Long ago, during my childhood, school began right after Labor Day, and Columbus Day, commemorating the date Christopher Columbus discovered the New World on Oct. 12, 1492, was the first holiday of the school year.
Not anymore. Columbus Day of late has been marked by defacement of statues and hordes of angry adolescents demanding an end to the holiday. Leading young people in the hate-fest are teachers who have been educated with Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”
This semester, the Smithsonian Institution is helping. Teachers will learn new teaching strategies and receiving continuing education credits at two “teach-ins” — on Sept. 7 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and on Sept. 28 in New York City.
Both “teach-ins” are efforts of our national museum, the Smithsonian, and D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, “a project of Teaching for Change.” The invitation promises to feature “classroom resources for K-12 from Native Knowledge 360 [Degrees]” and from “the Zinn Education Project, including the campaign to abolish Columbus Day.”
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