A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

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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College Behind Bars: the Case for Higher Education in Prison

It’s the episode we’ve been looking forward to all year! Meet the winner of the 2021 Have You Heard Graduate Student Research Contest: Patrick Conway. When you listen to this episode, you’ll understand exactly why Patrick claimed this year’s top prize. His exploration of how we value prison education raises essential and relevant questionsabout who is entitled to be educated at tax-payer expense, what kind of education they should receive, and how we view crime. Congratulations to Patrick, and a big thanks to his former student JD Linares for putting in a special appearance. You can find a complete transcript of the episode here

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Not Your Parents’ School Desegregation

Five decades after Boston’s bitter battles over busing helped stall the push for school desegregation, the issue is once again a policy priority in Massachusetts. What happened? Chalk it up to a generational shift, a racial reckoning, and a long-overdue acknowledgment that addressing the problem of Massachusetts’ increasingly segregated schools will also require tackling housing and transportation issues. Special guests: State Senator Brendan Crighton and METCO CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas.

Episode transcript is here

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Long, Hot Education Summer

Suddenly education is THE hot topic. But where there’s heat, light doesn’t necessarily follow. Jennifer and Jack discuss what’s missing from the coverage of the backlash against Critical Race Theory, as well as some stories that should be getting more attention, including the Biden Administration’s missing education policy and the collapse of Obama-era education reform. 

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Where Communities Go To College

Community colleges get a bad rap. But recent graduates of Maryland’s Frederick Community College say that stigma is undeserved. These new and soon-to-be-teachers make a powerful case for learning – and teaching – close to home. Warning: this episode may upend preexisting notions about the relationship between education and place, not to mention how we define “smart.” Episode transcript is here. Special guests: Professor Sarah Bigham, Frederick Community College and an all-star cast of FCC grads.

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The K-12 Culture Wars

The public school culture wars are raging more intensely than at any time since the Reagan era. Fueled by intense political polarization and the continued fallout from pandemic school closures, the culture wars now threaten public education. Special guests: New Hampshire teacher Misty Crompton, Iowa teacher Nick Covington, Missouri teacher Jessica Piper and New York City teacher Selena Carrión.

Episode transcript is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.