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The War Report on Public Education, May 31, 2015

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The War Report on Public Education
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A Conversation with Dr. Lori Martin and Dr.Mark Naison on the Wal-Martization (privatization) of our public schools.

Sunday, May 31 at 2pm PST on Station 1 -  join host Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. on The War Report on Public Education Radio show featuring special guests Dr. Lori Martin and Dr. Mark Naison. The conversation will be about whether the Wal-Martization (privatization) of our schools is a clear and present danger to public education and schools in America.

Guest, Dr Lori Latrice Martin

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)


Guest, Dr Mark Naison

Guest Name
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.


“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

The War Report on Public Education

Show Host

The format of THE WAR REPORT ON PUBLIC EDUCATION explores one of the most important events in our life time - the total takeover of our educational system by corporate interests. This show is about the 'corporate' war on public education and the rising public resistance movement to the war. Dr. James Avington Miller, Jr. invites guests from all over who join the rising public resistance movement against the corporate greed taking on our public school system. He is interested in growing a grass-roots movement here in the United States and in Europe against the 'corporate interests' that are limiting both teachers and students everywhere.

This October 2015 he is taking his show on the road as he embarks on a very special project. His long awaited project ‘The People’s Story' is an effort to reach out to those individuals whose voices are not being heard in educational arenas everywhere. He will be interviewing, filming and collecting stories from parents, teachers, students and community members in the rural and urban areas of the Eastern United States to include Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Washington D.C. Many lives are being impacted and harmed by the ongoing corporate war on public education that exists today. The consequence of the rapid privatization of our schools is inhumane and devastating to our teachers, schools and most importantly, our children.

His primary mission is to create a documentary/television series for PBS and the Arts & Entertainment Channel that will expose the human cost of man’s inhumanity to man. The objective is to document people’s stories from each state and create a one hour TV Episode for that state evolving into a 30-35 part series. Dr. Miller expects to have the first TV show ready by next summer. This will propel the ‘corporate war on public education’ front and center as a local, state and national campaign issue. Determined to awaken the world on a national level by providing a series of programs that will lead to understanding the whole picture – he hopes to demand an end to the Corporate Elite and their destruction of public education.

Dr. Miller is seeking funding for ‘The People’s Story’ project from friends, family and the public to cover the expenses that this will entail. If you care about the future of education, please support this most important project and be part of history in the making. This has been and will continue to be Dr. Miller's dream to complete and certainly his life's legacy.

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