Skip to main content
Guest Name
Dr Lori Latrice Martin
Guest Category
Guest Occupation
Associate Professor at Louisiana State University, Author, Education Activist
Guest Biography

Dr. Lori Latrice Martin is Associate Professor of Sociology and African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University. Dr. Martin's newest book is 'Big Box Schools: Race, Education, and the Danger of the Wal-Martization of Public Schools in America (Race and Education in the Twenty-First Century'.

The American public school system is at a crossroad. One pathway is decorated with signs and institutions that will lead public education towards a destination of collective obligation, accountability, and responsibility that is student-centered, community-based, and driven by educators and parents working in the best interest of students, families, communities, and the broader society. The other pathway is littered with pamphlets, flyers, and electronic billboards falsely advertising the merits of school “choice.” The direction American public schools appear to have taken over the past few decades is increasingly dotted with charter schools operated by for-profit multinational corporations, and themed public schools. Increasingly, efforts to reform public education in America resemble the business model made popular by the founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton.

'Big Box Schools: Race, Education, and the Danger of the Wal-Martization of Public Schools in America' examines the dangers of the Wal-Martization of American public schools and highlights efforts to challenge policies and practices which place greater emphasis on profits than on pupils.

Reviews of her book:

"Dr. Lori Martin's brilliantly researched book, Big Box Schools: Race, Education, and the Danger of the Wal-Martization of Public Schools in America, is going to blow the cover off the 'close ranks' rationale for defending Obama Administration education policy among scholars in Black Studies, as well as all education scholars who have the courage to listen. It eloquently describes the severe price for replacing schools which were community institutions with 'pop-up schools' (Dr. Martin's brilliant term) run by fly-by-night staffs beholden to corporate interests rather than the students and families they claim to serve." (Mark Naison, Fordham University)

"Dr. Martin makes the troubled history of education policy in this country accessible to a variety of disciplines. She talks candidly about racism in education and the United States’ long-standing tradition of marginalizing students, teachers, and families of color. The case studies are a wakeup call to push back against those who profit from so-called ‘education reform.’ She is asking us to stand up and fight against those who purchase a seat in policy and practice decisions when they have no expertise to offer. After reading this book, I am prepared to stand up and fight." (Joshua S. Smith, Loyola University Maryland)