Sunday, May 29, 2011

R.I.P. Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron just passed away-vocalist, poet, prophet- narrator of American Tragedies large and small. The pain he
documented was inside him too, giving his work even greater power. No illusions and fictions, even those we used to keep
going day to day, escapted his sharp eye and poetic imagination. He was there when Sixties dreams collapsed in the wake
of drug epidemmics, de-industrialization, benign neglect ( of the Black and poor) and rampant connsumerism. His vision was as once
global, and deeply intimate. He could write about the aches we have inside with the same eloquence he applied to the nation's devolution
into cynicism.and material excess. Inside his musical universe, rage and irony coexised uneasily with tenderness and compassion and moments of startling beauty. There was no artist of his era who could match his range, his depth, his integrity, or deep vulnerability. That he lived as
long as he did,given alll he went through, is a kind of miracle, and the music he left us is the closest thing to a National Conscience we may ever find, save for the speeches of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. When I need to explain what I see happening in America today, which is a nation turning its backs on its most vulnerable while leaving wealth and privilege untouched, I find myself turning over and over again to songs which Gil Scott Heron wrote thirty and forty years ago

R.I.P. Gil. I share the song below with friends in your memory

The Bottle

Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle

4 min - Sep 19, 2007 - Uploaded by chieflittlenutsVideo clip for Gil Scott-Heron's The

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Money Trail in Education Reform Leads to Everyone But Those Who Need It The Most

The Money Trail in Education Reform Leads to Everyone But Those Who Need It The Most

Dr Mark Naison
Fordham University

In the last ten years, tens of billions of dollars have been spent to reform America’s schools-some of it coming from the Federal Department of Education, some of it from state legislatures, some of it from private foundations. This money has gone to fund research on Common Core Standards, to close failing schools and open up new ones, to create new protocols for assessing schools and teachers, to create new batteries of tests to evaluate students learning, to bring management consultants into school systems and in some cases into individual school and to fund charter schools and educational maintenance organizations.

In New York City, Education Reform funding has spawned a variety of new public sector careers , ranging from “accountability officers” in the Department of Education, to the heads of charter school companies making multiple six figure salaries, to management consultants on the payroll of the DOE, to scores of new principals whose jobs have created in small schools created when large, allegedly “failing” ones have been broken up. When you add this the tens of millions of dollars spent to create new computer systems for the DOE, and the hundreds of millions of dollars given to publishing companies like Mc Graw Hill to create new tests for almost every subject and every grade, you can see the opportunity for profit making and career building this movement has inspired among aspiring professionals.

But how much of this funding has gone directly to the people this reform movement was supposedly created to help, working class and minority students and their families? How many jobs for students, or their parents, have Education Reform funds created, either in school programs or after school centers. Has this money helped keep families in their apartments, allowed them to secure medical care or access better sports, arts and recreation programs?

The answer to this is a resounding no! In New York City and around the nation, the funds have created a whole new layer of middle class professionals in the schools, most of them white and helped create opportunities for profit to a number of private corporations, but have done nothing to ease the burden of poverty on the nation’s working class and minorities.

As of 2011, the child poverty rate in the United States had reached 25 percent, the highest level since the Depression, and Black Unemployment had reached 16 percent. Given this, how can the supporters of test driven education reform, whether they are in Washington, state houses, city halls, or the offices of major foundations, justify spending tens of billions of dollars to ( allegedly) improve schools without one cent of it going into the pockets of poor people!

While people are losing their homes, their jobs, their medical care, their recreational opportunities, and are experiencing daily fear and stress, new school professionals are flooding their communities with programs that to date have offered no return on their investment to the people they were allegedly designed to benefit.

What we have in America, put forward by those who claim to put “Children First”, is a cynical round of profit taking and career building reminiscent of the Gilded Age.

It’s time that people serious about ending poverty in America take a serious look at the Education Reform movement and FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL!

From what I can see, it leads directly into more profits for the haves, and more hardship for the have nots.

Mark Naison
May 21, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Test Driven Educational Reform- A Desperate Response to A Society Rotting at the Core

Professor Mark Naison

Fordham University

The breadth of support for tying teacher evaluation to student test scores is something which cuts across all parts of the political spectrum. It is something which unites Barack Obama with Newt Gingrich, Bill Gates with the Koch Brothers, Andrew Cuomo with Scott Walker, and Al Sharpton with Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly While those of us who have spent our lives in the classroom regard this as ill-advised and counterproductive, it is important to examine why test driven educational reform is virtually the only policy initiative which commands this kind of bi-partisan support.

