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Are You Kidding Me?
23 minutes | Nov 18, 2022
Whose Child Is it? Robert Pondiscio on Schools Overreaching Their Authority
A century after the Supreme Court’s infamous ruling that children are “not mere creatures of the state,” there is a rising belief today that government is better suited than parents to decide what’s best for children. Increasingly, teachers and school administrators are making critical decisions about students’ upbringing without parental consent or even knowledge. How will this ideology affect the relationship between parents and teachers and how should parents respond? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Robert Pondiscio, a former teacher and Senior Fellow in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Robert outlines the current legal lines that have been drawn between parents and schools. He expresses concern over states like New Jersey that are wrongfully using FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) as a legal basis for not notifying parents when children change their pronouns or gender. While these guidelines are intended to protect children, Robert argues that they only erode trust between parents and teachers. With the latest NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) report showing that a majority of students nationwide still cannot read and do math at grade level, parents should get involved in their local school districts to ensure that schools are focusing on academic performance above all else. Resources: • Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’ | Robert Pondiscio | American Enterprise Institute • How to Educate an American | Ian Rowe, Naomi Schaefer Riley | Templeton Press Show Notes: • 00:40 | What does it mean that schoolchildren are not mere creatures of the state? • 03:25 | Public education is assuming powers it doesn’t have • 08:00 | Keeping secrets from parents violates FERPA • 11:10 | There’s a cultural problem in education where we tend to distrust parents • 15:55 | What are the political ramifications of this belief?
26 minutes | Oct 26, 2022
Taking from the Poor and Giving to the Rich? David French on Why Student Loan Forgiveness Is Regressive and Unfair
The Biden administration recently announced its decision to forgive $10,000 in student loans for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Is this policy the best way to help kids? Is it even legal? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by David French, senior editor at The Dispatch and columnist for The Atlantic. David explains that this $400 billion proposal is effectively financial relief given to one of society’s most privileged populations. Most of the taxpayers footing this bill aren’t college graduates, and it’s unreasonable to ask them to subsidize the education debt of people who stand to earn more money over the course of their lifetimes. David also breaks down why this idea is on shaky legal ground, in part because the administration has to demonstrate that this relief is tied to an actual emergency. After Biden declared, “the pandemic is over,” that argument is harder to make. Resources: • Why Biden’s Debt-Relief Plan ‘Pings Our Sense of Unfairness’ | David French | The Atlantic • Biden’s Student Loan Announcement Is a Regressive, Expensive Mistake | The Washington Post Editorial Board Show Notes: • 01:21 | How the relief program benefits the most economically advantaged classes of people • 06:37 | A discouraging message to frugal and hardworking students • 08:30 | Legal landscape: the concept of standing • 13:06 | Legal landscape: the program's unconstitutionality • 17:35 | What is the political calculus behind student debt relief? • 21:15 | Prioritizing policies that support young people on finding the right career path
21 minutes | Oct 12, 2022
Elizabeth Kirk on Adoption Post Dobbs
