McCormack Speaks

September 26, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Latest Book by Mark Warren Chronicles Firsthand Experience of Educators and Students Fighting Systemic Racism in Schools

 

Mark Warren, Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the McCormack Graduate School, recently published his fourth book, Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out!: Voices from the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement. The book introduces readers to the struggles and accomplishments of the educational justice movement through firsthand accounts and personal narratives written directly by the parents, students, educators, and allies fighting on the frontlines in the resistance against systemic inequalities that target and disadvantage children of color in low-income households.

Over the course of the semester, he will be speaking with community and education activists featured in the book and touring cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. His speaking schedule can be viewed here. McCormack Speaks sat down with Dr. Warren to learn more about his latest book and some of the goals that he hopes his book will help accomplish on these issues.

 

SA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

MW: I have been studying and working with community, parent, and youth organizing groups as well as with education activists for twenty years. Until recently, most of these efforts had been focused in local areas but over the past five years, I witnessed a growing national movement. I thought it was time to write a book about this new, emerging movement and wanted to have organizers and activists have a chance to speak for themselves – share their own personal stories, powerful analysis, and successful strategies for creating educational justice in schools and communities.

SA: What gap in the literature does this book address?

MW: This book approaches the failures of our educational system as a profound racial justice issue, rooted in the lack of power that low-income communities of color have in our society. It argues that we need a social justice movement led by those most affected – parents and students of color – as well as educators and allies in other movements to create power for communities and systemic change in public education. It also identifies effective strategies for how to build this movement and create equity-oriented change in schools and communities.

SA: What types of projects and dialogues do you hope this book will inspire?

MW: I hope this book will provoke a discussion about the depth of systemic racism in our public education system and what it will take to address it. I hope it helps people appreciate the important work [of] people who are often ignored in our society – like parents and students of color – but are leading change efforts across the country.

SA: How have your affiliations with the McCormack Graduate School and UMass Boston assisted with the publication of this book?
MW: I believe it is important for our public universities to be at the forefront of working with communities to create equity and justice in education and beyond. UMass Boston and MGS support this mission and the research and engagement work I do for educational justice.

SA: What are some other projects you hope to pursue in the coming years?

MW: The people who came together to create this book became excited about creating an idea and strategy space for movement building that we are calling the People’s Think Tank. We are touring the country engaging communities and educators around the need to create a stronger and more intersectional social justice movement with racial and educational justice at its center. We will be launching the People’s Think Tank next year as the culmination of this engagement process and take the next step to build strategic understanding and actionable knowledge for the movement and its supporters.

SA: Anything else that you’d like to share with the MGS community about this book?

MW: This book is very personal to me. I grew up in a blue-collar family and community and public schools gave me a chance to go to college and access the world. Too many young people, especially poor children and children of color, are denied that access and are consigned to lives of continued poverty or incarceration. This book shines a light on the way forward for our country to reject our racial history and create a better future for all our young people.

 

 

September 10, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Proposed New Savings Accounts Just Another Tax Shelter For Richest Americans

photo of Christian Weller

Professor Christian Weller, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School

Congressional Republicans are getting ready for another round of tax cuts. According to congressional sources, this newest round may include a new retirement savings option under the name of “Universal Savings Account.” Contrary to the argument that it will help people get ready for retirement, it will mainly serve as a tax shelter for the wealthiest Americans and will do nothing for the retirement security or saving for average Americans. The proposal showers new tax benefits on wealthy families, who need the least help to save more. It may also create new obstacles to saving for lower-income households, who need more not less help to prepare for retirement.

Continue reading Dr. Christian Weller’s article published in Forbes here.

July 24, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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McCormack’s Master of Public Administration Program Earns NASPAA Accreditation

The McCormack Graduate School’s Master of Public Administration program (MPA) is among six new programs earning accreditation by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA accreditation is considered the global standard of excellence for graduate programs in public service disciplines. The MPA program at UMass Boston will appear on the NASPAA Annual Roster of Accredited Programs in conformity with standards established for professional masters degrees in public affairs and administration and maintain accreditation status for seven years, beginning September 1, 2018.

“Our MPA program has been training the government and nonprofit sector workforce in the region for more than three decades.  NASPAA accreditation is a milestone in the history of our program signaling our commitment to advancing knowledge, research, and practice in public service,” said Amy Smith, associate professor and director of the MPA program.  “We are proud to join the roster of more than 200 NASPAA accredited programs from around the globe.”

In addition to earning accreditation, UMass Boston’s MPA program is ranked in the top 100 graduate programs in public affairs by the 2018 U.S. News and World Report Rankings and fourth in Massachusetts.  Known for its cohort model, the MPA program offers evening, weekend, and on-line courses to meet the needs of working professionals.

The UMass Boston MPA program prepares students to contribute to society as leaders, public administrators, policy analysts, and program evaluators in the governmental and nonprofit sectors to advance an efficient and effective public sector; and serve the public good and promote the public value, social justice, and equality in the Greater Boston area, Massachusetts, the United States, and in the global community.

January 1, 2018
by McCormack Speaks
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I Am Not a Cardboard Cutout! The Bias of Body Mass Index (BMI)

by Thomas Nee, McCormack Graduate School public administration student

image of measuring your waist lineAn insidious movement is discriminating against people like me. So far, only my life insurance rates are materially affected but this movement is so pervasive and accepted that it’s only a matter of time before it affects my relationship with my doctor, my health insurance provider, and my government. These groups increasingly rely on Body Mass Index (BMI) to categorize me. This simple formula combines height and weight into a single index. It is quickly applied to large populations and simplifies research across space and time. I am not writing about the common observation that BMI does not measure fat vs. muscle but about something I cannot change: my height.

BMI = m / h2

Where m is mass in kilograms and h is height in meters (multiply by a conversion factor of 703 if mass is in pounds and height is in inches). The formula has a fundamental flaw: the exponent 2.  It is applicable only if we are two-dimensional beings!  It allows us to grow in height and width but not depth. I am not a flat, cardboard cutout. Continue Reading →

December 19, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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McCormack Professor Interviewed on Government Use of Mobile Apps

technology at your finger tipsMcCormack Graduate School’s Aroon Manoharan, associate professor of public policy and public affairs, focuses his research on e-government, the application of information technology in government, and how global cities adopt and implement innovative technologies for providing information and services to their citizens. He was recently interviewed by Mic.com, an Internet and media company based in New York City.

The interview focused on municipal e-government and public participation, specifically the mobile voting (mVoting) app of the city of Seoul, South Korea. Although not an official voting mechanism, the application enables citizens of Seoul to participate in the democratic process by providing their feedback and opinion to public policy proposals. The app is especially helpful for politicians as they focus on the correct problems to solve.

Manoharan learned of the app when conducting a collaborative study between the McCormack Graduate School and Rutgers University’s E-Governance Institute on the e-government performance of the largest global cities. Based on an evaluation of municipal websites, the study titled “Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide Survey” identified the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality on issues of privacy and security, usability, content, services, and citizen and social engagement. Continue reading.

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