To do so, we have to take an honest look at what has happened to America’s working class and poor in the last thirty years, particularly in those portions of the country which were once part of America’s industrial heartland. Looked at from the vantage point of once proud industrial centers like Detroit, Baltimore, Buffalo, Newark, Bridgeport, Gary, Youngstown, and Philadelphia, the United States is a society literally rotting at the core. Whole stretches of these cities lay abandoned ever since their factories closed, with only piles of bricks and metals left as reminders of industries that once employed millions of people. Often, the only new building in the most decayed sections of these cities are schools and prisons, with the former often serving as recruiting grounds for the latter. With more than 2 million people now in prison in the US- as compared to less than 400,000 in 1980- and with over 10 million people having spend time in prison and been rendered virtually unemployable, there are huge stretches of urban America, and more than a few small towns, where the streets are filled with men, and more than a few women, who have no secure connection to the legal labor market and whose pessimism and despair creates an atmosphere that literally sucks the energy out of everyone around them As someone who has walked these streets, as well as driven through them in most of the above mentioned cities, it is hard not to feel like a whole section of the American population has been abandoned by their government. No one talks about these people, no one does anything for them, no one discusses the conditions they are living as problems central to the future of the society. Needless to say, these conditions have been immeasurably worsened by tax policies and industrial policies, adopted in the last 30 years, which have frozen working class incomes and concentrated wealth in the top layers of the society to an unprecedented degree.

So where does school reform come in? Some time during the last ten years, a broad spectrum of groups in American society, some of them elected officials and community organizers, some of them business leaders, decided that the way to bring America’s most devastates communities into the economic mainstream was by radically transforming schools. If we somehow turned schools into places of energy and optimism, where young people learned skills necessary to compete in a global economy, then maybe the children of the poor could escape the fate of their parents and we could achieve a more equal society without changing tax policy or redistributing wealth.

It was an extraordinarily seductive vision. It appealed to parents and community leaders living in poor neighborhoods because it appeared to show, for the first time in decades, that the nation was willing to invest in the future of their children. It appealed to political conservatives because some of the reforms proposed- school vouchers and charter schools- involved the application of market principles to the public sector. And it appealed to the very rich, because it promised a path to greater equality that left the tax system that allowed them to acquire great wealth untouched

In the beginning, school reform appeared to be a “win win:” for everybody. But after the first few years, when dramatic reforms, including vouchers and founding of charter schools, appeared to show few significant gains in test scores, or changes in the atmosphere of neighborhoods where the experiments took place, the discourse of reform started to center on the “problem of bad teachers.” With cruel cynicism, reformers began arguing that their brilliant plans were being sabotaged by poorly motivated and recalcitrant teachers, and that elevating children out of poverty through schooling could only be effective if teachers were forced to work much harder and be fired if they refused to produce.

This conclusion resulted in a determination to use test scores, not just to rate the progress of students, but to motivate teachers and administrators. Across the nation, with the encouragement of educational foundations funded by some of America’s wealthiest people, school systems began tying the salaries and careers of teachers and principals to the test scores of students they worked with, began systematically attacking teachers unions for standing in the way of these motivational schemes.

When teachers resisted giving up seniority rights to allow such accountability plans to be put in place, they were demonized as the major obstacle, not only to educational reform, but to the achievement of economic and even racial equality. Public school teachers, and leaders of teachers unions, were lambasted in the media, and by public officials in Washington and State Capitals, as selfish and pampered. If school systems could replace teachers at will the way business did with employees when they didn’t perform, than school performance would improve over night and the US would become economically competitive and egalitarian with one wave of the magic wand. The key was to constantly rate student learning by measurable criteria and determine the status of teachers, administrators and entire schools on the basis of such “data.”

By the time Barack Obama was elected, the momentum of this accountability frenzy was well nigh irreversible.

There was only one problem. There was no place in the entire United States where such strategies achieved any of the intended results. There was not one school system in a low income community where test scores were significantly raised by tying teacher salaries and tenure to student test scores, nor was evidence anywhere that such reforms had a measurable effect on income distribution or economic development in depressed communities. To put the matter bluntly, if you applied the same accountability criteria to educational reformers that were are being used to rate teachers and principals, they would all be fired.

