Republican congressman suggests Columbus discovered the US
Published on October 12, 2015 in MSNBC

And the time has come to change the tide, says Zinn Education Project co-director Bill Bigelow, who argued in an article last week that from the very onset, Columbus set out on a mission to conquer and exploit—not to discover—and should be remembered in history for starting the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as well as the first terrorist in the Americas.

“Enough already. Especially now, when the Black Lives Matter movement prompts us to look deeply into each nook and cranny of social life to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being, it’s time to rethink Columbus, and to abandon the holiday that celebrates his crimes,” he wrote.

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A People’s Website
Published on September 22, 2015 in CollectedEdNY

Many of us adult educators are familiar with Howard Zinn, the revolutionary historian who wrote “A People’s History of the United States,” and “A Young People’s History of the United States.” If you are a teacher who has enjoyed using excerpts from Zinn’s books in class, you will love this website, with lots of free teaching materials on history that will be engaging and accessible to students.

One of the key understandings of a historian is that history is made up of multiple perspectives. The materials collected on this site are a wonderful counterpoint to the supposedly “objective” accounts of history given in many textbooks. The teaching activities here often focus on case histories of lesser known events that show students history is not just the “official” version, and that promote questioning and critical thinking.


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Lies Your Textbooks Tell You About Irish-American History
Published on March 17, 2015 in Willamette Week

Portland teacher Bill Bigelow breaks it down.

You’re probably wearing green and pining for a Guinness right about now. That’s cool. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

But Bill Bigelow, a master educator in Portland who taught at Franklin and Jefferson high schools for years, wants you to honor Irish Americans in a different way.

Bigelow, curriculum editor for Rethinking Schools magazine, this week penned an eye-opening article for the Zinn Education Project on the Irish potato famine—and the misinformation U.S. textbooks tell students about the largest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. (The project honors the late Howard Zinn, the historian who wrote A People’s History of the United States.)

Continue reading at Willamette Week »

Women’s History and the Zinn Education Project
Published on March 12, 2015 in The Education Town Hall

Radio Broadcast

How did the 8-hour work day come about? Do local students know about Lucy Parsons and the first May Day (in 1886)? Do you? Women played important roles in labor history, but their perspectives are sometimes overlooked. In honor of women’s history month, the Zinn Education Project (ZEP) has just released new resources on this topic. Veteran teacher and ZEP staff member, Julian Hipkins, III, joined the Education Town Hall to talk about the new materials and ZEP’s dedication to promoting a more accurate and complex understanding of United States history, inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

Here also is the “Teaching about Selma” materials mentioned in our conversation.

Interview with Julian Hipkins III starts at 30:00.

Equity in School Funding and Zinn Education Project on The Education Town Hall March 12 2015 by Education_Town_Hall on Mixcloud

Continue reading at The Education Town Hall »

Our corporate classrooms: Bill Bigelow on the dangers of standardized curriculums and fresh ideas
Published on May 21, 2014 in Street Roots News

Bill Bigelow is an educator and activist who taught social studies in the Portland Public Schools for more than 30 years. Though he has left the classroom as a full-time teacher, he is actively involved in the U.S. educational system through his work with both Rethinking Schools, a quarterly magazine that focuses on critical issues in education from a social justice standpoint, and the Zinn Education Project, a project that provides teachers with resources to teach outside the textbook and to present a more honest, critical and full portrait of the world.

I first became familiar with Bigelow’s work in a classroom on the Quileute Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I was teaching Family Literacy to a group of Native American and Latina women. Looking for something to supplement the materials I was using, I found a curriculum called “Discovering Columbus,” written by Bill Bigelow.

It wouldn’t be until I moved to Portland in 2011 that I would meet Bigelow in person purely by coincidence. He is a gentle and curious man with a passion for education, justice and fairness. I sat with Bigelow to ask him about the plight of, and hope for, our educational system.

Continue reading at Street Roots News »

Lesson from ‘Howie’: 12 Thoughts on the Zinn Legacy
Published on April 28, 2014 in New York University | NYU Stories

Many of the scholars who gathered at Vanderbilt Hall for a recent daylong symposium on Howard Zinn shared a common quirk of speech: They tended to refer to the icon in question as “Howie.”

That’s because more than a few of the assembled admirers of Zinn’s work—including NYU history professor Marilyn Young and writer Alice Walker—were also students, colleagues, or personal friends of the popular historian and lifelong activist who died in 2010.

Continue reading at New York University | NYU Stories »

Upgrade Your Lesson Plans with These 5 Online Resources
Published on March 28, 2014 in EducationDIVE

Lesson planning is an art. A good lesson requires a fine balance of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), creativity, student buy in — and, of course, content.

While public perception can reduce the role of teachers to mere conveyers of information — as if knowledge is spread through osmosis — the actual process of creating an engaging, innovative, and informative lesson is far more complex.

Working in isolation to create the “perfect” lesson is time consuming, and relying too heavily on textbook curricula can feel uninspired.

Luckily, there is a happy medium… The below sites are awesome resources to get the juices flowing and inspire teachers to push innovative lessons into their classrooms, without reinventing the wheel.

Continue reading at EducationDIVE »

Women’s History Month: Six Lesson Plan Resources for Teachers
Published on February 21, 2014 in Edutopia

March is Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day, March 8, is also a part of the celebration each year. For educators and students, the month provides a wonderful opportunity to dig deeper into women’s contributions, struggles, and triumphs throughout history.

Continue reading at Edutopia »