If the Philadelphia city council gets its way, students in that city's high schools will learn a different version of U.S. history -- the version portrayed in socialist historian Howard Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States,” the Daily Caller reported Sunday.
“Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’ emphasizes the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history; not simply the version retold by those powerful enough to ensure history remembers their actions in a positive light, regardless of the truth,” the resolution says.
The district superintendent and school board still sets the curriculum, but the Daily Caller said council members Jim Kenny and Jannie Blackwell believe Philadelphia students need formal instruction in recognizing privilege and inequality.
“Council does hereby recognize the need for students to be taught an unvarnished, honest version of U.S. history that empowers students to differentiate between moments that have truly made our country great versus those that established systemic inequality, privilege, and prejudice which continue to reinforce modern society’s most difficult issues,” the resolution adds.
Zinn's book is highly thought of among liberals, but conservatives say it is social activism masquerading as fact.
"Former Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels believed strongly that the book had no place in K-12 classrooms–an opinion that landed him in trouble with liberal academics when he started his new job as president of Purdue University, the Daily Caller said.
“We must not falsely teach American history in our schools,” Daniels said, defending his opposition to Zinn’s work. “Howard Zinn, by his own admission a biased writer, purposely falsified American history. His books have no more place in Indiana history classrooms than phrenology or Lysenkoism would in our biology classes or the `Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ in world history courses.”
Zinn, the Daily Caller added, was sympathetic to communist dictators like Fidel Castro.
"Like Zinn, Councilwoman Blackwell defended the Castro regime," Robby Soave said.
“Castro did not do everything wrong, or he would not have lasted so long," she told CBS.
Will Bunch, a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News, praised the decision, and said Zinn's book helped him become a radical leftist.
“Although readers here assume because of my fondness for the radical ’60s that I emerged from the womb carrying a picture of Chairman Mao, the truth is that I was a bland center-left voters and a pretty “balanced” journalist in the ’90s,” he wrote. “Reading Zinn helped me understand what went wrong, and how everyday people could fight to get things right.”
Under Mao, Soave added, an estimated 50 million people died from execution and starvation.
As we reported in October 2011:
According to the Global Museum of Communism, Josef Stalin was responsible for the death of some 20 million Soviet citizens, while the policies of Mao Zedong were responsible for the death of 65 million. Ho Chi Minh is responsible for the death of an estimated 500,000, while Fidel Castro is responsible for the deaths of about 20,000 Cubans.
Worldwide, over 100 million have been killed by the ideology Bunch, Blackwell and Kenney want taught to Philadelphia students.
"There has been no word yet on whether district officials plan to turn Philadelphia students into apologists for mass-murdering dictators," the Daily Caller said.
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