Mark Naison

Mark Naison is a Professor of African-American Studies and History at Fordham University and Director of Fordham’s Urban Studies Program. He is the author of three books and over 100 articles on African-American History, urban history, and the history of sports.

About Mark Naison

Common Core Disregards the Lessons of American History

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Mark Naison: Common Core is different. Here is a federal education policy, a blueprint for national standards (which is really a national curriculum) that no grassroots movements, to my knowledge, have ever called for.

Kids Under Pressure

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Mark Naison: All over the nation, stories abound of classrooms becoming zones of extreme stress, with teachers and students displaying symptoms of anxiety, rage ,and depression in response to the new demands.

A Long Path to Anti-Racist Scholarship and Activism

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Mark Naison: For me, anti-racism was something I wanted to live in real time and space with real people, not just pursued as an abstract principle, and I wanted my anti-racism to connect me to Black people rather than separate me from them.

Fixing Our Schools

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Mark Naison: I thought it might be appropriate to momentarily drop my Junkyard Dog/Badass Teacher persona and offer some positive ideas about how to improve our educational system.

Why I Will Never Raise My Voice Against Funding Prisoner Education

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Funding Prisoner Education: Prison now is for poor people who have broken laws that rich people are almost never jailed for.

Socialism, Liberty, and Government and Corporate Power

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Socialism and Liberty — In the US today, policies that are egalitarian in intent often become the opposite in implementation.

Standing Up for Children and for Freedom of Speech

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Freedom of Speech — Never has intimidation and the suppression of free speech become so epidemic in school districts throughout the nation.

Tough Questions to Ask About Charter Schools

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Mark Naison: We have now had six years of strong support for Charters from the Obama Administration, backed up by Race to the Top money. It is time to ask some hard questions.

How Teachers Can Save Their Careers

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Teaching Careers –School Reformers are making a systematic effort to drive the best veteran teachers out of the profession.

Why a “One Size Fits All” Curriculum Is a Catastrophe

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Common Core Standards — If we don’t change course fast, we are going to lose a generation of people of incredible talents.

Mister President: Change Course on Education

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Mark Naison: Your education policies will leave as much a blemish on your Presidency as the Vietnam War did on the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson.

BATS, Diane Ravitch, and Bill DeBlasio’s Victory

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Mark Naison: Although education was not the only area where DeBlasio sought to sharply distinguish himself from his predecessor, opposition to excessive testing and school closings , and support for pre-school and after school programs, were pivots of his winning formula

Melissa Tomlinson’s “Rosa Parks” Moment

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Mark Naison: Think about what just happened. A public school teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, with no name recognition and no official position has, through courage and force of intellect, made herself a major figure in public discourse about education policy.

School Reform, Schools Closings, and Historic Memory: A Tragedy in the Making

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Mark Naison: More and more, the schools in poor and working class neighborhoods are filled with young teachers who don’t live in those communities, don’t know anything about their histories, and stay only a few years.

The Making of an Education Catastrophe

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Mark Naison: Here’s how a college professor whose field is African American history discovered that public schools and public school teachers were under attack and decided to step forward in defense of both.

Urban School Closings

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Mark Naison: More than 3,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the latest round of School Closings in Philadelphia, more than 80 percent of them Black

Teaching Is Relationship Building: Something School Reformers Often Forget

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Mark Naison: If you rotate teachers in and out of schools at a dizzying rate and create pressures that drive them out of the profession after a few years, you will destroy the relationship building component that is at the heart of great teaching.

On Test Scores and Poverty

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Mark Naison: The wealthy send their children to private schools with few tests and a huge emphasis on the arts; the poor and the rapidly shrinking middle class send their children to stripped-down test factories with beaten down and demoralized teachers.

What Education Activists Can Learn From Vietnam War Protesters

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Mark Naison: If you think something is crazy and wrong, and believe that to the core of your being, say so even if no one around you is willing to support you.

Zimmerman Goes Free: Thoughts on Saturday’s Verdict

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Mark Naison: There was no mutual understanding on that fateful night in Florida. If George Zimmerman had been more respectful, and more tolerant, and more secure, Trayvon Martin would have survived that encounter and lived a productive life.

Closing Public Schools to Build Luxury Housing

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Mark Naison – Approximately 1/6 of all apartments in this city are used as “pied at terres” (part time residences) for wealthy people from other countries and we want to close public schools to give them more.

Mentors, Not Tests, Move Young People Out of Poverty

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Mark Naison: Virtually everyone I interviewed who was able to move from a working class childhood to professional status had someone invest large amounts of time and energy in expanding their “cultural capital” by building their self confidence as well as their skills.

Figthing for the Life of Public Education

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Mark Naison: As I watch the teaching profession be destroyed before my eyes, through bi-partisan initiatives that are difficult to fight, I am filled with anger. I hate what is going on, and will fight it with every ounce of my energy, but as a historian, I am hardly surprised.

Race to the Top Redistributes Income to the Top

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Mark Naison: Race to the Top redistributes income and not in a good way. Why has this ambitious education reform effort become an economic engine in reverse for poor and working class families.

Other People’s Children

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Mark Naison: School reform, as it is being implemented today, destabilizes poor communities and inflicts a regimen of test prep on the nation’s children which destroys their joy of learning but the policy makers are buffered from the consequences of the decisions they make for other people’s children.

Why Create a Teacher Oral History Project?

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Mark Naison: Our goal is to have teachers around the country to describe how they have experienced No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, and the policies stemming from them, in their professional lives.

Has the War on Teachers Morphed Into a War on Children?

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Mark Naison: As I have become involved with an Opt Out movement in New York State that has inspired thousands of families to demand that their children be allowed to sit out state tests, I have become even more appalled by what current school policies are doing to children.

A Teacher’s Message to President Obama: Teachers Not the Problem, Poverty Is

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Mark Naison: “For anyone who says teachers are to blame for our students failing, I have one thing to say: How DARE you? Teachers are heroes to a lot of children who have none!”

Why School Test Resistance May Be About to Sweep the Nation

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Mark Naison: As high-stakes tests have proliferated in our public schools, and are increasingly used as the basis of closing schools and firing teachers, more and more people despair of challenging policies that have bi-partisan support, are championed by the media, have the nation’s economic elite pressing for their implementation.

Why Tenure Matters

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Mark Naison: Workers who approach their jobs with real autonomy and creativity are a threat to a system that thrives on intimidation and micromanagement as ways of extracting “productivity.” And in which productivity gains almost exclusively accrue to those at the top.

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