Following the Dobbs decision, how can policymakers and adoption agencies ensure that adoption is one of the options women consider when they find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Elizabeth Kirk, director of the Center for Law and the Human Person at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. Elizabeth explains that adoption is not often considered by mothers because many are unaware of how much control they have in the adoption process, choosing the family they want their child to be raised in. Many people also confuse private infant adoption with adoption out of the foster care system. In order to prioritize adoption as a meaningful choice for women, Elizabeth recommends that states require schools to teach about adoption in sex education classes, using programs like Option Hope in Louisiana. While she praises the adoption tax credit, the kinds of policies that would result in women considering adoption come from improving options counseling and giving birth mothers post-placement counseling. Resources: Countering the ‘Soft Stigma’ Against Adoption | Elizabeth Kirk | Institute for Family Studies The Role of Adoption in Dobbs-Era Pro-Life Policy | Elizabeth Kirk | Charlotte Lozier Institute Adoption After Dobbs | American Enterprise Institute Event Show Notes: • 01:11 | Misbeliefs and reasons why adoption is still not considered a meaningful option • 06:37 | Best-practices on how states can create a welcoming debate about adoption • 12:14 | A legal landscape that promotes informed consent counseling • 14:06 | How faith-based institutions model radical hospitality in child welfare • 16:22 | Prioritizing adequate language and understanding women’s needs
25 minutes | Sep 28, 2022
Tori Hope Petersen on Supporting Children in Foster Care
What lessons can policymakers and child welfare workers learn from those with personal experience in the foster care system in order to best support vulnerable children? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Tori Hope Petersen, former foster youth, current foster mom, and author of the gripping memoir Fostered. Tori describes how she navigated her way to a life of college graduation, athletic success, and a loving family despite living in twelve different foster homes. She recounts the positive influence of her Court Appointed Special Advocate and explains the need for more accountability with caseworkers. Tori believes we should be doing more to promote kinship care, detailing her powerful relationship with her track coach and mentor who ultimately served as her father figure. Resources: • Fostered: One Woman’s Powerful Story of Finding Faith and Family Through Foster Care | Tori Hope Petersen | B&H Books • We’re Still Failing Kids in Foster Care | Naomi Schaefer Riley | Deseret News Show Notes: • 01:06 | Tori’s childhood and first experience with the child welfare system • 05:49 | The conflict of interests of caseworkers and the role of Court Appointed Special Advocates • 09:45 | The importance and neglect in the foster system of kinship care • 17:04 | How Tori found guidance and healing in faith • 21:41 | Broadening the horizon for other people's stories in college
30 minutes | Sep 14, 2022
Ilana Horwitz on Religion, Education, and Social Capital
Public policy often looks at race, social class, and gender when analyzing educational inequality. But what impact could religion have on academic performance? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Ilana Horwitz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Tulane University and the author of God, Grades, and Graduation. Ilana breaks down the findings from a nationally representative study out of Notre Dame, which showed that students raised in Christian backgrounds get better grades in middle and high school regardless of their socioeconomic status. However, middle and upper-class students tend to choose less selective colleges, in part because college selection for religious students is more of a social decision than an economic one. Ilana explains that children who grow up religious tend to be conscientious, kind to others, and more self-disciplined, all qualities useful for performing well in school. Yet she does not argue that the country needs to be more religious. Instead, she advocates for identifying other institutions that offer the same kind of social capital as religion in order to instill a greater sense of purpose and hope among youth. Resources: • ‘God, Grades, and Graduation’ Review: A Faithful Way to Learn | Naomi Schaefer Riley | Wall Street Journal • I Followed the Lives of 3,290 Teenagers. This Is What I Learned About Religion and Education. | Ilana Horwitz | New York Times Show Notes: • 01:15 | Describing some results from the National Study on Youth and Religion • 04:30 | Religious students get better grades in middle and high school • 06:30 | How do religious students choose colleges? • 17:45 | Religion provides a sense of purpose • 21:25 | Is this a call to action to be more religious?
