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.

Don’t Shoot: Respect, Guide and Inspire

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Mark Naison: I am haunted by the death of Michael Brown because I have worked with young people in highly charged settings and have seen what they can accomplish when people who command their respect guide them, challenge them, inspire them and love them.

Arne Gets An Earful!

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Mark Naison: I asked for a two-year moratorium on all these policies — no more school closings, no more VAM, no more charter school creation — and a new effort by the US Department Education to have teachers voices have a primary role in shaping Department policy rather than business leaders.

Teacher Temps Can’t Move Children Out of Poverty

Teacher Temps

Mark Naison: One of the things I am most worried about in the rush to online learning and disposable teacher temps is the elimination of relationship building and mentoring, which in my experience, is key in having education move people out of poverty and promote upward mobility.

Why Charter School Scandals Resemble the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Charter School Scandals

Mark Naison: While the comparison is not exact, there are some powerful similarities between what happened to subprime mortgages and what is currently taking place with charter schools, another “short cut” to opportunity which has been seized upon by elites for financial and political gain, to the detriment of those for whom the charter school was initially designed to help.

Badass Teachers Assn

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Mark Naison: As The Badass Teachers Association celebrates its first year I’m utterly stunned by the phenomenal growth. I have never been part of any organization that has grown this fast.

Fighting Common Core Across the Political Spectrum

Fighting Common Core

Mark Naison: Industrial union organizers insisted, to their credit, that Black, Latino and Asian workers had to be included in any movement to achieve collective bargaining rights and respect at the workplace, and made that a central part of the organizing strategy.

Waking Up to Education Activism

Education Activism

Mark Naison: I am going to speak up, and speak out until the testing madness is pushed out of our public schools and until we built a school experience around what empowers and engages children and makes teachers want to remain in their jobs for life.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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