Double Whammy: School Reform Amidst Austerity

basketball court

Mark Naison: the most tragic thing about this kind of austerity is that school districts have shown they are far more willing to use increasingly scarce funds on testing and evaluation rather than art, music, sports, gym, and school counselors and librarians.

When Profits Rise but Wages Stagnate

Greed wide

Mark Naison: The last time we had an extended period of profits rising while wages stagnated was the 1920’s – many historians view this as the most significant underlying cause of the Great Depression.

My Vision for Revitalizing Public Education

Mark Naison: I think you begin with creating a child-friendly environment. That means sharply reducing the number of tests, leaving ample room for exercise and play, giving primacy to the arts, and having instructions in subject areas, when possible, incorporate hands-on learning and project based activity.

Diane Ravitch Warnings Ignored

Diane Ravitch

Mark Naison: Ravitch, an Undersecretary of Education in the Bush Administration, and an initial supporter of “No Child Left Behind” warned against many of the policies that are destroying our public education system.

Are Our Best Teachers an Endangered Species?

teacher pencil

Mark Naison: Given the fault lines that have been revealed in our society by Hurricane Sandy, the last election, and the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, do we really want to make our schools so impersonal and bureaucratic that the best teachers leave

Hope for Embattled Educators

Standardized Testing Students wide

Mark Naison: We now have a Counter Narrative, based on strong scholarship as well as experience, which warns that Reform policies are likely to widen educational disparities rooted in race and class and weaken the nation’s schools by driving out the most committed teachers.

School Closings and Public Policy: The Anatomy of a Catastrophe

michael bloomberg

Mark Naison: The idea of closing low performing schools, designated as such entirely on the basis of student test scores, removing half of their teaching staff and all of their administrators, and replacing them with a new school, has tremendous appeal among business leaders and almost none among educators.

Occupy Sandy Builds on Longstanding Progressive Tradition

occupy sandy food line

Mark Naison: The Occupy Movement is making a turn to communal action and mutual aid that the most effective radical organizations in American history all employed at key points in their history.

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