Forum on Teaching Cold War in Schools to Feature Three Pulitzer Prize Winners

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BOSTON – Three Pulitzer Prize winners, two retired teachers, and the director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will be among the speakers at “Tear Down This Wall!,” a Pioneer Institute forum on teaching the Cold War in schools to be held Thursday, March 26th at 8:00 a.m. at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. Viewers can watch this event online.

One keynote address will be delivered by Anne Applebaum, a historian, journalist, and columnist for The Washington Post and Slate. Applebaum’s book, Gulag: A History, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. Her most recent book, Iron Curtain, was nominated for a National Book Award and won the 2013 Cundill Prize for historical literature.

A second keynote will be delivered by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and the bestselling sequels Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt. He also wrote the authorized biography of President Reagan, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, and has written extensively for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Harper’s.

Following the keynote addresses and audience questions, a panel discussion will be moderated by William Taubman, the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Amherst College. Professor Taubman is the author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2004 and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography in 2003.

The panel will include two retired social studies teachers, Richard Goldberg of Brookline High School and Robert Kostka of Bridgewater-Raynham High School; Harry Wu, founder and executive director of the Laogai Research Foundation; and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Director, Thomas Putnam.

Thomas Birmingham, Pioneer Institute’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Education, will offer introductory remarks. Birmingham is the former president of the Massachusetts Senate and a principal author of Massachusetts’ landmark 1993 Education Reform Act, which led the commonwealth to historic gains in student achievement.

In late 2012, a state commission recommended making passage of a U.S. History MCAS test a high school graduation requirement for Massachusetts public school students. The commission’s report cited a Pioneer Institute poll that found that the commonwealth’s parents, teachers, and legislators all support restoring the U.S. History MCAS graduation requirement, which had long been planned to go into effect, but was dropped by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2009.

The event is co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Concord Review, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, the American Principles Project, the National Association of Scholars, the Museum of World War II – Boston, and the New England Churchillians.

In recent years, Pioneer Institute has actively promoted rigorous, content-based academic standards that include U.S. History and civics instruction. The Institute has published  recent reports and polling on the lack of understanding of U.S. History, which has largely been neglected in public school instruction, and sponsored a U.S. History essay contest for Massachusetts high school students.

Pioneer has also hosted numerous events featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historians and nationally-recognized figures on the Founding era, the Civil War, slavery, the Civil Rights era, the Supreme Court of the United States, Mark Twain, and Women’s history.

A book signing featuring Anne Applebaum, Edmund Morris, William Taubman, and Harry Wu will follow the event.

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.