Turns out that’s not an easy question to answer. Even as the number of private schools that get taxpayer funds via school vouchers or tax credit scholarships is on the rise, few states keep any kind of tabs on what these schools are actually teaching. We talk to Rebecca Klein, education reporter for the Huffington Post, about her recent series on three popular curricula. As Klein explains, kids on the receiving end of these widely-used lessons are being schooled in an extreme religious and ideological worldview. Oh—and don’t miss Jack’s trip in the time machine to learn how US public schools were made secular in the first place.
Education is not the best anti-poverty program, argues historian Harvey Kantor, and it’s long past time we acknowledged that…
Jennifer Berkshire: I read in the New York Times recently that education is the most powerful force for *reducing poverty and lifting middle-class living standards.* It’s a classic example of what you describe in this excellent history as *educationalizing the welfare state.*
Harvey Kantor: Education hasn’t always been seen as the solution to social and economic problems in the US. During the New Deal, you had aggressive interventions in providing for economic security and redistribution; education was seen as peripheral. But by the time you get to the Great Society programs of the 1960’s, education and human capital development had moved to the very center. My colleague Robert Lowe and I started trying to think about how that happened and what the consequences were for the way social policy developed in the US from the 1960’s through No Child Left Behind. How is it that there is so much policy making and ideological talk around education and so little around other kinds of anti-poverty and equalizing policies? We also wanted to try to understand how it was that education came to shoulder so much of the burden for responding to poverty within the context of cutbacks in the welfare state. Continue reading →