What test driven school reform turns out to be, when all is said and done, is an initially well intentioned, but now cruelly deceptive effort to reduce poverty and inequality without addressing any of its root causes in taxation, industrial policy and the distribution of funding forr housing, health care and community economic development

Because of that, it can never succeed in achieving its professed goals, but along the way, it can suck the life out of schools and demoralize a generation of students and teachers.

In school systems around the country, that is exactly what it is doing.

Mark Naison

May 16, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Moment of National Insanity: Adding the Pressure of High Stakes Testing to the Pressures of
Professor Mark Naison
Fordham Univesity
Hearing that the Governor of New York plans to raise student test scores from 20 percent to 40 percent of teacher ratings just reinforces my perception that a species of insanity has overtaken those in charge of education in the United States.
The idea that we need to make passing standardized tests the central mission of our schools in order for the US to remain competitive with other nations not only ignores the central role of imagination and creative thinking in the global economy, it is a strategy certain to increase disparities between the rich and poor in the United States, already the largest in the advanced world.
In neighborhoods where young people need teachers to provide nurturing and support to counteract the harsh lives they are often lead, tying teacher salaries and promotions to student performance on high stake tests will turn teachers into virtual slave drivers determined to squeeze results out of students lest their own jobs be in jeopardy. Where compassion and caring should prevail, you build in an adversarial relationship guaranteed to maximize stress on everyone involved.
As the film “Race To Nowhere” demonstrates, this can have negative consequences even in affluent communities, but the results will be most devastating to young people in poor communities who are alleged to be the primary beneficiaries of high stakes testing.
The last thing these young people need is for school to be turned into a zone of stress where the teacher’s job depends on students memorizing huge amounts of data, with no time left for art, music, play, or community building activities.
Because to be poor in America is to live with stress. The stress of not knowing whether you will have enough food to get through the weekend without being hungry most of the time. The stress of not knowing whether the lights are going to get cut off, the heat will work, or whether you will be evicted from your apartment for non- payment of rent and forced to move to a shelter or be taken in by relatives. The stress of living with 15 people in a space meant for six, where you have to sleep in shifts, and where there is no place to do your homework. The stress of worrying whether your uncle, who you just moved in with, is going to sexually molest you or beat you up if you do something he doesn’t like The stress of having to go to the emergency room of a hospital and wait 8 hours for someone to see you. The stress of never being able to go to the dentist when you have a toothache. The stress of walking a gauntlet on your way to school, or even to the corner store, because someone doesn’t like the way you look, the ethnic group you are part of, the block you live on, or just think you are fair game for harassment because you are a young girl who has reached puberty. The stress of watching your mother get old before her time because she is working three jobs to keep you housed and fed and is mistreated by bosses, husbands, boyfriends, and virtually every public servant she interacts with. The stress of being recruited for a gang and told that if you don’t join, you will be made that gang’s “bitch.” The stress of being looked upon by every police officer as a potential criminal because you are a young person of color living in “the hood” and being stopped and searched by police with numbing regularity when you are doing nothing illegal.
So yes, let’s take young people for who those experiences are a daily reality and ratchet up the pressure on them in school by increasing the number of tests they have, and telling teachers their careers are dependent on how those students perform on those tests.
Do you really think this is going to work? What you are going to do is push young people already near the breaking point over the edge. Some may obediently conform. But many more will rebel by lashing out at their teachers or their fellow students, or leaving school to find some place they can find relief from the stress and pressure that is enveloping their lives
Schools should be places where young people are nurtured, loved and gradually given the skills to change their lives. It should be a safe zone, not a pressure cooker.
Governor Cuomo is joining a long line of elected officials who, in the name of improving national competitiveness, are making a whole generation of young people- mostly but not all in poor and working class neighborhoods- hate going to school.
Our best teachers and principals know how damaging this is and are starting to speak out.
But unless students and parents join the resistance to linking teacher evaluation to high stakes testing, it will take years, possibly decades, to undo the damage that will be done to our schools by arrogant and misguided public officials.
Mark Naison
May 14, 2012

