News Roundup: Week of 2.20.17

It’s a short roundup this week. There was some speculation about who might picked to lead the Office of Civil Rights at the federal Department of Education. (Gail Heroit, a law professor at the University of San Diego and an apparent opponent of considering race in college admissions.) And, a look inside recruitment strategies at a New Orleans charter that is committed to serving diverse, racially mixed population of students.

The centerpiece this week was a fantastic article in the New York Times by Nikole Hannah-Jones. I would normally summarize the main arguments, but really this is worth a full read. Here’s a few excerpts:  

  • After discussing American pride in public institutions during the New Deal era, Hannah-Jones argues that this commitment later dwindled because “broad support of public programs and institutions hinged on a narrow definition of who that public was: white Americans.” I think this argument is overlooked far too often in discussion of education policy history. People didn’t want their tax dollars going to families that don’t look like them.  
  • “Even when they fail, the guiding values of public institutions, of the public good, are equality and justice. The guiding value of the free market is profit.” For me, this is probably the key counterpoint to the school privatization movement.
  • And, a bit of optimism: “If there is hope for a renewal of our belief in public institutions and a common good, it may reside in the public schools. Nine of 10 children attend one, a rate of participation that few, if any, other public bodies can claim, and schools, as segregated as many are, remain one of the few institutions where Americans of different classes and races mix. The vast multiracial, socioeconomically diverse defense of public schools that DeVos set off may show that we have not yet given up on the ideals of the public — and on ourselves.”

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