Hollywood and Howard Zinn’s Marxist Education Project – by Michelle Malkin


The two most important questions for society, according to the Greek philosopher Plato, are these: What will we teach our children? And who will teach them? Left-wing celebrities have teamed up with one of America’s most radical historians to take control of the classroom in the name of “social justice.” Parents, beware: This Hollywood-backed Marxist education project may be coming to a school near you.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, the History Channel aired “The People Speak” — a documentary based on Marxist academic Howard Zinn’s capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, “A People’s History of the United States.” The film was co-produced and bankrolled by Zinn’s Boston neighbor and mentee Matt Damon. An all-star cast of Bush-bashing liberals, including Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, Bruce Springsteen, Marisa Tomei and Eddie Vedder, will appear. Zinn’s work is a self-proclaimed “biased account” of American history that rails against white oppressors, the free market and the military.

Zinn’s objective is not to impart knowledge, but to instigate “change” and nurture a political “counterforce” (an echo of fellow radical academic and Hugo Chavez admirer Bill Ayers’ proclamation of education as the “motor-force of revolution”). Teachers are not supposed to teach facts in the school of Zinn. “There is no such thing as pure fact,” Zinn asserts. Educators are not supposed to emphasize individual academic achievement. They are supposed to “empower” student collectivism by emphasizing “the role of working people, women, people of color and organized social movements.” School officials are not facilitators of intellectual inquiry, but leaders of “social struggle.”

Zinn and company have launched a nationwide education project in conjunction with the documentary. “A people’s history requires a people’s pedagogy to match,” Zinn preaches. The project is a collaboration between two “social justice” activist groups, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change.

Rethinking Schools recently boasted of killing a social studies textbook series in the Milwaukee school system because it “failed to teach social responsibility.” A Rethinking Schools guide on the September 11 jihadi attacks instructs teachers to “nurture student empathy” for our enemies and dissuade students from identifying as Americans.

“It’s our job to reach beyond this chauvinism.” And a Rethinking Schools guide to early childhood education written by Ann Pelo disparages “a too-heavy focus on academic skills” in favor of “social justice and ecological teaching” for preschoolers.

Teaching for Change’s objective, in Obama-esque fashion, is to train students not to achieve actual proficiency in core academic subjects, but to inspire them to “become active global citizens.” Today’s non-achieving aspirants are tomorrow’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, after all.

No part of the school curriculum is immune from the social justice makeover crew. Zinn’s partners at Rethinking Schools have even issued teaching guides to “Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers” — which rejects the traditional white male patriarchal methods of teaching computation and statistics in favor of p.c.-ified number-crunching:

“‘Rethinking Mathematics’ is divided into four parts. The first part is devoted to a broad view of mathematics that includes historical and cultural implications. Part Two includes nine classroom narratives in which teachers describe lessons they have used that infuse social justice issues into their mathematics curriculum. Included here … an AP calculus lesson on income distribution. The third part contains three detailed classroom experiences/lessons. These include a physical depiction of the inequitable distribution of the world’s wealth, the results of a student investigation into how many U.S. presidents owned slaves, and a wonderful classroom game called ‘Transnational Capital Auction’ in which students take on the role of leaders of Third World countries bidding competitively for new factories from a multinational corporation. …

“Short lessons, provocative cartoons and snippets of statistics are scattered throughout ‘Rethinking Mathematics.’ A partial list of topics includes racial profiling, unemployment rate calculation, the war in Iraq, environmental racism, globalization, wealth distribution and poverty, wheelchair ramps, urban density, HIV/AIDS, deconstructing Barbie, junk food advertising to children and lotteries.” (from a review by James V. Rauff of Millikin University)

Our students will continue to come in dead last in international testing. But no worries. With Howard Zinn and Hollywood leftists in charge, empty-headed young global citizens will have heavier guilt, wider social consciences and more hatred for America than any other students in the world.

  • Lary9

    . All I asked was where's your stats. I didn't insult you or cast aspersions at your politics. Why do you rudely assume that I'm your adversary. You don't even know me.I would have preferred a supporting reference to the statement about charity, etc. It's easy to make such grandiose pronouncements without citing a source. For example: only 14% of serving Republican senators actually have military service whereas 68% of Democratic senators are veterans. This is according to the USG Founders Research Group in a 2003 index. That's a stat. No need for all that toxic hostility, youngster.

