Can educating kids about unions prepare them for the future of work?
Published on March 8, 2018 in The Hechinger Report

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 The Nation

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.

Continue reading at The Nation »

Nonprofits Enrich Curriculum and Help Schools Teach Social Justice
Published on January 18, 2018 in Nonprofit Quarterly

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 The Hechinger Report

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.

Continue reading at The Hechinger Report »

Forgotten in the classroom: The Reconstruction era
Published on January 15, 2018 in The Washington Post

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.

(Download PDF)

Continue reading at The Washington Post »

Students gain an appreciation for history after learning there’s more to the story
Published on November 21, 2017 in The Washington Post

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.

Continue reading at The Washington Post »

Zinn is ‘In’ Again
Published on April 23, 2017 in Intellectual Freedom Blog

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 Melville House

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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