Steve Mariotti has spent the past three decades on a mission to bring the concepts of entrepreneurship and business ownership to every student around the globe. His own experience in the classroom inspired him to create the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in 1987. The NFTE mission is to bring entrepreneurship education to low-income youth, and empower them to create pathways out of poverty.
Mariotti started his teaching career in some of the toughest public schools in the country in neighborhoods like East New York, Bed-Stuy, and Fort Apache in the South Bronx. What he found there were students who had been relegated to life in poverty through an education based in being an adequate employee, with little knowledge about the world of opportunity in small business.
By bringing business into the classroom, he not only saw that his students became more engaged in what they were learning but also in their futures. Nearly 30 years later, Mariotti is sharing some of what he learned in those long, early days in his new book Goodbye Homeboy: How My Students Drove Me Crazy and Inspired a Movement, which comes out August 6, 2019. If you are looking for a book that is truly moving and inspiriting, a book that will take you away to a place that you will never want to leave, then this is the book for you.
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Xb2kKS
I’ve read that Jaime Escalante was your teaching mentor. What do you think he would say about Goodbye Homeboy?
Jaime was the best classroom teacher I ever saw. He had a remarkable ability to be kind and loving to students, while also setting very high standards for them. He truly wanted others to succeed. After three decades in education, I now recognize that there is no greater gift for a teacher. Jaime inspired so much of my work, I would love to have the opportunity to share my book with him. My hope would be that he could help so many more people by training teachers to teach kids using his methods.
You love to read. What are you currently reading?
Reading is my greatest pastime, plus its a powerful way to learn. Lately, I have been working on a personal goal to learn about other points of view. Every week, I am trying to read two or three biographies of people who do not advocate entrepreneurship or business ownership as a means to reducing poverty.
At the moment, I am reading “Howard Zinn: A Life on the Left” by Martin Duderman. Howard Zinn did truly innovative and brilliant work. He disrupted his field by sharing the history of people that had been conquered and had their lives, land, and freedom taken away from them. I have always admired his work to write the history of the underdog. But, I have also always wondered why he never looked to entrepreneurship to accomplish some of the goals he wants for a more just society. In my opinion, he and many other thinkers that I admire got it wrong in terms of political economy. When they tend toward state ownership of resources, I consider individual ownership to be the most effective way of eradicating poverty. My intellectual hero is Albert Einstein and yet, in my opinion, he himself also advocated forstate control over economic resources.