Nick Ferroni, Teacher and Activist
As part of our Teacher Appreciation Week series, Steve Adubato talks with teacher and activist, Nick Ferroni, about the importance of educating his students about feminism and explains why he created social experiment to teach his male students about what it's like to be a woman in America.
"We are joined by Nick Ferroni, who is a history teacher, Union High School and an activist. Good to have you. Thank you very much. Real quick, we're gonna go to a clip from our friends at the NJEA, this is a Classroom Close-up clip. Describe your activism. Well, I'm an active educator, as most educators should be. And it's in reference to revising, as far as what we teach in school, how we teach, and it's... as far as being outspoken for students, particularly female students, minority students, and LGBTQ students. Well, let's find out more from this great Classroom Close-up profile of you and your work and the difference you make everyday. Let's go to the clip. [music playing] Okay. Today for Throwback Thursday, we're gonna do a little feminist activity. I start off with a trick question. I want you guys as groups to come up with five things... Identify five things that a woman can't do better than a man, or just a woman can't do. It could be professionally. It could be biologically. They bounced around every sort of idea, because they really were thinking hard about it. A woman can do anything a man can. It's just not... a woman doesn't have that type of opportunity a man has. [music playing] That's right. A woman can do anything a man can do. And that's what history teacher Nicholas Ferroni is trying to instill in his students. His lessons go way beyond the textbook. And there's a reason for that. I feel like our textbooks indirectly teach sexism, racism, and prejudice. Because we give the impression that white Christian males did everything. And that women, minorities, and certain religions were side notes. First question. Up until 1978, women could be fired from their job for being tall, divorced, pregnant, or married. Pregnant. Women were fired for being pregnant. The one that shocked me the most was where women will get fired if they are pregnant. Because they think that we can't do anything as good as we can because we are pregnant. When he asked about those five questions, I automatically thought that women can do anything. There's nothing that women can't do. Alright. So five things. Like, can women play football better than men? Can women be President better than men? Most of those things happened no more than 30 years ago. And my parents are only just slightly older than that. Own a house? That surprised me the most. I thought it would be like, more like 100 years ago. But it's no... not even a generation past. Up until 1972, women were not allowed to run the..."