  • WFB2

    Not my say so. The Constitution was specifically written to protect the citizenry from a potentially tyrannical government – not to establish a carefree welfare state. Government as servant, not master. Loss of individual liberty is the price to be paid for relying on government benefits to help you function. When the government pays you do what you're told. Liberty or tyranny – take your pick. You can't have both. That's the dividing line between conservatives (freedom) and liberals (government dominance). Read some F.A. Hayek's books (e.g.; “The Fatal Conceit”, “The Road to Serfdom”).

  • Lary9

    I disagree with you but not with the high value you attach to personal liberty and the intolerability of tyrants. There I am with you 100%. For anyone to assume otherwise would be a foolish mistake. Where we differ is in our view of how best to adapt to modernity. With global populations exploding and countries like India and China sure to demand more and more of the world's GDP, we need new solutions. With social, economic and cultural problems proliferating here at home we need new paradigms. National demographics are changing so rapidly that conservative sociological understandings of 'average American' and the 'American Dream' need reconsidering. We need to retool. I believe that conservatism keeps the baby and the bath water. Liberals throw out the dirty bath water–and the baby too often. We need to find common ground. Conservatives need to conserve those things which are conservable. The Left Wing needs to be certain that 'liberal' doesn't become libertine. Both sides of the aisle come to the table with an important perspective on what needs to be done. Time was when we could talk with one another and reason together. You want your country back, right? Before and after the Revolution what do you think Jefferson, Adams, Washington and Madison did? Yell and scream and call each other names? Or reason together? I know my answer.

  • aspacia


    You directed your comment to “asp,” a deadly viper. Consequently, I responded with toxic words. That is, you did insult me.

    I did support my claim, albeit, not from statistical research, but from personal experience, however, that, in itself is invalid. Too many students are exposed to liberal professors' political rants in math, science, music, or numerous other disciplines.


  • WFB2

    Your points taken. The contemporary political dichotomy can be traced to the time of the French Revolution: a by-product of the collision of rising urban industrialism with long-established rural feudalism and an outmoded, decadent monarchy. Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! The fraternity aspect fell by the wayside as the liberty v. equality conflict sharpened. So here we are 200 years later in the same dynamic. But the political left comes in two flavors: liberalism and collectivism (communism). Both hate conservatives as impediments to change. The radical left is militantly revolutionary, utopian, messianic, angry and dangerous while posing as champions of “social justice”. Caveat emptor.

    Anyway thanks for the discussion.

  • Lary9

    You betcha.

  • Lary9

    I put an abbreviated header on some replies because occasionally my
    responses have posted under the wrong comment.

  • aspacia

    Obviously, you do not know U.S. history. Our founders continually fought, and undermined each other. Hence, the numerous checks and balances in government. Adams hated Jefferson, Ben Franklin disliked Burr. Read The First American, Chenow's Hamilton, or McCullough's John Adams for insight.

  • Lary9

    Here's what I heard:
    Adams and Jefferson were great friends until just before the election of
    John Adams as the 2nd. president. It was during this one-term largely
    ineffective administration that Jefferson was his unreconciled VP. At this
    point they had already parted ways. Finally, years later, as they approached
    the end of life, they began to exchange letters. Some feel it was a
    reconciliation of sorts. Some not. Ironically, both died on July 4, 1826
    within hours of each other. In fact, it is reported that Adams said, on his
    deathbed, “Jefferson survives me!” In fact, unknown to Adams Jefferson had
    died a few hours earlier. Now that's what I heard.
    By the way, did you mean David McCullough, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the
    National Book Award and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? That
    McCullough? If so, I read him.
    You've got great factoids, Data Boy.

  • aspacia

    Yes, I was referring to McCullough, Chernow and Brands also provide interesting insights into Franklin and Hamilton.

  • http://www.essaywriter.co.uk/ essay

    I think that there are more meaningful movies than trying to tell people about a country's history and strategies. There is no point in showing the people how did the US become to power and get rich, but there is a good point in trying to become one. Strategies are good and it is very hard to conceptualize, if someone has a problem with the outcome then he should be following the footsteps of that country or try to become a better country. Howard Zinn must have in mind that he will educate the people but there are more better education subjects that he can choose to teach to the people.

    Mark – education with good purpose

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