NEPC’s November Education Interview of the Month Podcast Explores School Privatization and Segregation

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Key Takeaway: NEPC Education Interview of the Month is a great teaching resource; engaging drive-time listening; and 30 minutes of high-quality policy information for educators, community members, policymakers, and anyone interested in education.

In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith and Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks discuss school privatization, segregation, and the end of public education.

Greg and Noliwe, who also chairs the American Studies Program at Cornell, explore issues that have arisen from the range of privatizing reforms prevalent over the last decade, and their impact on our ability to create equitable schools. Dr. Rooks has researched the roots of school privatization going back to the 19th century, when, she points out, there was the same kind of “deep-pocketed interest” from philanthropists that exists today.

Dr. Rooks coined the term “segrenomics,” referring to the profit for businesses that offer to educate children in economically and racially segregated communities. She attempts to understand the meaning of a society in which those with access to wealth and power are invested in education reform for “poor black children”…but only with models of education that don’t look like the education their own children get.

“We try everything except for the education the wealthy provide for their own kids,” Dr. Rooks says. “This is the education for you, they say, instead of having a sense of what makes a quality education for everyone.” In her work she consistently finds this discrepancy in education quality dependent on the economic status and race of the child.

Policymakers must take a long view towards equity, Dr. Rooks believes – no one election or candidate will resolve the issue. She argues that what is needed is a much broader form of organizing beginning at the local level, looking at what each individual school needs, and figuring out how to fill that need.

NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, is released each month from September through May.

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In December, Greg’s guests will be Dr. Rick Mintrop and Miguel Ordenes of the University of California Berkeley. Greg, Rick, and Miguel will explore the universal implementation of school vouchers and privatization in Chile, and what might happen in the U.S. if similar policies were to become more widespread here.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

Find Documents:
Press Release: https://nepc.info/node/9511
NEPC Publication: https://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/smith-rooks

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: nepc.colorado.edu

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William J. Mathis

Noliwe Rooks
Cornell University
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