Unmaking the Ontario Model: Austerity Comes to Canada

Deep spending cuts and ballooning class sizes are coming to Ontario. Have You Heard talks to parents, students and teachers in Toronto about what controversial changes proposed by the new conservative government will mean for a public education system success story. Hint: nothing good… Full transcript available here.

And if you like what you hear, please consider supporting Have You Heard on Patreon!

Wild Wild West: Arizona’s Charter School Experiment

Did you hear the one about the Arizona state legislator who made a cool $14 million from selling his network of charter schools to a nonprofit that he set up, which then inked a lucrative lease deal with him, hired him as a consultant, and hired his brother as the chief executive? That’s just one of the stories of charter school fraud and corruption that Craig Harris and his colleagues at the Arizona Republic exposed in their award-winning series “The Charter Gamble.”

In the latest episode of Have You Heard, we talk to Harris about how charter schools became Arizona’s new cash crop. You can read a full transcript of the episode here. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.

Selective Outrage: Revisiting the Atlanta School Cheating Scandal

In March of 2013, thirty five Atlanta educators, all of them Black, were charged with racketeering and conspiracy for allegedly changing student answers on standardized tests from wrong to right. The teachers were accused of the worst-possible wrongdoing against their students. But behind the longest criminal trial in Georgia history is an untold story – of school privatization and deprivation, of urban renewal and gentrification, and the criminalization, of Black Atlantans and their educators. Shani Robinson, the youngest teacher to be tried and convicted, joins Have You Heard to discuss her new book None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators, written with Anna Simonton.

You can read a full transcript of the episode here. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.

The Rise of the *Portfolio* Model for Schools

The portfolio model of school district management—it sounds technocratic, even a little bit weedy and yet it’s arguably one of the hottest button topics in our great education debate today. You may have heard the ‘p’ word mentioned in the context of recent teachers strikes in LA and Denver, and if you haven’t, well, you’ll likely be hearing it soon. That’s because there’s big money lining up to bring the portfolio model to a school district near you. A new organization backed by two billionaires—that would be Reed Hastings of Netflix fame and hedge funder John Arnold—will be pushing aggressively and expensively to expand the portfolio model across the country. But what is it exactly? In the latest episode of Have You Heard, Jennifer and Jack are joined by Katrina Bulkley, author of Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance and the New Portfolio Models for Urban Education Reform. Bulkley walks us through the central tenets of portfolio-ism and also sheds some lights on why districts that have embraced the portfolio push seem to be, well, on fire.

You can read a full transcript of the episode here. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.

University Inc.: Capitalism, Philanthropy and Higher Education

In the latest episode of Have You Heard, Jack and Jennifer are joined by Joshua Hunt, author of University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education – which is even better than it sounds! Hunt describes what happened when tax-cutting fever struck Oregon in the 1990’s, and the University of Oregon turned to the deep pockets of its most prominent alumnus: Phil Knight, CEO of Nike. Let’s just say that Knight’s gifts came with plenty of, well, shoestrings attached… 

Complete transcript of the episode available here. And if you’re a fan of the high-quality content that Have You Heard serves up, consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.