The hosts of your favorite education podcast have written a book! A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door will be out on November 17 and is available for pre-order now.
If America’s public schools don’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic, it won’t just be due to the virus. Opponents of public education have long sought to dismantle our system of free, universal, and taxpayer-funded schooling. But the present crisis has provided them with their best opportunity ever to realize that aim. Books like Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains sounded a clear warning about the influence that right-wing plutocrats increasingly exert over American politics. Now, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door takes their analyses a step further, addressing an urgent question: Why is the right so fixated on dismantling public education in the United States?
Education historian Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire trace the war on public education to its origins, offering the deep backstory necessary to understand the threat presently posed to America’s schools. The book also looks forward to imagine how current policy efforts will reshape the educational landscape and remake America’s future. A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door offers readers a lively, accessible, yet scholarly view of a decades-long conservative cause: unmaking the system that serves over 90% of students in the U.S. With Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and COVID-19 posing unprecedented threats to our already besieged public schools, the book could not be more timely.
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The pandemic gave the education technology industry the opportunity to FINALLY deliver on the bold promises it has been making for decades. What happened instead was just another failure to disrupt, says MIT’s Justin Reich. Transcript is here. And a description of the Imagining September project with links to participate is here.
Students from Boston tell Have You Heard what they’ve lost during this year of pandemic learning. Spoiler: what you’ll hear bears little resemblance to the discussion of “learning loss” that’s atop the agenda of policy makers right now. Special guest Boston teacher Neema Avashia helps us make sense of the gap between how students are feeling and how adults with power are talking. Episode transcript is here.
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is creating a network of tuition-free Montessori-inspired preschools for low-income students. But his vision of schools that nurture the autonomy and creativity of kids is on a collision course with the Amazon workplaces Bezos has engineered for adults. Special guest: Mira Debs, author of Diverse Families, Desirable Schools: Public Montessori in the Era of School Choice. Transcript available here.
Note: Have You Heard listeners can get 20% of Mira’s book if they eschew Amazon and order direct through Harvard Education Press. Just enter the code DFDS21.
And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, consider supporting us on Patreon. Right now, if you subscribe at the $10/month rate, we’ll send you an autographed copy of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door.
The idea that more education is the way to help workers get ahead is a cherished American principle. In fact, this “human capital” view of education dates all the way back to another period of roaring inequality in the US: the Gilded Age. In episode #107, historian Cristina Groeger joins us to discuss the origins of the “education fix,” and why the idea of educating our way out of inequality has always been doomed to fail.
Episode transcript is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.
School ranking season is on us once again, which means that Have You Heard co-host Jack Schneider is in a lather. Episode #106 is devoted to demystifying the “brutal pessimism” of school rankings and ratings, from higher education to K-12. And who better to join us than Akil Bello, Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest?
Complete transcript of the episode is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.