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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mark Naison: The Charter School Fad, which seems to have swept through major parties, is going to result in a very painful Day of Reckoning. Any industry given this kind of public subsidy, and this kind of freedom from regulation, is going to lead to extremely high levels of corruption.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Funding Prisoner Education: Prison now is for poor people who have broken laws that rich people are almost never jailed for.