Mark Warren

Mark R. Warren is professor of public policy and public affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the lead author of Lift Us Up Don’t Push Us Out! Voices from the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement, which includes essays by the organizers and teachers featured in this article.

Recent Articles

Parents Must Shut Down the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Building an educational justice movement to protect African American students has to begin in Pre-K. 

nafterphoto/Shutterstock W hen Zakiya Sankara-Jabar’s son was repeatedly suspended from his Pre-K program, she was shocked at first. The preschool kept calling her to say her son was in trouble for biting other students or having trouble transitioning from one activity to another. In Zakiya’s view, “They made normal three-year-old behavior sound very pathologized and abnormal.” Eventually, she had to withdraw her son from the school but he was subsequently suspended and expelled at other preschools. Zakiya had to drop out of college to care for her son but before she did, she used the college’s library services to search for articles on the experiences of black boys in public education. She quickly learned that her family’s experiences were not unusual. “I suddenly realized that I wasn’t a bad parent and my son wasn’t abnormal. This was something larger, more societal, that was happening to African American parents.” It turns out that the school-to-prison pipeline starts in Pre-K,...

White Fight

White Americans must embrace racial justice as their own cause if we hope to achieve widespread equity.

Fifty years ago, hundreds of young white and black Americans united to desegregate buses across the South. These Freedom Riders, as they came to be known, drew vivid attention to the inhumanity of segregation, and their collective action marked a turning point in galvanizing white support for the civil-rights movement. Since the summer of 1961, many Americans have continued to fight widespread inequality and racism. Yet despite remarkable progress -- including the election of an African American president -- many forms of racial injustice remain deeply entrenched in American society. Nearly 40 percent of all black and Hispanic students will fail to graduate high school this year, double the rate for white students. Economic hardship is also drawn across racial lines: More than 30 percent of blacks and Hispanics live in poverty compared to 13 percent of whites. The criminal-justice system reflects these inequities in a disturbing pattern. Of the 2 million people incarcerated in the...