27 minutes | Aug 31, 2022
Scott Yenor on Cancel Culture and the Problems with Modern Feminism
Are college professors allowed to write about the differences between men and women? Can they speak out about the importance of strong families in creating strong societies? The short answer is no. In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Scott Yenor, Professor of Political Science at Boise State University and the author of The Recovery of Family Life. Scott was recently investigated by his employer after sharing his thoughts on these matters. After fifty years during which conservatives have tried to accommodate the basic principles of feminism, Scott explains that we need to celebrate the natural differences between men and women instead of socially engineering gender roles based on political ideology. Scott objects to gender equity programs in professional development and believes that K-12 schools should focus more on teaching students how they can build a solid marriage and happy family. Resources: • Inside the Title IX Tribunal | Scott Yenor | Law & Liberty • The Recovery of Family Life: Exposing the Limits of Modern Ideologies | Scott Yenor | Baylor University Press Show Notes: • 00:50 | What is behind Scott’s Title IX investigation? • 05:55 | Strong countries need strong families • 08:11 | The problem with gender equity programs • 15:05 | Feminism only works under a certain policy environment • 23:40 | The impact of cancel culture
22 minutes | Aug 17, 2022
The Fight for Education Freedom
A new AEI report found that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the largest enrollment declines in the history of American public Schools. 85 percent of school districts across the country had enrollment losses the year after the pandemic started, and almost half of districts saw declines of 3 percent, a seven-fold increase from the prior year. Why are Americans fleeing public schools? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Betsy DeVos, former secretary of education and author of the new book Hostages No More. Over the last two years, parents have witnessed school closures, mask mandates, and seen the impact of a curriculum focused more on social justice than preparing students for high levels of academic achievement. Secretary DeVos explains the flaws in the public school system that pre-date the pandemic and believes broadening school choice will return a standard of excellence to the classroom. Despite efforts in some states to return to remote learning or require masks in schools, Secretary DeVos is optimistic the public’s opposition to these measures will force politicians to put the interests of families and children first. Resources: • Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child | Betsy DeVos • Pandemic Enrollment Fallout: School District Enrollment Changes Across COVID-19 Response | Nat Malkus | American Enterprise Institute Show Notes: • 01:20 | Why are Americans fleeing public schools? • 06:30 | Why is it difficult to address the failings of public school? • 11:10 | The problems with the Department of Education • 16:00 | Should we have a national referendum on what topics should be taught in public school? • 17:30 | The way we run K-12 education is very outdated
28 minutes | Aug 3, 2022
Empowering Women Through the Choice of Adoption
Following the Dobbs decision, pregnant women uncertain about their future should be informed of all the options available to them, including adoption. For many, though, encouraging adoption is seen as coercive. Is this accurate? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Kate Trambitskaya, CEO of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children. For over 125 years, Spence-Chapin has supported women in crisis through comprehensive counseling. Kate explains Spence Chapin’s recent efforts to explain the differences between private adoption and public adoption out of the foster care system. The former does not involve government intrusion. Rather, private adoption is an alternative to parenting. Every expectant parent deserves to know that at adoption agencies nationwide, there is a waiting list filled with stable families who are ready, willing, and able to adopt children. Resources: • Adoption After Dobbs | Naomi Schaefer Riley | City Journal • Birth Parent Support: The Spence-Chapin Way | Leslie Nobel | Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children Show Notes: • 1:40 | What has changed after Dobbs • 2:40 | Adoption as an empowering option • 5:37 | Comparing adoption at birth with adoption from foster care system • 9:45 | What does Legal Defense look like in the Foster Care System? • 10:35 | The benefits of Open Adoption • 14:55 | Is adoption an alternative to abortion? • 21:45 | Who chooses adoption? • 24:10 | Race and Adoption
33 minutes | Jul 21, 2022
To Embrace Classical Texts or to Decolonize: A Third Way Conversation with Dr. Anika Prather
What should kids be reading in school? A movement has swept through K-12 classrooms to cancel classic texts and replace them with more racially diverse voices. Yet the very authors these activists are seeking to eliminate from school curricula influenced prominent African-American thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin. In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Dr. Anika Prather, professor in the Classics department at Howard University and founder of The Living Water School. To “decolonize” the curriculum, eliminating works by Shakespeare and Socrates, explained Dr. Prather, is to create holes in our understanding of black authors and the interconnected history of people today. While these educators might mean well, their decision to stop reading the classics in the name of social justice will only prevent our children from forming a broader worldview. For a better understanding of how to teach the classics, educators should draw inspiration from Dr. Prather’s own classically inspired school based on the Sudbury model. Resources: • Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African-American Students Reading Great Books Literature | Dr. Anika Prather • The Living Water School: A Classically Inspired School for Independent Learners in a Global Community Show Notes: • 1:45 | Background of the fight over literature education • 3:10 | Using literature to understand the Civil Rights Movement • 5:20 | Accessibility in Literature Education • 7:20 | The Harlem Renaissance and Classical Education • 9:30 | Decolonization Literary Movement • 13:20 | Background of the Living Waters School • 20:25 | Recommended Reading • 24:30 | Responding to Pushback • 29:15 | Chinua Achebe and the classics
30 minutes | Jul 6, 2022
Gender-Affirming Therapy and Youth Suicide: How Strong is the Evidence?
