Wisconsin Wakes Up

Nearly a decade has passed since Scott Walker took on teachers and other public employees in America’s Dairy Land, virtually eliminating their right to engage in collective bargaining. So what’s the state of the state today? The Have You Heard mobile heads to the Heartland and discovers that the conversation in Wisconsin sounds a lot like what’s happening in states from West Virginia to North Carolina. Public education and the question of how to fund it has emerged as a potent political issue and is driving what could be a big shift in the state’s political makeup. Transcript of the episode available here.

If you’re a fan of Have You Heard, consider supporting the podcast on Patreon. Your support will help us do more on-the-ground reporting (Arizona here we come!). And a small donation gets you extra stuff – like this episode’s extended interview with Randy Bryce, aka Iron Stache, who is running to “repeal and replace” Paul Ryan.

Getting Fundamental: Do Americans Have a Right to Public Education?

What does the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, have to do with the teacher walkouts that are sweeping across the land today? Everything, explains law professor Derek Black in the latest episode of Have You Heard. Short version of the history: all 50 states have language enshrining their responsibilities to provide public education to their citizens. The deep spending cuts, and the expansion of charter schools and private school vouchers, represent an effort to hack away at the states’ obligations. If you’re wondering why so many protesters in Arizona, Colorado and [insert name of next state here] have been citing their state constitutions, well, here’s your answer!


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.

And if you like what you’re hearing on Have You Heard, you can now support us on Patreon.

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.