Bill Bigelow

Let's Stop Teaching Kids that Racism and Genocide Are Normal

New York Times article, following the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the murder of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer, described the growing calls to remove monuments that celebrate the Confederacy. The article went on to cite some who balk, however, when “the symbolism is far murkier, like Christopher Columbus.”

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Indigenous People Have Rights: Why It's Time to Abolish Columbus Day

The movement to abolish Columbus Day and to establish in its place Indigenous Peoples Day continues to gather strength, as every month new school districts and colleges take action. This campaign has been given new momentum as Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas assert their treaty and human rights. Especially notable is the inspiring struggle in North Dakota to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, led by the Standing Rock Sioux.

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Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Endorses Teaching Climate Justice

In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country’s first comprehensive “climate justice” resolution. The school board voted unanimously to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities,” and called for all schools to teach a “climate justice” curriculum. The Portland resolution said that students in city schools “should develop confidence and passion when it comes to making a positive difference in society, and come to see themselves as activists and leaders for social and environmental justice—especially through seeing the diversity of people around the world who are fighting the root causes of climate change….”

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Portland School District Adopts Sweeping Climate Justice Resolution

In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.” The resolution further commits the school district to develop a plan to “address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

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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. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.

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Why It's Time to Abolish Columbus Day

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

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How the Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into Social Studies Classes

The Bill of Rights Institute. It’s a benign-sounding name. Every year, the Arlington, Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute (BRI) offers curriculum workshops throughout the country, distributes teaching materials, holds essay contests for students, and displays its wares at the National Council for the Social Studies conference.

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How the Koch Brothers Are Sneaking Their Way into Public Schools

This month in Boston, thousands of teachers will gather for the annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference.

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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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