For most of his life, Maurice Berube has been immersed in the field of education, often researching and writing about its impact on society. As a decorated teacher, Eminent Scholar Emeritus at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and the author or co-author of 13 books, he has studied education, educational reform and its connection to politics, history, morality and more.

His last book, in 2010, “The Moral University,” was co-authored with his wife, Dr. Clair T. Berube. It examines the ways universities act morally toward students, faculty, their communities and the nation.

For this teacher and education expert, it all began in Lewiston, Maine, where he was raised and influenced by his socially conscious family. In a 2010 interview with the Sun Journal, he spoke of his “terrific teachers” at Lewiston High School and the high expectations that shaped his early years. For an update on this influential educator, read on.

Name: Maurice R. Berube

Age: 80

Reside: Norfolk, Va.

You’re giving a presentation at a civil rights conference in New York on Nov. 25. What will your presentation be about? I am giving a major speech . . . honoring my colleague Marilyn Gittell at City University of New York. I was her deputy in the Institute for Community Studies, which helped black school districts have elected school boards. The opposition of the white teachers union led to strikes that polarized the city, which I describe in my first book “Confrontation.” (Gittell was an education reformer who advocated for local control of education and citizen involvement. She died in 2010.)

You have written 13 books, covering education, history, politics, leadership, culture and more, but justice and equality seem to be fundamental themes in your work. Why? The French-Canadian society I grew up in was concerned with the problems of the “little man.” After college and the military, my first job was with the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists fighting the Mafia who exploited poor Puerto Rican workers. When I was confronted with their poverty, my feelings for the underdog deepened. . . . I later joined the Socialist Party and wrote for their publications. I was editor/organizer for the NYC teachers Union (United Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO) from 1964-67. Then, in 1968 I joined Gittell’s staff at Queens College. In short , I was an active player in the Confrontation, which is the subject of the City University conference. I have described my interest in social justice and my involvement in my memoir “Subverting the Paradigm.”

You heard Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C. as a young man. What effect did that experience have on your already developing ideas on civil rights and equality? I attended the historic March on Washington and was mesmerized — and challenged — by Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.

Talk a little about how your family life and upbringing in Lewiston. I am a native of Lewiston and went to Lewiston High School, class of 1950. I grew up in Lewiston in a hard-working, socially conscious French-Canadian society. These included my relatives and the Nadeau family, who I worked for in their grocery store and restaurant during high school and college. I have three children by my first wife (deceased) and one by my current wife, with whom I have co-authored two books.

Given the tremendous amount of research and writing you’ve done on the topic of education, what are your thoughts on the status of education in America and what one thing we should, as a nation, be focusing on. Unfortunately American education — and its teachers — are currently under attack by business-influenced groups. A good new book on the subject is my friend Diane Ravitch’s “Reign of Error.” Let us hope that the schools will continue to get our support, as they need it most.


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