The push for gender-affirming therapy for young people is driven by the empirical claim that if this type of healthcare is not made widely and readily available, kids who are questioning their identity are in danger of committing suicide. This emotional extortion has caused adults to see this care as the only solution to help these children. What does the data really tell us? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Jay Greene, a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Jay explains that previous studies making this claim fail to capture a representative sample of young people with gender dysphoria. In his new paper, Jay finds a 14 percent increase in annual suicide rates in states where minors are able to access gender-affirming care compared to states that prevent minors from undergoing this care without parental consent. Jay also suggests that the effort by guidance counselors, teachers, and school administrators to automatically affirm a child’s gender identity undermines parents and fails to address any underlying mental health conditions that would help everyone work together to determine what is in the best interest of each child. Resources: • Puberty Blockers, Cross-Sex Hormones, and Youth Suicide | Jay Greene | Heritage Foundation • When the State Comes for Your Kids | Abigail Shrier | City Journal Show Notes: • 2:28 | Claims regarding gender-affirming therapy • 6:37 | Problems with prior studies on gender-affirming drugs • 8:28 | Relation to severe mental health issues • 14:30 | Background of Dr. Greene’s study • 16:55 | Discussing Dr. Greene’s study and his findings • 20:40 | Comparing suicide rates across generations • 24:10 | Title IX and new Biden Regulations
25 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
Protecting Children with Birth Match (or Violating Parent Civil Liberties?)
Since research suggests that past maltreatment of a child is the best predictor of future child abuse or neglect, several states have enacted a program called “birth match.” This program compares the names of parents of newborns with lists of individuals who have previously killed or seriously injured a child or had their parental rights terminated. Are these programs worthwhile? Should other states follow suit? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Marie Cohen, a child welfare policy analyst, researcher, and former Washington, DC social worker. Marie describes the birth match systems as they have been adopted by five states and explains the challenges she faced when gathering research for her latest report. Despite opposition to birth match from both civil liberties advocates and progressive activists, Marie says that the goal of the program is non-partisan— protecting children—and hopes that it will become more widely adopted. Resources: • Learning from the Past: Using Child Welfare Data to Protect Infants Through Birth Match Policies | Marie Cohen | American Enterprise Institute • Would a broader birth match have saved Antoine Flemons? | Marie Cohen | Child Welfare Monitor Show Notes: • 01:30 | What is birth match? • 05:25 | A name matches, what’s next? • 09:07 | Unofficial work-arounds seeking the welfare of the child • 11:25 | Birth match and civil liberties • 14:10 | The trouble with data • 16:50 | Opposition to child welfare services due to supposed racism • 20:06 | Potential for future federal action
21 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
Rediscovering Social and Emotional Learning
Classroom instruction in the field of “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL) has recently come under fire, particularly from conservatives. Critics see SEL as a mechanism for the government to indoctrinate students on controversial social issues. But should teachers abandon social and emotional learning altogether? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Nathaniel Grossman, a research intern at the Fordham Institute and former elementary school teacher. Nathaniel explains how Social and Emotional Learning has always been a critical component of a child’s education. He highlights the importance of creating a comfortable environment in the classroom for children to express their concerns and to teach them how to function well and collaborate with others. He worries that some forms of SEL will run contrary to values students are learning at home. And he is also concerned that in the name of improving students’ mental health, districts are eliminating testing and other assessments. Lowering expectations for students, which in turn lowers students’ expectations of themselves, is SEL done poorly. Resources: • Schools have no choice but to teach social and emotional skills | Nathaniel Grossman | Fordham Institute • What It Will Take for Social and Emotional Learning to Succeed | Frederick M. Hess and RJ Martin | American Enterprise Institute • A Dubious Consensus on ‘Social and Emotional’ Learning | Frederick M. Hess | American Enterprise Institute Show Notes: • 02:50 | What is Social and Emotional Learning? • 04:18 | Children will pick up social and emotional cues whether or not they are intentionally taught • 07:23 | Handling hot topics like gender identity and school shootings in the classroom • 11:30 | On sheltering students from potentially triggering standardized testing • 15:10 | The harm of lowering standards in the name of SEL • 18:45 | Evaluating students’ social and emotional skills
35 minutes | May 11, 2022
Every child in America deserves to know that a path to a successful life exists and they have the power to follow it. But instead, kids today are besieged by two incomplete, harmful narratives. The “blame the system” narrative teaches kids they are powerless against societal forces while the “blame the victim” narrative tells them that any undesirable outcome in life is a product of their own shortcomings, regardless of whether they have received any meaningful support along the way. There is a third way that keeps the individual at its center while relying on mediating institutions to guide and support young people. In this special episode, Ian discusses his new book, “Agency.” At each juncture of Ian’s career, he noticed that young people, in addition to absorbing a cultural narrative that devastated their chances of success, were growing up in communities with high concentrations of fragile families, lack of school choice, declines in religiosity, and significant unemployment. Rowe fully acknowledges the reality of societal barriers in disadvantaged communities. That’s why, in addition to a personal conviction in their own potential, kids need to embrace four building blocks that will lead to a life of human flourishing: Family, Religion, Education, and Entrepreneurship (F.R.E.E.). Resources • Agency | Ian Rowe | Templeton Press • Agency: A Book Event with Ian Rowe and Yuval Levin | American Enterprise Institute • Critical Race Theory Distracts from Widespread Academic Underachievement | Ian Rowe | Newsweek Show Notes • 02:55 | July 11, 2016: The moment Ian realized schools were not enough • 08:55 | Young people are trapped between two harmful narratives • 11:30 | Agency: The force of your free will guided by moral discernment • 13:25 | Breaking down the F.R.E.E. framework • 25:50 | F.R.E.E. is universal and timeless • 28:30 | This book is for anybody who has the ability to shape the moral character of young people
21 minutes | May 5, 2022
Educators should stick to what they do best
In public schools across the country, “circle conversations“—where teachers ask personal questions of their students—is just the latest example of American classrooms focusing on everything but academic instruction. Should American teachers remain purely educators or evolve into something akin to therapists? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Daniel Buck, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Fordham Institute, teacher, and author of an upcoming book on the philosophy of education. Daniel explains how teacher training now focuses on restorative justice ostensibly as a way to create more “safe spaces” for students. Instead, these practices have led to an uptick in bullying, classroom disruption, and more time in suspension, as well as less time devoted to reading and doing math. Daniel is encouraged by the recent surge in local activism among parents who want schools to prioritize teaching. But he worries that some critics may overplay their hand by accusing teachers of “grooming.” Resources: • ‘Community Circle’ Classroom Fad is Likely to Do More Harm Than Good | Daniel Buck | New York Post • In Defense of Suspensions | Daniel Buck | Fordham Institute • Not Everyone’s on Board with Turning Schooling into Therapy | Robert Pondiscio | Fordham Institute • The Pedagogy of the Depressed | Robert Pondiscio | Fordham Institute
36 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
How schools can better address mental health
Description: Suicide rates in adolescents have tripled since the start of the pandemic, and 1 in 5 kids will not make it out of their childhood without a severe mental disorder. How should we address this mental health crisis to better prepare children for adolescence? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Erica Komisar, a clinical social worker, psychoanalyst, and author of Chicken Little the Sky Isn’t Falling: Raising Resilient Adolescents in the Age of Anxiety. Erica explains how children experienced intense losses and periods of neglect and sometimes abuse during the pandemic, on top of the typical challenges already associated with growing up. While parents should ideally play a primary role in their child’s wellbeing, Erica believes K-12 schools are not doing enough to help children. She advocates for each child to receive thirty minutes of therapy per week from social workers in order to provide the foundation of emotional security that kids need for future independence and self-sufficiency. Resources: • Five Steps Schools Can Take Now to Boost Youth Mental Health | Erica Komisar | Institute for Family Studies • Many Teens Report Emotional and Physical Abuse by Parents During Lockdown | Ellen Barry | New York Times Show notes: • 01:35 | Covid-19 has amplified preexisting youth mental health issues • 05:45 | How do we draw the line between the role that parents and schools have in children’s lives? • 08:00 | Schools should have armies of social workers • 16:45 | Kids are going into adolescence more neurologically fragile • 19:10 | We treat young children as if they’re older and a project a sense of independence that they’re not prepared for
25 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
Preserving parental roles that work
Description: Starting in the late 20th century, Scandinavian countries began opening up parental leave for fathers, with Norway eventually establishing at least four weeks of parental leave for fathers alone. This approach has now caught on throughout the post-industrialized world. How have these policies affected family bonding and the well-being of children? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Kay Hymowitz, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Kay explains that the goal of these policies was to create more gender equality by allowing women a quicker return to the workforce. In reality, mothers remained taking care of the children, and the attempt to re-order gender relations has only confirmed the existence of the natural differences between mothers and fathers. Resources: • What we know about paternity leave | Kay Hymowitz | Institute for Family Studies • Mom genes: Inside the new science of our ancient maternal instinct | Abigail Tucker | Gallery Books Show notes: • 00:45 | The history of paternity leave • 02:40 | The “use it or lose it” approach • 10:20 | Who pays for these expansive paternity leave policies? • 13:55 | Acknowledging that women have a unique bond with their child • 18:25 | Bureaucratic efforts to redefine gender roles
35 minutes | Mar 17, 2022
A watered-down neo-Marxism has killed the education reform movement. What needs to happen now?
Description: Controversial ideologies about race and gender are making their way into K-12 classrooms. This kind of watered-down Marxism—in which everyone is designated either oppressed or oppressor—is at odds with the longstanding American principles of equality. How should school choice advocates respond to these harmful developments? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Jay P. Greene, senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy. He describes the history of the education reform movement, including the point at which he believes the leaders lost the chance at having more support among the American public. He outlines why a focus on equity and social justice has prevented a bipartisan coalition for education reform from forming. Now, he argues we should focus on a new education reform movement, one that appeals to all families who are displeased with current trends in K-12 schools. Resources: • Time for the school choice movement to embrace the culture war | Jay P. Greene | The Heritage Foundation • Does school choice need bipartisan support? An empirical analysis of the legislative record | Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul | American Enterprise Institute • How responsive are researchers to the education policy agenda? Trends in education research from 2005 to 2019 | Jay P. Greene and Frederick M. Hess | American Enterprise Institute Show notes: • 02:05 | Education reform is doing great but the movement is dead • 05:05 | What was the turning point for the education reform movement? • 17:30 | Charter schools are reliant on others to open, which has led to an education system favored by progressive elites • 20:00 | How do we broaden the appeal of school choice? • 24:10 | The new watered-down Marxism that is infiltrating our institutions
33 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
A war on merit and excellence
Description: Changing the names of schools, instituting race-based affinity groups, and eliminating standardized tests are just a few of the actions that woke boards of education across the country are taking in pursuit of equity. The result is that schools are now focused on everything but academic instruction. In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Nicole Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education (PDE). She says that lawsuits in places like northern Virginia and the suburbs of Boston, not to mention the school board recall in San Francisco, signify that even liberal progressives are fed up with performative wokeness that favors optics over outcomes. Nicole believes this movement of parental power is just getting started, and she encourages parents to continue pushing for transparency when it comes to their child’s education. Resources: • Judge calls Thomas Jefferson High admissions changes illegal | Hannah Natanson | Washington Post • Parents prevail over K-12 ‘bias incidents’ | The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board • In landslide, San Francisco forces out 3 board of education members | Thomas Fuller | The New York Times • Power to parents | Deseret News | Ian Rowe • Parents Defending Education resources Show notes: • 02:26 | What is PDE and what recent lawsuits have they been involved with? • 08:20 | Elite programs aren’t helpful if students are not properly prepared to succeed • 12:15 | The San Francisco school board recall reflect the sentiments of parents across the county? • 15:30 | Breaking down the PDE’s lawsuit against Wellesley Public Schools • 18:40 | Can the parental power movement sustain over time?
