Arkansas Legislator Pushes to Ban Books by historian Howard Zinn’s from Public Schools

Published on April 6, 2017 in
In March of 2017, Arkansas Representative Kim Hendren introduced House Bill 1834 to the state assembly which sought to ban any works written by, or relating to, historian Howard Zinn. The bill is entitled “An Act to Prohibit a Public School District or Open-Enrollment Public Charter School from Including in its Curriculum or Course Materials for a Program of Study Books or Any Other Material Authored by or Concerning Howard Zinn; And for Other Purposes.” As a result of the proposed bill, more than 700 teachers and school librarians have requested Zinn’s books and the Zinn Education Project has been filling these orders free of cost.
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