Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

September 18, 2013

House of Burgess: Read a banned book

Celebrate disputed authors from A to Zinn.

I felt a surge of righteous indignation July 17 when I first read the February 2010 emails sent by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels regarding Howard Zinn’s classic book “A People’s History of the United States.” The documents were released by Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request. When Daniels found out the book was being assigned as required coursework at the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Education — my alma mater — he asked for it to be banned. As a lover of words, history and intellectual freedom, this got my blood up.

I wrote current Purdue University President Daniels requesting an interview July 24 after the controversy broke. I held off publishing my original column, “A People’s History of Mitch Daniels,” for a whole week while I went back and forth with Brian Zink, associate director of editorial for the Purdue University Office of Marketing and Media. Zink finally informed me Daniels had no interest in answering my questions.

“For your reference, however, and hopefully to answer most of your questions, [Daniels] suggested that I send you a letter he wrote to faculty on this issue,” Zink wrote July 30. What was sent was a version of a statement he had initially released, albeit much revised. In his original July 17 rebuttal, Daniels defended his dim view of Zinn’s work by citing historians like Arthur M. Schlesinger, Michael Kazin and Oscar Handlin.

“Stanford history education expert Sam Wineburg cautioned that exposing children to a heavily filtered and weighted interpretation such as Zinn’s work is irresponsible when ‘we are talking about how we educate the young, those who do not yet get the interpretive game,’” wrote Daniels. These passages were later removed by Daniels after he received a resounding rebuke from the very academics he turned to for support. “I don’t know if Daniels should be fired, but I agree that he should be roundly condemned for his attempts to stop students from reading Zinn’s big book and for calling Zinn a liar,” wrote Kazin on July 18 in Academe Magazine. “Mitch Daniels uses my work to defend his shameless attempts to censor free speech,” Wineburg wrote July 18 on Twitter. “Shame!” (Sadly, Schlesinger died in 2007 at 89, and Handlin followed in 2011 at 95. Neither was available for comment.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • Schools need kids' parents For school-age children in southern Miami County — and their parents — this is a seminal week. Classes start at Maconaquah schools on Friday.School starts for the rest of the Kokomo area next week.Before your children head back to school, ensure they

    July 29, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

  • LETTERS: No excuse letting trimmings rot at curb No excuse for letting trimmings rot at curbWe live in a recently annexed, east-side subdivision — a nice, clean, well-kept subdivision where almost all homeowners take pride in and maintain their homes and lawns.Before the annexation, we paid for our

    July 29, 2014

  • JEFFREY McCALL: All things Hillary are not news, just distractions This column has nothing to do with who should or will win the presidential election in 2016. It has nothing to do with partisan politics of any flavor. This column does, however, assess how television is oversaturating the "news" agenda with countles

    July 29, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: World is rising up to meet Putin's thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 28, 2014

  • LETTERS: Parents taking fun out of youth sports Parents taking fun out of youth sports I enjoyed reading the article, "Nation's youth sports leagues on troubling decline," by Bill Stanczykiewicz, CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, and the last paragraph, a quote by Dr. Bill Dexter, president of t

    July 28, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: A trip to end all trips My wife is planning a very exciting vacation to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. This was a big surprise to me. Not the vacation part, but the 35 years. I thought it was 34. Right now she is on the back porch, the patio table stacked high with

    July 28, 2014

  • WEEKLY WRAP: Legal marriages should be honored Legal marriages should be honoredAn eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.The couple has properly obtained a marria

    July 28, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll