Talk about School Choice: March 18

By now you’ve probably heard that Governor Scott Walker is proposing an expansion of the school choice program, which uses public funding to allow students to attend private or religious schools. Specifically, the Governor aims to boost taxpayer funding for school choice in Milwaukee and Racine by 9% or about $73 million.

On Monday March 18, 2013, join us at 7 pm in Varsity 3, Union South to discuss these issues.

Hear from two authors with new books on school choice, based on careful research in New Orleans and Milwaukee.Sarah Carr

Sarah Carr has written about education for the last 12 years, reporting on battles over
school vouchers, efforts to educate China’s massive population of migrant children, and the explosion of charter schools in post-Katrina New Orleans. Carr has worked as a staff writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. She is the author of Hope Against Hope, a nonfiction account of New Orleans schools. She reported and researched the book in 2010-11 with the support of a Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University. Carr is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Barbara J. Miner has been a reporter, writer, and editor for almost forty years, writing for publications ranging from the New York Times to the Milwaukee Journal. The former managing editor of Rethinking Schools, she has co-edited numerous books on education, including Rethinking Columbus. Miner lives in Milwaukee. Her new book, Lessons from the Heartland, has been called an “explosive educational biography of her hometown.” She blogs at View from the Heartland at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The discussion will be moderated by UW-Madison professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, the Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and faculty affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former president of the American Educational Research Association. Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books, The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children and Crossing over to Canaan: The journey of new teachers in diverse classrooms, along with 6 other books she has authored or edited. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and a member of several editorial boards. Her work has won numerous scholarly awards including the H. I. Romnes faculty fellowship, the Spencer Post-doctoral Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson Outstanding research award. In 2002 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden and in 2003-2004 was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She is the 2004 recipient of the George and Louise Spindler Award for ongoing contributions in educational anthropology, given by the Council on Anthropology & Education of the American Anthropological Association. In the spring of 2005 she was elected to the National Academy of Education. In spring of 2008 she was awarded the Hilldale Award, the highest faculty award given at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In that same year she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from Teachers College – Columbia University. During the 2008-2009 academic year she was the Louise Baron Hilton Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Journalists help audiences see the human side of school choice debates, and the work by Carr and Miner is no exception.

Lisa Delpit, bestselling author of Multiplication Is for White People and Other People’s Children, writes, “In her inimitable style, Barbara Miner has written an explosive educational biography of her hometown. The story of Milwaukee is really the multi-layered tale of how America has long avoided committing to the education of low-income students of color. A must read for anyone seeking the real back story of our educational policy-making.”

David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme, says of Carr’s book, “It’s work like this that makes journalism truly matter, that makes clear that reportage is not merely about fact and argument and theory, but about human lives in the balance. In Hope Against Hope, Sarah Carr has taken an open mind and a careful eye to the delicate, complicated issue of public education and the fading American commitment to equality of opportunity. She does so not by embracing ideological cant or political banter, but by following people through the schools of New Orleans, a city that is trying desperately to reconstitute and better itself after a near-death experience. Don’t embarrass yourself by speaking further on American education without first reading this.

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