Help Send Have You Heard on the Road in 2020

Notice that the media keeps missing important education stories – or, worse, getting them wrong? Have You Heard wants to do something about that. We have an ambitious list of destinations we want to travel to in the months ahead. With your support we can hit the road and help tell stories like these:

  • Will Betsy DeVos cost Donald Trump Michigan and the election? We’re going to Michigan to explore how DeVos’ deep unpopularity and her extreme agenda could tip the balance in a state that Trump won by just 10,000 votes in 2016.
  • According to the New York Times African-American voters feel betrayed by the Democrats’ pivot away from charter schools. But recent gubernatorial campaigns by Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida point to a more complicated story. We’re headed south to learn more.
  • Voters in rural Wisconsin went big for Trump in 2016. But there is one policy area where they are wildly at odds with the GOP: education. As the GOP embraces school funding cuts and privatization, rural communities have been voting to raise their own taxes in order to keep their local public schools alive.
  • Your city/state here! Got an idea for an episode that’s relevant to our education 2020 theme? Email us or Tweet your ideas to @HaveYouHeardPod.

Here are some of the ways you can support us:

1. Become a patron of Have You Heard on Patreon. Or if you’re already a Patreon supporter, consider increasing your monthly donation. (Note: Patreon subscribers get access to extras like our extended play segment *In the Weeds* and episode-specific reading lists.)

2. Make a one-time donation via PayPal.

3. Make a tax deductible donation. Make your check payable to:

Public Education Communications Project
23 Woodward Ave.
Gloucester, MA 01930.

Thanks for your support!

Jennifer and Jack

Pandemic: School Closures Past, Present, Future

This isn’t the first time schools have shuttered in the wake of a pandemic. Resident education historian Jack Schneider on what we can learn from school closures past. Meanwhile, the absence of schools seems to have awakened even their critics to how key they are. (Psst: turns out that they’re not just places to develop *human capital*…) And what of the future? Resident paranoid Jennifer Berkshire says it’s never too soon to start fretting over whether schools will ever reopen – especially in states where pols have been feverishly focused on dismantling them. Transcript available here.

The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Please donate at

The Blame Game: 100 Years of Teacher Bashing

Blaming teachers for the woes of US public schools and beyond is as old a pastime as public education itself. Historian Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz takes us through 100 years of teacher blaming and the love-hate relationship the US has with its teachers. You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll want to pre-order her book, Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History.

Complete transcript of the episode is available here. And if you appreciate Have You Heard, consider making a small donation via Thanks for your support!

Don’t Mess with Texas’ Schools

Have You Heard heads to fast-growing north Texas for a first-hand look at how support for public education is upending the state’s politics. Spoiler: GOP candidates are scrambling to paint themselves as lovers of public schools and their teachers. But does their new-found love translate into actual policy? And will former GOP voters who prize public education end up changing the way they vote?  Part of our series on education and politics in 2020, this episode captures a trend with major implications for Texas and beyond. Transcript available here.

And if you like what you hear, consider supporting Have You Heard on Patreon. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going and enables us to hit the road to do original reporting.

Milton Friedman’s Day in Court

The raging debate about whether public money should fund private religious education is a very old one. What’s new is the increasingly complex education landscape and the mainstreaming of once radical free market ideas. Education historian Ethan Hutt helps us make sense of the recent Supreme Court case, Montana vs. Espinoza and what’s next for the school choice wars. Full transcript available here.

The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going and enables us to do on-the-ground reporting. Please consider making a donation.

History Wars: How Politics Shape Textbooks

What are students learning about American history in these hyper-polarized times? That’s what New York Times reporter Dana Goldstein wanted to know. And so she set off on an epic reading adventure: 43 middle and high school American history textbooks, 4,800 in all. Have You Heard talks to Dana about how our divided nation shows up on the pages of these books on subjects such as immigration, the economy and suburbanization. Also, Jack revisits the great debate in the 1990’s over history standards. Full transcript of the episode is available here.

And in this episode’s segment of In the Weeds, available to our Patreon subscribers, Jack and Jennifer discuss the emergence of the National Parents Union, a new group with an old cause and some powerful friends. Listen in by becoming a patron!