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How Unions Can Help Educate By Promoting Labor History

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)
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Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day (Press Logo) | Zinn Education Project

I Love the Zinn Education Project’s “This Day in History” Feature

Published on December 14, 2018 in
The Zinn Education Project is a great resource, and has been on The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues list [since] it began. They just unveiled a redesign and expansion of their website, and it looks great! One of the new features I’m most excited about is a complete and searchable “Today In History” page. It’s a great addition to The Best “Today In History” Sites.
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Reconstruction Era comes to life in new initiative for SC history classes

Published on October 19, 2018 in
Squeezed between the devastation of the U.S. Civil War and the excesses of the Gilded Age, the pivotal era of Reconstruction doesn’t always get the attention it deserves in grade-school history classrooms. Victoria Smalls wants to change that. A veteran public historian who has worked for Charleston’s planned International African American Museum and Saint Helena Island’s Penn Center, Smalls recently became the first state campaign organizer for the Zinn Education Project’s Teach Reconstruction initiative. Continue reading at The Post and Courier.
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Can educating kids about unions prepare them for the future of work?

Published on March 8, 2018 in
The young woman in the black sweatshirt was indignant. Across the negotiating table, a stern, occasionally sharp-tongued adversary refused to budge — first on wages and now on the organization’s social media policy. “We’re a hospital,” said the woman with marked intensity. “Don’t you agree that our first responsibility is to our patients?” A cluster of young people nearby hotly debated the fairness of random drug tests for employees. Over in a far corner, a third group traded opinions on whether to accept management’s proposal to offer new hires 401(k)s instead of pensions. “It’s just for new employees,” said one young man, clad in a purple T-shirt. “But we have to think about solidarity,” replied a young woman in clear-framed glasses.
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Teaching Class Solidarity

Published on March 8, 2018 in
Students aren’t likely to learn much about the way that unions have shaped economic and social policy if they stick to traditional textbooks, according to a report by the Albert Shanker Institute, a pro-labor group named for a longtime leader of the American Federation of Teachers. The 2011 study of four popular textbooks on American history found that coverage of the labor movement was “narrow and sometimes seriously misleading.” “Textbooks tend to be tilted to the perspectives of the Rockefellers and the du Ponts and the Morgans, and don’t do a fair job in terms of representing the conditions that working people were toiling under, or the often difficult struggles they had to engage in to establish basic rights,” says Leo Casey, the Shanker Institute’s executive director.
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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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