The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate and Segregation

Have You Heard Episode #23: The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate and Segregation

In this episode, Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider discuss how test scores and other current metrics distort our picture of school quality, often fostering segregation in the process. What would a better set of measures include? Our intrepid hosts venture inside an urban elementary school to find out. You can read the entire transcript here, and be sure to check out Jack’s new book, which is really the star of the latest episode.

The Right’s Long Crusade Against “Government Schools”

Have You Heard Episode #22: The Right’s Long Crusade Against “Government Schools”: a Conversation with Historian Nancy MacLean

Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, is one of the most buzzed about books of the summer. But her book is also about public education, and the Right’s long crusade to privatize what they call “government schools.” You can read a transcript of the entire interview here. MacLean’s book is fantastic, and I hope that this interview encourages you to read it. Just don’t blame me if you need to sleep with the lights on! Note: if you’re wondering what happened to Have You Heard’s other half, Jack Schneider, he’s been traveling and will be reappearing in episode #23.

‘I Quit!’

Have You Heard Episode #21: Teachers Are Leaving and They Want to Tell You Why 

In this episode of Have You Heard, we hear from teachers who left their jobs – and wanted to tell the world why. Some left *kicking and screaming,* as was the case with Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan. Others shared powerful emotional appeals with the world to object to everything they feel is wrong with public education. These very public resignations are a form of activism, a way for teachers to articulate how and why teaching needs to change. Warning: this episode should be rated *p* for powerful! You can read the transcript of the episode here.

Putting the ‘i’ in School

Have You Heard Episode #20: Personalized Learning and the Disruption of Public Education

Fantastic news, listener. The cure for what ails our long failing public schools has finally been found and it’s personalized learning! Except that as our special guest, Bill Fitzgerald, breaks down for us, a more accurate term for this miracle cure-all is *algorithmically-mediated learning, which is about as appealing as it sounds.This episode of Have You Heard looks at what’s behind the huge push to reshape public education along *personalized* lines, why disrupters like Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates and Reed Hastings would do well to revisit the history of #edtech, and the strange bedfellows aligned behind personalized learning, including advocates of religious education (see DeVos, Betsy) who seek to control the content of what kids learn. It’s Have You Heard #20! Note: complete transcript of the episode is available here.

No Clean Hands

I’m responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Are you?

By Alicia
18th century political and moral philosopher Joseph de Maistre said every country gets the leader it deserves.  More recently, professor and public intellectual Tressie McMillan Cottom pointed out there are no innocent parties in the expansion of market-based education. That’s over two centuries of wisdom firmly identifying us, *We the People,* as just as responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as President Donald Trump.

How are you or I responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education?

It was President Trump who picked her, which makes sense, as his own for-profit education company defrauded thousands of students. But you and I also helped DeVos get to her position. We’re implicated too, despite our protest of the selection of a woman who has used her financial and social capital to undermine public education. My contribution to Betsy DeVos’ appointment is that I consistently failed to pay attention to what was occurring in public education. Continue reading →