Takeover! What’s Behind the State Takeover of School Districts?

Have You Heard looks at what’s behind state takeovers of school districts. As guest Domingo Morel explains, laws authorizing states to take over urban districts appeared as a direct response to Black power at the municipal level. Today, while takeovers come shrouded in the discourse of “achievement,” the conservative logic behind them is unchanged: improving schools requires weakening the political power of the communities they are in. Full transcript coming of the episode can be accessed here.

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Further reading (and thanks to our guest Domingo Morel for putting this list of recommendations

Carr, Sarah. 2014. Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press

Chambers, Stefanie. 2006. Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Fung, Archon. 2004. Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Henig, Jeffrey, Richard Hula, Marion Orr and Desiree Pedescleaux. 2001. The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Hochschild, Jennifer L. and Nathan Scovronick.  2004.  The American Dream and Public Schools. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Reckhow, Sarah. 2013. Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Russakoff, Dale. 2015. The Prize: Who’s In Charge of America’s Schools? New York: NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Shedd, Carla. 2015. Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Steffes, Tracy. 2012. School, Society, and State: A New Education to Govern Modern America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

The Data Boyz: What *Counts* in Education Research?

As the latest episode of Have You Heard explores, the issue of what *counts* in education research is the subject of a heated debate. We invite economist Jesse Rothstein into the podcast studio to talk us through the rise of the *data boyz*: quantitative researchers who increasingly determine what matters. Rothstein talks VAM, physics envy, and what gets missed when education research only counts what can be counted. And here’s a link to the story we reference about the Louisiana legislators having it out over the question of whether New Orleans’ charter school experiment is a success.

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55 Strong: Lessons from the West Virginia Teachers Strike

In our latest episode, Have You Heard talks to teachers in West Virginia (lots of them!) about the nine-day walkout that shuttered schools across the state – and what they think teachers in other states can learn from their powerful example. And a special thanks to all of the Mountain State teachers who helped out with this episode, sharing your stories and your insights. We learned a lot and think that listeners will too. Complete transcript available here.

Am I Next? School Shootings and Student Protests

Student strikes and walkouts have led to real political change in the past. Can they force politicians to finally do something about gun violence today? We talk to historian Jon Zimmerman about powerful protests led by previous generations of students, and what made them so effective. And we hear from student leaders who are organizing protests right now, speaking up and walking out of their schools, in order to try to force a change on an issue that affects them so directly.

The Skills Trap

Is there anyone left who doesn’t think the view of higher-education-as-workforce development is all that? Count Have You Heard among the skeptics. In our latest, we hear from Mike Rose, author of Back to School about why tailoring school to a narrow set of workplace skills is such a terrible idea. And we meet a home health aide who went to community college in hopes of earning more money, fell in love with learning, and “spread her wings,” emerging with big goals and even bigger demands for what her community deserves. One of our best episodes to date!