Dear H-PAD Supporter,
As you know, social studies teachers, librarians, and local school boards are on the frontlines of the right-wing’s vicious attack on educational freedom. Teachers are being threatened, attacked, and fired. Members of school boards have been either voted out of office or forced to resign. Librarians are under intense pressure to get rid of books a particular parent doesn’t like. University professors are not immune from such attacks, but many of us do operate in a safer, more protected environment. For that reason, H-PAD has joined with the Zinn Education Project to form Historians-On-Call in your state.
The Zinn Education Project promotes the teaching of history by providing professional development and resources (lessons and articles) to provide teachers and students with a more complex, accurate and engaging understanding of history than found in traditional textbooks and curriculum. Lately, due to the attacks on teachers, promoting a more complex and empowering study of history has also meant defending educators’ right to teach history. Zinn is in constant contact with teachers and receives a number of reports about attacks on specific teachers, problems arising with school boards, attempts to ban books, and the like. You can read more about Zinn on their “about” page. Our goal is to stand in solidarity with educators who are under attack. This is a direct contribution we can make to oppose the right-wing’s lies and distortions about what is and what is not being taught in schools and to stand up for educational freedom.
H-PAD will organize history professors who are committed to responding to calls for help from teachers, school board members, or librarians in their state who need our support. We will work with the Zinn Project to coordinate professors and school teachers working together. How we respond depends on what is asked, each historian’s abilities, and the specific situation. But to give you a sense of the possibilities, here is a list of potential responses:
· testify before or lobby school boards
· meet or talk with local high school teachers
· pay attention to local school board elections, vote, and encourage colleagues to vote
· meet with principals and other school leaders, such as social studies district coordinators
· write op-eds and letters to the editor or meet with newspaper editorial boards
· appear on local television, cable, radio, and/or podcasts
· weigh in on proposed new or amended social studies standards
You might do just one of these, or something else—it will depend on what the local educators need and what you are willing to do!
Are you interested in helping join Historians-On-Call? Sign up here (or copy/paste this link into your browser: https://forms.gle/V2SDmwfz8QW7GqmVA), and we will put you and other historians in contact with local educators under fire in your state.
Margaret Power, Van Gosse and Sarah Sklaw on behalf of H-PAD