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.

For media requests or to invite the authors to speak to an event or class, just drop us a line.

 

Learning to Earn

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 Ratings, Rankings and Wrongdoing

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.

Reopening a Can of Worms

Have You Heard wades into the pitched debate about reopening schools. We hear from an epidemiologist, then tour the land to talk to parents and teachers who are trying to navigate an impossibly complex situation.

The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal. And Jennifer and Jack’s book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, is out and available wherever you buy books!

A New Secretary for the Department of Education

What does the selection of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education portend for K-12 education? Kevin Welner, head of the National Education Policy Center, joins Jack and Jennifer to discuss how Cardona is likely to differ from Betsy DeVos – and Arne Duncan.

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.

Jennifer and Jack’s book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, is out and available wherever you buy books!

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Reaganland: Public Education and America’s Right Turn

In the latest episode of Have You Heard, we talk to Rick Perlstein, author of the monumental new history Reaganland, about America’s ‘right turn’ against public education. As Perlstein recounts, public schools were at the very center of the culture wars of the 1970’s. From parents in the northeast revolting against court-ordered busing to the textbook wars of Kanawha County, West Virginia that culminated in the bombing of the school board offices, 1970’s America was a site of simmering resentment, which was then weaponized by a rising generation of new right activists.

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.

Jennifer and Jack’s book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, is out and available wherever you buy books!