Guest, Dr Mark Naison

Guest Name: 
Dr Mark Naison
Dr Mark Naison
Guest Category: 
Guest Occupation: 
Professor, Political Activist, Author
Guest Biography: 

Dr. Mark Naison is professor of African American studies and history at Fordham University. He is author of many books and articles including 'Communists in Harlem During the Depression', 'White Boy: A Memoir' and his newest book 'Badass Teachers Unite! Reflections on Education History and Youth Activism'. The founder of the Bronx African American History project, Naison has emerged in the last five years as a passionate defender of America's public school teachers and students, founding groups like Dump Duncan, the Teachers Talk Back Project, and most recently, the Badass Teachers Association.. He was a former political activist who was a member of CORE and SDS in the 1960s. He is a graduate of Columbia University and holds a Ph. D. in American History.

He has written over a hundred articles and published three books on urban history, African-American History, and the history of sports. Naison has also appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, Chappelle's Show, and The Discovery Channel's Greatest American Competition. He has also been an outspoken critic of Teach for America.

Naison is co-founder of the Badass Teachers Association, a group dedicated to fighting the Common Core Curriculum and corporate influences on American education. His newest book is 'Badass Teachers Unite! Reflections on Education History and Youth Activism'. In this incisive collection of essays, educator and activist Mark Naison draws on years of research on Bronx history and his own experience on the front lines of the education wars to unapologetically defend teachers and students from education “reform” policies that undermine their power and creativity.

Naison shows how dominant education policy systematically hurts the very children it claims to support and instead forces them to “race to the top.” He exposes the Duncans, Rhees, and Gateses for schemes that intensify racial and economic inequality. And he refocuses the conversation on teaching and organizing strategies that should be implemented in communities everywhere.

Review

“Mark Naison has woven a series of provocative essays into a powerful book. No traditional scholarly treatise, Badass Teachers Unite! is an education manifesto for the people’s school reform movement. With clarity, verve, and passion, Naison outlines the challenges we face in transforming public schools and he forges a guide to our actions. This book is must reading for anyone concerned about the plight of public schools in the USA today.”
—Henry Louis Taylor Jr., director, UB Center for Urban Studies, University at Buffalo

“Mark Naison is a badass—and it took one to write this rousing pronouncement to the militancy emerging among today’s schoolteachers. There was an era when educators were feared by the corporate establishment. As Time magazine wrote in 1963, ‘The U.S. teacher used to be afraid to smoke, chew, cuss or ask for a raise. Now he denounces crowded classrooms, upbraids lawmakers, and goes on strike almost as readily as a dockworker.’ Mark Naison’s Badass Teachers Unite! brings back the attitude we need to confront the corporate reform bullies and reclaim our schools.”
—Jesse Hagopian, history teacher, Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington, and associate editor for Rethinking Schools magazine
Before the Fires