Jenn Binis, President of Schoolmarm Advisors Consulting Group, shares her take on the purpose of American Public Education on today’s show. She pulls the rubber band back further on the narrative of factory model schools to give us a glimpse at the more uncomfortable beginnings of public schools. She thinks the factory model narrative is comfortable, and that is why it prevails.
As most people are looking to the future of schools during this global pandemic, Modern Learners is going to go back in time to see what can be learned from history and applied to our current contexts. Jen challenges listeners to ask whose story is not being told when reflecting and gathering stories from this moment. She believes that anti-racism education is at a tipping point and progress is being made towards honoring the experiences all children in schools. The hashtag movements of #disrupttexts, #cleartheair, and #31daysibpoc also get a shout out in this episode.
We also explore the history of NCLB and how it came to be. Many believe it happened because people didn’t trust teachers, but Jenn is convinced it has more to do with states wanting to have a better idea of what was happening in schools.
There are parts of this conversation that may be uncomfortable depending your level of understanding of anti-racism work. We also talk about our use of the collective “we” which in this episode we defined as middle-aged white women who are teachers. This “we” was important as we also discussed the fact that 70% of the people in the education field are women, and yet women hold less than 30% of leadership positions in schools. The reasons for this also have a historical origin story.
As always thanks for listening. If you haven’t listened to the last episode with Dr. Kim Parker, please click over there and have a listen.