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From Centers of Obedience to Centers of Resistance: A Strategy To Restore
Hope to the City’s Public Schools
Professor Mark Naison
Fordham University
A tragic series of events is unfolding in working class New York. The lingering effects of the Recession, irresponsible private investments, and federal and state budget cuts, coupled with a failure to raise taxes on the wealthy, have created a toxic brew which is eroding the already fragile living standards of the city’s poor and bringing with it higher levels of homelessness, hunger and violence.
Nowhere is this more visible than in the housing market where a combination of foreclosures on private homes, failed investments by private equity companies, the phasing out of federal rent subsidies, the proposed end of Work Advantage Program in New York State, and rising rents in public housing have taken thousands of units of affordable housing out of commission and forced tens of thousands of people to “double” and “triple up” with friends and relatives or move into shelters.
The effects of this are visible throughout the city’s public schools where more and more children are arriving at school stressed, hungry, and frightened as their families are displaced and their ability to assure their children of adequate sleep, food and study space is undermined.Once, such wounded children could find safe, protected space in libraries and after school programs, but with upcoming budget cuts to libraries (which will cut public library hours from 40 to 28 a week) and to after school and recreational programs, these youngsters will be increasingly on their own, forced to spend time in public places-streets, subways and shelters-where danger lurks for young people without adult supervision and protection.
In the face of this unfolding tragedy, what are teachers, principals, and school guidance counselors to do?
The official policy of the NYC Department of Education is to pretend this isn’t happening. Their response is more assessments, more tests, more ratings, more pressure on students and everyone who is working with them.
And the result is predictable. The misery of the students is spreading to the teachers whose spirit is being broken, not only by the violent incidents occurring in schools with increasing frequency, but by the evident pain their students are in, visible not only in their inability to concentrate in class, but their harrowing stories of hunger and homelessness and family catastrophe, All of this is taking place, I must add, amidst fierce pressure from the DOE to raise test scores and graduation rates, with the fear of school closings and loss of employment as potential penalties.
It’s time to flip the script. Schools must become places, not only where students in trouble are protected and nurtured, but where the adults working there fight for them as if they were their own children.
Every New York City public school should become a center of resistance to budget cuts, not only in schools, but in libraries, after school centers, and programs that provide or protect affordable housing. The culture of compliance and obedience, which has left teachers and students alike demoralized and terrorized, must be replaced by a culture of resistance. The school must become a place where political education and political organizing takes place uniting teachers, parents and students in strategies which will put pressure on elected officials that haven’t been seen since the 60’s. Pressure to restore housing subsidies, expand funding for after school programs, restore library budgets to their 2008 levels, bring more arts and sports programs into the public schools, create more school health centers, end all teacher layoffs and and tax the wealthy to pay for these reforms.
Not only will such actions restore a sense of agency to teachers, who are regularly vilified in the press and by public officials, as the cause of their students “failures,” it will give hope and inspiration to tens of thousands of young people, and members of their families, who are losing hope that their lives will involve anything other than hardship and pain.
It’s time to transform New York City public schools from centers of fear and intimidation to “liberated zones” where teachers, students and parents can talk freely how to make their schools and neighborhoods places where people who are not wealthy can lead decent lives and provide hope and opportunity to their children. And if that leads them directly to the steps of City Hall, the State Legislature, and the US Congress, or to the headquarters of Wall Street banks so be it.
On a small scale, this is starting to happen. A group of insurgent teachers and parents have started a program called “Fight Back Fridays” with actions taking place at public schools around the city on May 20.
But this should only be the beginning of a mighty wave of protest that will transform the New York City public schools from centers of obedience into center of resistance to the budget cuts and to government by the rich, for the rich, which seems to be the trend, not only in New York, but around the country.
The Sleeping Giant is starting to awake. Student, teachers and parents, joined together, can be a mighty force for Justice and Democracy
Mark Naison
May 10, 2011.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If We Want to Rescue Our Public Schools- And Our Youth- It’s Time to Start
Teaching “Inequality”

Professor Mark Naison
Fordham University

All across the country, public school budgets are being cut. Teachers are being laid off, arts and sports programs are being eliminated, class size is going through the roof. For working class and immigrant youth, these policies mean that American society is no longer even promising them the illusion of social mobility. What awaits them, should they graduate from high school is a grim choice between the military, low wage labor, or immersion in the underground economy, coupled with the very real prospect of going to prison.

