Press Releases

February 21, 2018

Student Strikes Have Worked Before, Could Change School Safety Debate, Says Penn GSE Education Historian


Education Historian Jonathan Zimmerman is available for comment.

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Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman

“The student walkouts happening in Florida and around the country echo student strikes through the 20th century, protesting for civil rights and better learning conditions. History shows these protests can work. If our nation’s kids refused to come back to the classroom until Congress acted, Congress would act. Whatever it did wouldn’t be perfect, and it wouldn’t satisfy every side in our gun debate. But it would surely be better than what our kids have now, which isn’t protecting them at all.” 




  • Zimmerman is one of the foremost education historians working today. 
  • His two most recent books are The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools and Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • His research tracks how political and social movements come to shape education, in such areas as sex education, alcohol, and free speech. 
  • Zimmerman has written for the New York TimesWashington PostPhiladelphia InquirerChronicle of Higher EducationThe New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic