Zinn events keep spotlight on Daniels controversy

The controversy about former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ emails criticizing the late historian Howard Zinn will continue this month as professors, students and staff members gather at universities around the nation to read Zinn’s writings.

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There will be a “Zinn Read-in” at IUPUI in Indianapolis on Nov. 4 and another one Nov. 5 at Purdue University in West Lafayette. Other campuses will hold similar events this month.

Daniels, who is now president of Purdue, called on members of his administration in 2010 emails to make sure Zinn’s book “A People’s History of the United States” was not being taught in any public school classrooms or in professional development programs for K-12 teachers. Those emails were publicized by the Associated Press in July, sparking national criticism and debate.

In a blog promoting the Zinn Read-in at IUPUI, its organizers say the event is meant to protest what they perceive as Daniels’ attempt to censor Zinn, as well as a larger education reform effort, which Daniels embraced, that they say attacks teachers and teachers unions, seeks to privatize public education, and undermines “real democracy” in education.

“I think it’s an important educational moment,” said IUPUI historian Jason Kelly, noting that the Zinn Read-in will highlight what it means to have democratic education, the best ways to conduct political and civic discourse, and the ongoing struggles worldwide of minorities and workers.

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