Badass Mark Naison and the Growing Conflict in American Education: A Book Review

by VanessaVaile

Here’s a good 2014 review article of Mark Naison’s book reflecting on the history of public education, corporatist “reform” and rising resistance. Both are well worth revisiting and as relevant now as when they originally appeared last year. Just yesterday Mark Naison wrote:

“Within five years, public education will be virtually eliminated in many of the nation’s cities, replaced by charter schools, and online schools. The results will fall somewhere between tragic and disappointing if rents continue to rise, wages fall, and if most of the new jobs created are minimum wage or part time and without benefits. But that’s OK. Think of all the money saved in pension costs and all the profits made in real estate investments. At least somebody gained from this “education revolution.” Just not the people who it was allegedly intended to help.”


One of the many carefully orchestrated myths of the corporate “reformers” who have hijacked American education this century is that opposition comes only from the Tea Party and from teachers union ‘dead enders.’ All right-thinking Americans, the myth goes, recognize that our public schools have failed and that education in the United States can only be saved by alternatives like vouchers and charter schools, by public schools staffed by temporary Teach for America instructors, and by imposition of “standards” by an elite that knows what employers need. Led today by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, billionaire Bill Gates, College Board head (and Common Core State Standards creator) David Coleman, and Students First organizer Michelle Rhee, this well-funded “reform” movement has been steamrolling over resistance for years, opponents often destroyed before they even know they are under attack.

A case in point is the recent experience of Bill de Blasio, new mayor of…

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