In the News

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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Arkansas’ Howard Zinn Witch Hunt Fizzles

Published on April 4, 2017 in
Last week nearly 700 Arkansas teachers and school librarians received copies of books by Howard Zinn — thanks to a right-wing state representative. Well, not exactly. But here’s the story. Recently, Republican Kim Hendren, introduced legislation that would prohibit teachers in all public schools or state-supported charter schools from including any books in their curriculum by — or even “concerning” — the historian Howard Zinn, author of the classic A People’s History of the United States, who died in 2010. In response, the Zinn Education Project — a collaboration between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change, which I co-direct — offered to send free copies of a Howard Zinn book and A People’s History for the Classroom lessons to any Arkansas middle or high school teacher or school librarian requesting them. In just a few days, we were flooded with requests. Many of them came accompanied by poignant notes about why people were eager to get the materials.
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Pending legislation in Arkansas would erase Howard Zinn from the history books

Published on March 10, 2017 in
In Arkansas this week, lawmakers are considering a proposed amendment to the state code outlawing the use of historian Howard Zinn’s work in public school curricula statewide... whatever criticisms might be leveled against A People’s History, I’d like to think that most of us would agree that the slaughtered and mutilated of history deserve to have their story told. Advocates at the Zinn Education Project, an initiative of the DC-based nonprofit Teaching for Change and the Milwaukee-based education publisher Rethinking Schoolscertainly think so, which is why they’re gathering quotes from Arkansas teachers protesting the legislation and collecting funds to distribute copies of A People’s History to any teacher asking for one.
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