RE-THINKING U.S. HISTORY: What Your Teachers Never Told You


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Wendi Fein



Turn your history course from boring to beneficial!  We’ve all sat through those dull history classes where the adopted text is the main source of information.  Recently, however, historians such as Howard Zinn and James Loewen have revealed the more interesting and controversial aspects of U.S. History in publications such as The People’s History of the United States and Lies My Teacher Told Me.   After taking Re-Thinking U.S. History, you will energize your teaching, bring your classroom history curriculum up-to-date, and stimulate critical thinking and debate on key issues in United States history.  This course will also show you how real stories about real people are the key to getting your students to enjoy history.   Moreover, through this course, you will understand that you can still encourage patriotism while revealing the human cost in the development of the United States.

            Using a variety of Internet media sources, recent journal articles, and chapters from books, teachers in this class will review the latest research on re-thinking our history from the view of the common people. This course is most applicable to middle school and high school U.S. History teachers.

            Your text cost will vary with your choice.  All other articles and readings will be online.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1.                That offering multiple perspectives on U.S. History increases opportunities for critical thinking.

2.                That the voices of the common people increase student interest in historical subjects

3.                That the development of empathy is a crucial component of any history class

4.                That comparing and contrasting primary documents is a tool to engage higher-level thinking

5.                That recent historical resources provide meaningful stories easily integrated into history units

6.                Learn how the politics of patriotism can lead to biased historical information.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Books are listed in the bibliography. All books are available on Also check your local library system. All other readings will be available online for specific assignments.

None. All reading is online.


Cost of text depends of your book choice.


Wendi Fein, M.A., enthusiastically brings her years of teaching experiences since 1980 to the development and implementation of her courses. Presently, she is teaching Adult Education, Developmental Math and English as a Second Language at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma Washington.  

She spent 25 years teaching in K-12 public schools with a focus on special education, math, dance, PE, study skills and English/World Cultures. In addition, Wendi has traveled and volunteered extensively, bringing her stories and passion for human rights and equity into the classroom. Wendi holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Special Education.


RE-THINKING U.S. HISTORY: What Your Teachers Never Told You



Bigelow, Bill and Peterson, Bob, editors.  Rethinking Columbus:  The Next 500 years.  1998.  ISBN:  094296120X. Information and activities for elementary through high school.  The assignments and readings show the “discovery” of America from the native point of view. (


Loewen, James.  Lies My Teacher Told Me:  Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.  New Press,   2008.  464 pp.  ISBN:  1595583262  New and Revised Edition available Hardback, while earlier editions are available in paperback and on audiobook. (


Raphael, Ray.  Founding Myths: Stories that Hide our Patriotic Past.  New Press, 2004.  ISBN:  1565849213 Author includes a “note to teachers” and offers a website with lesson plans. (


Takaki, Ronald.  A Different Mirror:  A History of Multicultural America.  Back Bay Books, 1994.  520 pp.

ISBN:  0316831115 Offers the voices of various ethnic groups and the common people. (


Takaki, Ronald.  A Larger Memory; A History of Our Diversity, with Voices. Back Bay Books, 1998, 384 pp. ISBN:  0316311626 A more condensed book but similar to his other book listed above. (


Zinn, Howard.  A People’s History of the United States.  I recommend the abridged teacher’s edition, available on  However, all editions of this book are good and are available used.


Zinn, Howard.  The Twentieth Century:  A People’s History.  Harper Perennial, 2003.  ISBN:  0060530340 Similar to Zinn’s other books but covers only the 20th century.  (


Zinn, Howard.  Voices of a People’s History of the United States.  Seven Stories Press.  2004. Handy collection of primary documents for high school and college students.  A teacher guide is available as well as an audiotape of readings.  (Available on