Given this grim reality, it is time for teachers to start reserving time in their classrooms to talk about the real story in America – Inequality! Students in poor and working class neighborhoods intuitively know that their futures are grim. Why not give them the evidence to show their suspicions are correct and that policies can be adopted that could give them greater opportunity if they are willing to organize and fight for their right to decent paying employment as well as a good education

The best place to start your lesson plan with income inequality. Every student in the United States should know that the top 1 percent of the population now controls 23 percent of the income, as compared to 9 percent in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Then move on to tax policy. Explain to students that federal tax rate on the highest incomes, which was over 90 percent in the 1950’s, is now below 40 percent. Then move on to union membership. Explain that in the 1950’s, 35 percent of the American labor force were members of unions, as compared to 13 percent. Conclude with the growth of the prison industrial complex. Explain that in 1980, less than 400,000 people were in federal and state prisons as compared to over 2 million today, and that among the African American males, there are now more people ages 18-30 in prison than there are in college

Then, after presenting these sobering statistics, ask students to “ connect the dots.” Ask them if there is any relationship between income distribution and the growth of the prison population. Ask them to discuss who goes to prison, and how it affects those people’s lives. Do people released from prison ever become part of the mainstream economy, or are they permanently condemned to a life of poverty and insecurity? Ask students to write about people they know who went to prison and came out. What happened to those people? How did that experience affect their families?

Then move on to education. Have students analyze the education they are receiving. What kind of future are they being prepared for by a curriculum that puts so much emphasis on standardized tests? Ask them to compare the experience of people they know who graduated from high school and those who didn’t. Was the experience of the two groups that different?

Then move on to politics. If the students conclude that the whole society, including the educational system, is stacked against them, what should they do about it? If they are going to protest, what examples in the past can be used a models. Teach them about the civil rights movement, the labor and unemployed movements in the Great Depression, the women’s rights movement and the movement against the Vietnam War. Give them the example of the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit Ins where a group of four students decided to take history into their own hands. Ask them whether this protest has any relevance to what young people are going through today.

Then bring in hip hop. Explain how hip hop was created in the South Bronx by young people who had been written off by policy makers and created an entire new musical form at the very same time that music programs, and music teachers, were removed from the New York City schools. Ask them if that story, of marginalized young people making history, has any relevance to their experience? Ask them what it would mean for people like themselves to “make history.”

The pedagogy I am describing, I guarantee you, will grab students attention far more than the packaged history lessons being shoved down students throats so they can pass standardized tests. It will also impart critical thinking skills, and encourage writing, reflection and debate, in a manner that progressive educational reformers ( those that still remain) could readily embrace

But above all, it would inspire students, many of whom now are deeply depressed and profoundly pessimistic, to see that they are not doomed to poverty and marginality and that they can take actions that can make their voice be heard and change their circumstances.

Truth telling can be empowering. It can turn victims of unjust policies into agents of their own liberation.

It is time for teachers to unleash the genie of “Student Power” through bold and inspired teaching. It all begins with “Inequality.”

Mark Naison
May 9, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why More And More Students “In the Hood” Are Out of Control

Why More And More Students “In the Hood” Are Out of Control
Professor Mark Naison
Fordham University
During the last year, I have gotten more and more reports from the best teachers I know in Bronx public schools, that their students “are out of control.” We are not talking about Ivy League Teach for America types who grew up in wealthy suburbs, but tough, charismatic, physically imposing women, graduates of New York City public schools, with formidable classroom management skills and a great sense of humor.
At first, I found these reports hard to believe. The women I am talking about are not only physically strong, they are incredibly innovative in their pedagogy- the best of the best! If they can’t control a class of Bronx 11 or 14 year olds, who could?

But then I started thinking about their work in a much larger context than one suggested by discussions of curriculum, class management, or graduation rates. And I came up with a startling conclusion- that students living in America’s poor neighborhoods, even by age 10 or 11, already know, intuitively, that the schools they are in are unlikely to get them out of the world of poverty and hardship that surrounds them. As a result, they see what goes on in classrooms- especially all the tests they are bombarded with- as fundamentally irrelevant to their lives!

