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NY Daily News


  • Originally published 07/28/2013

    Gabriel Schoenfeld: Mitch Daniels is on Solid Ground about Howard Zinn

    Gabriel Schoenfeld is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.It seems that the ghost of Howard Zinn needs to be exorcised yet again. The most recent siting of the late historian’s visage came earlier this month at Indiana’s Purdue University. Zinn’s magnum opus, “A People’s History of the United States,” was discussed in some emails written by Indiana’s former governor, Mitch Daniels, now president of Purdue, which recently came to light thanks to the state’s freedom of information act.“A truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page” is what Daniels said of the book in a 2010 email to one of his staffers. “Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before any more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?”Daniels is being pilloried for this by some on the left and in the media as an opponent of academic freedom. “Mitch Daniels looked to censor opponents” was the headline of an Associated Press story on July 16. “Astonishing and shocking,” said Cary Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois, as quoted by the AP.

  • Originally published 07/19/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: In Defense of Sex Scandals

    Forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned: I cheated on my wife. I brought shame and dishonor to her, and to my children. But I have asked them to forgive me.And now I’m asking voters to forgive me, too.Welcome to our political culture of sexual confession. Pioneered by Bill Clinton, who groveled on TV after his affair with Monica Lewinsky was exposed, confession has become an invaluable weapon for leaders who are caught with their proverbial pants down.Witness the fates of Clinton’s fellow Southerners David Vitter and Mark Sanford. Vitter won re-election to his Louisiana Senate seat in 2010 after admitting a “serious sin” involving prostitutes. Earlier this year, former South Carolina Gov. Sanford captured a House seat after acknowledging an extramarital affair.

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What Happened to Plain Old Summer Camp?

    Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."I went to three different summer camps when I was a kid, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I swam, hiked and played sports (badly). And sometimes, I did nothing at all. That’s what summer — and camp — were all about.But times have changed. About 20 years ago, so-called “specialty camps” began to replace the general-interest kind that I attended. So today you can go to camps that stress particular activities, from cooking and computers to robotics and rocketry.Even at general-interest camps, meanwhile, kids are much more likely to receive professional athletic coaching, top-of-the-line art and music instruction, or even SAT-prep classes. Camp isn’t just for fun anymore. It’s about building a resume, a skill-set, a profile, a future. Like school, camp now prepares young people to win the great Race of Life.Why?...

  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: What's Wrong With the Slavery Math Lesson?

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of education and history at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”In 1941, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a report condemning racist school textbooks in New York City. Music books routinely referred to blacks as "darkeys," while literature anthologies called them "coons" or "Sambos." Worst of all, American history textbooks depicted slavery as a genteel institution developed by benevolent white Southerners to "civilize" savage, ignorant Africans.All of these books were profoundly offensive to the city's African-American population, of course. But they were also full of lies, as NAACP secretary Walter White emphasized. "This study was made not on a basis of racial sensitiveness or pride," White wrote, describing the NAACP's textbook report, "but on the highest plane of historical accuracy and objectivity." Indeed, the report drew on research by pioneering black historian Carter G. Woodson to refute the textbooks' cheery portrait of life under slavery.

  • Originally published 02/06/2013

    Jonathan Zimmerman: The Silly Debate over Ed Koch's Sexuality

    Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history and education at New York University. He is the author of “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.”Was Ed Koch gay? I don’t know, and I don’t care. And neither should you.When the former New York mayor died last week, we heard all the old cliches about why he should have come out of the closet-or why it was necessary to “out” him. If he were openly gay, the story goes, he would have done more to fight AIDS during the early years of the epidemic. And he would have made it easier for other people to come out, too.But as Koch correctly insisted, his sexual orientation was nobody’s business but his own. And to see why, let’s imagine that Koch wasn't male and gay, but female and straight.Then let’s suppose that Ms. Koch — like 40% of American women — had undergone an abortion. Would it be OK to “out” her for that, too?...

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