Have you ever had an argument with a liberal who swears on her mother’s grave that educators in America don’t fill our children’s heads with propaganda and liberal lies? Here’s proof that they’re wrong. We found this website listed on a radical leftist Facebook page used to recruit activists in the fight against Trump. One of their primary focuses in their battle against Trump is how to turn kids against him. The google document we reference in this article was created by history educators in Oakland, California. They make it a point to let the teachers know that they can’t guarantee they won’t be fired for teaching their version of “History” in “Post 2016” as suggested below, but hey, that’s why they have teacher’s unions right? We’ve copied the Google document and taken several screen shots, as these documents, like the one created by the Assistant Professor Melissa Zimdars that was supposed to point out “fake news” sites was deleted once people realized she was just a radical trying to discredit conservative websites.
Teaching History Post 2016
The first thing the website addresses is how to keep your job but still teach your version of history post Trump election:
1. KEEP YOUR JOB: So you’re outraged about the election results, and you’re feeling a renewed sense of purpose as a history teacher. Here are some guidelines to consider as you plan your critical history curriculum.
How to Be a Critical History Educator. . . and not get fired.*
- Know your grade level standards. Before teaching your lesson or unit, consider how you will justify the content based on the content requirements laid out by the state, such as these California content standards. Those standards constrain what is taught in each grade level, but also can provide teachers with a justification for engaging in content or posing questions that might be considered controversial.
- Frame issues around questions, not answers. Our goal as critical educators should be to teach our students 1) that historical narratives are constructed 2) consequently students should feel empowered to ask questions of (and challenge) prevailing interpretations and 3) teachers should provide students opportunities to form and articulate their own interpretations of the past. Student inquiry – meaning that students themselves weigh arguments and evidence through a disciplinary lens – is named as a priority in prominent documents that guide the teaching of history, such as the National Council for the Social Studies’ C3 Framework and the 2016 California History-Social Science Framework. Lessons and units about controversial issues should be framed around carefully crafted historical inquiry questions that invite students to investigate sets of evidence, and formulate evidence-based interpretations. Educators can turn to resources such as The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts, by Peter Seixas and Tom Morton, to consider how to equip students with the disciplinary thinking skills they will need in order to engage in this type of historical inquiry. Thoughtfully framed essential questions also provide opportunities to use historical case studies as points of discussion for analyzing contemporary issues.
- Know your state and district policies on teaching controversial or partisan issues. Each state develops education code that outlines the rights and responsibilities of educators. Many district school boards construct additional policies in these areas.
Here are a few samples of articles the website suggests teachers use to aid them in their “indoctrination” of their students. Check out some of the titles and a sample of what the articles are about. These are pure indoctrination articles that all lean very hard to the Left. (Go to this link for full list):
For example, Oakland Unified School District Board of Education Policy 6144 states that “The study of a controversial issue should help students learn how to gather and organize pertinent facts, discriminate between fact and fiction, draw intelligent conclusions and respect the opinions of others,” and Administrative Regulation 6144 states that “Controversial issues may be discussed in the classroom, provided that: 1) The issue is related to the course of study and provides opportunities for critical thinking, for developing tolerance, and for understanding conflicting points of view…”
- Consider whether you should consult with a union representative, your administrator, and/or the families of your students before teaching about a particular issue. Know your context, and consider what proactive steps you may need to take before embarking on your lesson or unit. Relationships, both within your classroom and between you and your site leaders and community members, are key to navigating controversial issues. Should someone raise questions, take advantage of the support provided by your union. Decide whether your principal should be informed before you teach a particular lesson or unit. Oakland Unified School District’s History department provides a detailed set of materials for teaching controversial issues, including sample letters for contacting families.
- Expect increasing surveillance of what you teach, and be careful. It has never been more important for our young people to learn history. In an era where facts are regularly ignored and historical context is regularly dismissed, we as history educators need to be all the more intentional in our planning and clear in our communication with our support networks. Know your rights, and when in doubt, consult your union or other legal representatives.
The ACLU of Washington State has also compiled The Free Speech Rights of Teachers, a legal guide covering speech inside and outside of the classroom, clothing, classroom or office displays and decorations, bulletin boards, conversations with colleagues, and campus demonstrations.
*Although we think the guidance in this document is good practice, we can’t guarantee you won’t get fired. Use your best judgment, plan explicitly, and develop relationships with site, district, and community partners.
One of the articles they suggest teachers use to aid them in “teaching history” to their students is The Zinn Education Project:
The Zinn Education Project stands in solidarity with those who have denounced Donald Trump’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia—as well as his ignorant and deadly proposals about the environment and climate change. We have been encouraged by the young people—in our classrooms and in the streets—who are living the maxim that “people make history.”
As we have tried to make sense of this election and what it means for educators and our students, we have asked ourselves, “What would Howard Zinn say?”
While detesting the outcome, we doubt he would have been surprised. Zinn observed that,
Is not nationalism one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking—cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on—have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
But Zinn would surely remind us that just because the rich and powerful want something to happen, doesn’t make it so. He would urge us not to lose heart, and to remember our history. Zinn wrote,
There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
No doubt, still reeling from this poisonous election, it is hard to be hopeful. But we invite you to draw on curriculum at the Zinn Education Project to help your students make sense of this new context. We include lessons—some highlighted below—that:
Show how social movements have made important strides even during dark times.
Help students explore other moments in history when elites have mobilized to roll back racial and economic progress.
Highlight examples of “divide and conquer” politics.
Help students explore aspects of Trump’s agenda—immigration, the environment, Muslims, civil liberties, the press, and economic inequality.
It’s vital that we introduce our students to the individuals and social movements that have made this country more just. As Howard Zinn reminded us:
To omit, or to minimize, these voices of resistance is to create the idea that power only rests with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth, who own the newspapers and the television stations. People who seem to have no power, whether working people, people of color, or women—once they organize and protest and create movements—have a voice no government can suppress.
Civil rights organizer Ella Baker said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.” The role of teachers is crucial in this freedom struggle. Please check out the lessons and resources below.