Mark Naison: The percentage of Black teachers in US schools has gone down dramatically, test-based school closings have destabilized neighborhoods, teacher morale has plummeted, teacher shortages plague many states, and stress levels among the nation’s students have risen to dangerous levels.
Mark Naison: Almost immediately, students at the school responded to the catastrophe that befell them by organizing protests against the proliferation of assault weapons, demanding that policy makers do something to protect them.
Broward County Shooting — Mark Naison: There are tens of thousands of Nikolaus Cruz’s all over this country. Given easy access to automatic weapons, they are a massacre waiting to happen.
Mark Naison: By the time I was 10 or 11, I knew that though I loved music, sports was going to be my ticket to “success” that mysterious thing that everyone in my neighborhood said you were supposed to aspire to.
Mark Naison: At the root of this was the profoundly misguided notion that public school failure, was the primary reason for the rapid growth in racial and economic inequality in the United States in the last 40 years, and that “bad teachers” were the primary reason for “failing” schools.
Mark Naison: Never in my life have I felt more pressure to comfort, reassure and defend people who felt vulnerable, whether they were my students, my colleagues, or people I worked with in the Bronx community.
Mark Naison: In all my years of Fordham, I have rarely seen students challenge actions by the administration so forthrightly and effectively.
I quickly realized that Mr O’Reilly looked upon me, a liberal or left-wing professor, as “fresh meat”. I just as quickly resolved that I was not going to play along.
Mark Naison: People are afraid to go to and from work, to go to the corner store, to send their kids to school.
Mark Naison: To use eroticized and racialized animal imagery in wishing for his death, and doing even worse for the First Lady, crosses a line that no public official should be able to cross and still retain their job.
Mark Naison: I wanted so much to be part of this team that I never openly protested. My protest, pathetic as it might seem, was complete silence. I just went out on the field and hit people, devoutly hoping my teammates would JUST SHUT UP.
Mark Naison: In the days that followed, the pain got personal. Three coaches I worked with in Brooklyn CYO, one of them the father of one of my son’s best friends, had died trying to save people in the Twin Towers.
Mark Naison: My grandfather, when he worked, was a presser in the garment trades, making extra income as a bartender and bootegger. He was a strong arm man for his union who fought gangsters from Murder Incorporated in the streets of the Garment district.