Teaching a People’s History Packets – A National Snapshot

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zep_packetThis report provides an overview of who ordered the Teaching a People’s History packets and how they heard about the Zinn Education Project. The packet included A People’s History of the United States, the teacher’s guide A People’s History for the Classroom, and the DVD Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train. Demographic information includes: state, role, teaching level, subject, and how they heard about the project. This information was obtained as part of the sign-up form. Fields that were left blank or answers given that did not coincide with our type codes are listed as “unknown.” For example, many people taught two or more subjects at a school and therefore marked “Other” as their teaching subject.

I. Original Offer

Beginning April 27, 2008, we began offering the free Zinn Education packets to over 31,000 teachers and teacher educators. The outreach was done by 32 organizations. By May 8, all 4,000 packets were spoken for.

II. State Distribution

The most populous states received a large share of the total packets, but all states received at least one. California (802), New York (565) and Illinois (318) received a total of 1685, meaning that those three states received 42.8% of all the packets. A total of 6 states received between 100 and 225; 30 states received between 10 and 100; and 14 states received fewer than 10. (Note: the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also received packets, which is why the total exceeds 50.)

III. Role

Out of the 4,000 total packets, 2,365 were sent to self-identified teachers and an additional 925 went to teacher educators. This means that at least 83.7% of the packet recipients were either teachers or teacher educators. Other recipients included administrators, counselors, and librarians.

IV. Level

Professionals involved at the middle school and high school levels accounted for over half of the recipients. A total of 1709 (46.9%) work at high schools, 1272 (34.9%) work at middle or junior high schools, and an additional 358 (9.0%) work at universities or colleges. Other recipients worked in elementary schools, adult education, or organizations.

V. Subject

Out of the 2,361 self-identified teachers, 1,418 (59.7%) teach social studies, 312 (13.1%) teach language arts/English, 137 (5.8%) teach special education, 92 (3.9%) teach English as a Second Language, and 417 (17.6%) teach other subjects, including “all.”

VI. How did they hear about the Zinn Education Project?

Thirty-two groups distributed the announcement to their members and colleagues. These groups are:


American Indians in Children’s Literature

Center_for_Community_Change_Logo NECMElogo_color  EducationforLiberationNetwork

Educators Network for Social Justice— Milwaukee, WI

Initiatives in Educational Transformation
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 Northern Arizona Educators
 Olympia Educators for Social Responsibility
 Philadelphia Teaching Fellows
Critical Teaching List-serve

Critical Teaching List-serve


Portland Area

Puget Sound

Puget Sound

 San Jose State University Educational Leadership Excellence and Equity in Education

Teachers for Social Justice (bay area)

Teachers for Social Justice -- Chicago

Teachers for Social Justice — Chicago

Teaching American History

(select sites)

tfc20-logo-sm teachingthehudsonvalley teachingtolerance_logo
Voices of a People’s History and HowardZinn.org
 William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation


State Distribution (click to enlarge)


Subject Area (click to enlarge)

Eagan Heath, Truman Scholar, Teaching for Change Summer Intern 2008
with Lauren Cooper, Zinn Education Project