And they are not wrong in their assessment! If they look around their neighborhoods, they see precious few people who have used education to better their lives. For every person in their hood who gets out by pursuing higher education, there are five who leave by going to prison or joining the armed forces! In their world, there is little real life reinforcement of the message schools preach- that the way to success in America is by passing tests, graduating from high school and going on to college. Those who do manage to jump through all those hoops, when they get to college, find the path is long and treacherous, both economically and academically, and if they do manage to get a college degree often can’t get jobs at all, or can’t get jobs that allow them to pay off their student loans!.

The current economic crisis has only made the path of self-denial and academic effort seem more problematical. At a time when even middle class college graduates, from top private colleges, have trouble finding work how are you going to “sell” the proposition that education is the path to success in South Bronx neighborhoods like Morrisania or Hunts Point?

The bottom line is- in a city where the top 1 percent of the population monopolizes 44 percent of the income- you can’t! The deck is already so stacked against young people growing up in poverty that no legerdemain or trickery or classroom magic can convince them that the things they are learning and being tested on will have any positive effect on their lives.

So why shouldn’t they fool around? Why shouldn’t they act out? Why shouldn’t they try to enhance their reputation as a thug, a comedian, or a flirt by making the classroom their private theater? After all, those traits represent real life social capital in the world they inhabit, as opposed to the math problems, history lessons, or sentences they are given to construct.

Some people attribute the phenomenon of poor kids acting out to the stress they are under outside of school- reflected in issues ranging from poor diet, to lack of sleep, to gang violence, to physical abuse in their places of residence. All those are undoubtedly contributing factors. But let’s not discount the “rational” element in student behavior, reflected in their very real understanding that the schools they are in are simply unable to deliver on the promise of a better life they use to “sell” their pedagogy.

Given that cold reality, there is absolutely no reason why a student in a place like the South Bronx should defer the joy and status of being a class comedian or “thug in training” for the prospect of participating in an endless round of test preparation, which for people in their neighborhood is truly “ A Race To Nowhere.”

Mark Naison
May 5, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Living in a Post Osama World

Waking Up in A Post-Osama World

Professor Mark Naison
Fordham University

I hope that those who lost loved ones on 9/11 feel some sense of closure from the death of Osama Bin Laden.

I know I am supposed to feel like celebrating, but I just feel a deep sense of sadness as I grapple with a flood of memories from the day the planes flew into the World Trade Center and the events that followed.

Watching the twin towers fall from the 6th Floor seminar room of Dealy Hall at Fordham, with students and colleagues, wondering how many people had died, and worrying if my daughter and son in law , both of whom worked downtown, were safe

Driving back to Brooklyn across the Whitestone Bridge with tears in my eyes as I watched smoke pour out of the rubble where the twin towers once had been, a trip that I would not be able to take without crying for the next three months

Getting home to discover that my daughter and son in law were safe, but that my wife, an elementary school principal would be staying long into the night to comfort a traumatized student population and staff, some of whom had loved one’s missing.

Joining more than 10,000 people in Park Slope in a march from my wife’s elementary school to the local firehouse, to create a memorial to the 9 people in the local rescue company who died in the Twin Towers trying to save the lives of others.

Learning that three of the men I had coached against in CYO basketball for more than five years, firefighters all, had died that awful day, not being surprised at all that they had given their lives for others because when you are a fire fighter who grew up in Brooklyn that’s what you do.

Driving to and from work through Crown Heights, Brownsville and East New York and seeing American flags hanging from apartment windows and being displayed on cars in neighborhoods where I had never seen them before and realizing that this attack had united working class New Yorkers like nothing in my lifetime.

Sitting in my office with tears in my eyes playing a song by Travis Tritt called “ It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and trying to convince myself that was, in fact, the case.

Feeling incredibly proud of how my fellow New Yorkers had come together to save lives and comfort one another during and after this unspeakable tragedy and wondering whether people around the country had a clue about who we were and why we could respond the way we did.

Now it is nearly eleven years later and the man who plotted this attack is dead, killed by American commandos.

If there is a lesson in all this, I am not sure what it is

Meanwhile, I mourn those who died, in the attack and the wars that followed, and feel love and gratitude for my fellow New Yorkers, both those who made the ultimate sacrifice that fateful day, and all of those who came together in solidarity after the damage was done to heal and ultimately rebuild a wounded city.

Mark Naison
May 2, 2011