Bill Bigelow

Bill Bigelow taught high school social studies in Portland, Ore. for almost 30 years. He is the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and the co-director of the Zinn Education Project. This project offers free materials to teach people’s history and an “If We Knew Our History” article series. Bigelow is author or co-editor of numerous books, including A People’s History for the Classroom and The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration.

Articles by this author

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Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 10:05am
The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school.
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Monday, March 10, 2014 - 7:46am
This Is What Happened When Scholastic Tried to Bring Pro-Coal Propaganda to School
While developing activities on coal and the climate crisis in 2011 for Rethinking Schools magazine, I ran across a curriculum, The United States of Energy, from Scholastic, the venerable education publisher.
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Friday, December 20, 2013 - 2:24pm
Teaching the Terrifying Math of Climate Change
Every now and then an article comes along that takes such a novel approach to an issue, I feel like I'm seeing something with new eyes.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 6:40am
Grenada: Remembering ‘A Lovely Little War’
Anti-bullying curricula are the rage these days. But as teachers endeavor to build a culture of civility among young people in school, the official history curriculum they are provided often celebrates, or at least excuses, bullying among nations.
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Friday, July 19, 2013 - 7:34am
Indiana’s Anti-Howard Zinn Witch-hunt
Howard Zinn , author of A People’s History of the United States, one of the country’s most widely read history books, died on January 27, 2010. Shortly after, then-Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels got on his computer and fired off an email to the state’s top education officials: “This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away.”
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 8:23am
Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers a Secret
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds , Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam: Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.
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Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 8:15am
An Earth Day Message: Take Heart from the Abolition Movement
On this Earth Day, those of us fighting for climate justice and an end to the world’s fossil fuel domination should take heart from the struggle against slavery.
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Monday, March 18, 2013 - 7:44am
Ten Years After: How Not to Teach About the Iraq War
In 2006, with U.S. troops occupying Iraq, the great historian and humanitarian Howard Zinn expressed his desire for what the end of the war would bring: “My hope is that the memory of death and disgrace will be so intense that the people of the United States will be able to listen to a message that the rest of the world, sobered by wars without end, can also understand: that war itself is the enemy of the human race.”
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Monday, January 28, 2013 - 7:18am
The Poison We Never Talk About in School
The most dangerous substance in the world is barely mentioned in the school curriculum. Coal. According to the International Energy Agency, burning coal creates more greenhouse gases than any other source—including oil. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and arguably the world’s foremost climatologist, has called coal “the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on the planet.”
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 12:00pm
Rethinkin' Lincoln on the 150th Birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation
Here's a history quiz to use with people you run into today: Ask them who ended slavery.
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