37 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
The problem with universal pre-k
Description: The recently stalled Build Back Better legislation contains $110 billion for universal pre-school for three and four-year-olds. Is a large investment in early childhood education universal pre-k necessary or beneficial for the academic and social development of American children? In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Katharine B. Stevens, founder and acting CEO of the Center on Child and Family Policy and former director of AEI’s early childhood program. Katharine breaks down new data from a randomized controlled trial studying 3,000 children from pre-k to sixth grade in Tennessee. The study revealed that students who did not attend pre-k displayed higher academic performance and were less likely to have disciplinary infractions than their peers who went to pre-k. Research on child development tells us that young kids need consistent, loving, one on one or small group relationships—factors that are often absent from public school pre-k programs. Katharine explains the need to support other ways of nurturing the development of these children, including family stability. Resources: • Effects of a statewide pre-kindergarten program on children’s achievement and behavior through sixth grade | Kevin Durkin et al | American Psychological Association • Universal Child Care: A Bad Deal For Kids? | Jenet Erickson and Katharine B. Stevens | Institute for Family Studies • Improving early childhood development by allowing advanced child tax credits | Katharine B. Stevens and Matt Weidinger | Tax Notes Federal Show Notes: • 01:00 | What is the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K research project? • 08:55 | How should policymakers respond to the results from the study? • 13:30 | Thinking of school as an antipoverty program doesn’t benefit everyone • 17:20 | Human development really comes from strong and stable families • 30:00 | How do we encourage more people to follow the success sequence?
24 minutes | Feb 2, 2022
The politics of education reform
Description: Twenty years ago, education reformers on the right and left agreed that promoting charter schools and school choice were appropriate steps to close the achievement gap and improve kids’ educational outcomes. Today, feelings among the reformers about school choice are a lot more polarized. Moreover, the recent shutdowns of many schools during the pandemic may have jeopardized Americans’ decades-long relationship with public schools and shown that education is smack in the middle of the political fray. In this episode, Naomi and Ian are joined by Robert Pondiscio, a Senior Fellow in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Robert argues that we may not need bipartisan support for school choice and if the left-wing reformers have abandoned important ideas about accountability and meritocracy in our schools, they may do more to harm than help the movement. Encouraging private school choice and vouchers fits better in red-state politics and Republicans should not wait around trying to save a previously bipartisan coalition that may have outlived its usefulness. Resources: Does school choice need bipartisan support? An empirical analysis of the legislative record | Jay P. Green | James D. Paul | American Enterprise Institute After two years of uncertainty and shaken trust, America's relationship with its public schools is in play like never before | Robert Pondiscio | The 74 The Left doesn’t like school choice. The Right doesn’t need them to | Robert Pondiscio | RealClearPolicy Demystifying Goliath: An Examination of the Political Compass of Education Reform | Ian Kingsbury | Journal of School Choice Show notes: • 01:05 | What is the landscape of education reform two years into the pandemic? • 05:40 | Do everyday parents share the same ideology as progressive ‘elites’ when it comes to school choice? • 07:20 | How has the left changed its stance on education reform specifically regarding the school choice movement? • 15:00 | Has the personal connection between parents and school systems become broken? • 17:50 | What is the impact of groups like Parents Defending Education when it comes to stopping ideologies they don’t share?
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