Aired: August 25, 2017

Degrees of Separation: School Systems

In the final episode of our special series on education and inequality, we dive deep into the debate over charters, examine new ways school districts are tackling integration, and explore the forgotten regions of America’s vast public school system.

This episode is the final in a six-part series. For other episodes from the series, check the sidebar or click here.

  • LA's Messy Fight Over Charters (9 min.)

    With: John Last (With Good Reason)

    2017 saw the most expensive school board race in U.S. history for a single seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board. We talk to the people involved about how the battle over charters polarized the race.

  • The Case Against Charter Schools (10 min.)

    With: Diane Ravitch (NYU Steinhardt)

    We talk to outspoken charter school critic Diane Ravitch about how charters can make inequality worse.

  • An All-Charter Future (10 min.)

    With: Tony Wagner (Harvard)

    We hear from charter advocate Tony Wagner (Harvard) about what an all-charter future might look like.

  • Busing 2.0 (9 min.)

    With: Allison Quantz (With Good Reason)

    Louisville, KY is home to one of the most innovative and successful experiments in school desegregation in the country. So why are some people trying to kill it?

  • The Schools America Forgets (15 min.)

    With: Mara Casey Tieken (Bates College)

    When we talk about public schools, we usually think about urban or suburban districts. But what about the rest of America? We explore the issues facing rural schools with Mara Casey Tieken.



1 Comment on “Degrees of Separation: School Systems”

  1. J Baptist

    Your “expert” guest outed herself as completely out of touch with the realities of education when she made her comment about lawyers, doctors, and engineers being well prepared straight out of their training, and stating that teacher training programs need to be more like those programs.

    In reality, a lawyer who is fresh out of school and who has just passed the BAR will not be given the most difficult cases, and may spend years working in support of a more senior lawyer. A brand new, fresh from medical school doctor will not be doing the complex surgeries, but will be taking care of routine cases on their own, and more advanced cases under supervision of a more experienced senior physician. Similarly, a newly minted engineering grad will probably be an assistant for a long time before they lead major projects.

    On the other hand, because of the way that seniority works in school assignments, it is the brand new teachers who will generally be given the most challenging students, and who will generally be working at the most challenging schools. They will be working alone in their classroom, and not as an assistant, or simply be doing routine work. Unlike those other professions, where seniority and experience allow professionals to take on the more challenging and complex jobs, and thus earn more money, in teaching, seniority guarantees that you get paid more, even if your seniority allows you to select the easiest and most routine assignments.

    Perhaps changing that systemic problem should be the focus.

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