34 episodes

Take Back Our Schools puts you on the front lines of the culture wars as Andrew Gutmann and Beth Feeley explore the increasing politicalization of our schools and universities and just what to do about it.

Take Back Our Schools The Ricochet Audio Network

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 46 Ratings

Take Back Our Schools puts you on the front lines of the culture wars as Andrew Gutmann and Beth Feeley explore the increasing politicalization of our schools and universities and just what to do about it.

    Stopping the Illiterate Revolution

    Stopping the Illiterate Revolution

    On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew speak with the Nathan Hoffman, one of the leaders of the school choice movement. Nathan talks about how the issue of school choice fared in the recent midterm elections. We discuss the parent movement’s role in the march for school choice and some of the various criticisms of school choice from both woke and non-woke camps. Nathan talks about what a hypothetical Republican presidential administration could do to in 2024 to further school choice and education freedom. Nathan also shares his views on the importance of Gifted and Talented education as well as the reasons that public school have been failing teaching literacy.
    Nathan Hoffman serves as the Director of State Policy and Legislative Strategy for the American Federation for Children. An accomplished and recognized leader in the school choice movement, Nathan has served in various roles at state-based and national organizations, including Empower Illinois and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, where he has successfully pursued legislation to empower families and strengthen the overall quality of the education system. Nathan has appeared before state legislatures as well as been a featured speaker to groups across the country seeking to address today’s K-12 challenges. Nathan is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism and a past board member of the Springfield Public Schools Foundation
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    • 53 min
    Pioneers of the Parents Movement

    Pioneers of the Parents Movement

    In this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Andrew and Beth speak with parent activist, Betsy Hart. Betsy was, along with our own Beth Feeley, a co-founder of the group Parents of New Trier (now New Trier Neighbors). Betsy and Beth share their stories about being pioneers of the parents rights movement. Betsy talks about what prompted the group's founding more than five years ago, and shares her views on how the parents movement has evolved. We also discuss the recent expose in Mother Jones magazine about the group entitled, "The Right-Wing Attack on Public Education Began in One Elite Illinois High School."
    Betsy Hart is a free-lance development writer for a variety of non-profits. Previously, she was a syndicated columnist, and served on President Reagan’s White House staff in the Office of Communications. Betsy also serves with Beth on the board of New Trier Neighbors, a local citizen group that keeps an eye on local issues - including schools - in the north suburbs of Chicago. 
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    • 48 min
    Why Are Our Children Hollowed Out?

    Why Are Our Children Hollowed Out?

    On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Andrew and Beth speak with award-winning teacher and author, Jeremy Adams.
    Jeremy shares his views on why students have rejected the wisdom, culture, and institutions of Western Civilization and have given up on the American Dream. He talks about the breakdown of families and the loss of family-time that his own students are experiencing. We also discuss the damage that cell phones and social media are doing to children and how they have led to isolation and the most antisocial generation in history.
    Jeremy S. Adams is the 2014 California Teacher of the Year and the author of the Amazon best-selling book Hollowed Out: A Warning About America's Next Generation. He is a weekly columnist for The Daily Wire and his writings have appeared in Newsweek, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Quillette, and many other outlets.
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    • 53 min
    A Reinvention of Catholic Schools

    A Reinvention of Catholic Schools

    On this episode Beth and Andrew speak with education innovator Stephanie Saroki de García about her formative experiences as a Teach for America member and teaching in one of the most dangerous schools in Oakland, CA. She discusses the network of Catholic charter schools she helped found that combines optional faith-based education along with an academically rigorous curriculum. Stephanie also discusses the challenges today of hiring teachers that are not social justice activists and the difficulties of starting charter schools, especially in blue states. Stephanie also passionately shares her views on the benefits of faith as a component of a child’s education. 
     Stephanie Saroki de García is co-founder and managing director of Seton Education Partners, which she helped launch in 2009 to expand opportunities for parents in underserved communities to choose an academically excellent, character rich, and—for those who seek it—vibrantly Catholic education for their children. For over five years, Stephanie directed the Philanthropy Roundtable’s K-12 education programs, where she spearheaded a series of conferences, strategy sessions, and publications on breakthroughs in education philanthropy. She co-wrote Saving America’s Urban Catholic Schools: A Guide for Donors and also served on the strategic planning committee for the Archdiocese of New York’s school system, chairing the committee on school leadership. Stephanie was a Teach for America corps member in Oakland, California, where she taught high school English. She attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a dean’s fellow and while completing her master’s degree in public policy at the Kennedy School, Stephanie worked at the Office of Management and Budget. Stephanie is also a proud mom to two children.
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    • 54 min
    Work, Study, Success – The Cristo Rey Model

    Work, Study, Success – The Cristo Rey Model

    On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Andrew and Beth speak with educator Tony Ortiz about his school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which has an innovative work study program which allows low income students in Chicago to get a high quality college preparatory education by working one day per week. Tony discusses the origins of the program, how it has developed and changed over the years and how it inspired a national network of work study schools. Tony talks about the impressive graduation rates of Cristo Rey and the benefits to both students and employers of the work study model. 
     
    Tony Ortiz is the first lay President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School which was founded in 1996 and pioneered the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP) model for inner city education that has since inspired a national network of 38 schools serving traditionally under resourced communities across the country. Tony joined Cristo Rey in 2000, first as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and then as Associate Principal, before becoming President in June 2012. Tony is a graduate of Leadership Greater Chicago, serves on the Membership Committee for the Economic Club of Chicago, and sits on several boards including the Archdiocese of Chicago School Board, Dominican University, Loyola University Health System, Chicago Jesuit Academy, and The Resurrection Project and previously served as a young alum Trustee for the University of Notre Dame.
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    • 47 min
    Equity, Excellence and Choice

    Equity, Excellence and Choice

    On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew speak with education policy analyst, author and former teacher Robert Pondiscio. Robert talks about what led him to make a midcareer switch to teaching and opines on the proper role of schools America. We discuss whether equity and excellence in schools can be reconciled or should be considered opposing ideals. Robert shares his views on why some charter school networks have embraced social justice and why others have not, and talks about why the charter school movement lost its bipartisan support. He also discusses why Americans who value education must focus both on school choice and on reforming public schools. Finally, Robert and Andrew reminiscence about their former experiences as fellow Brearley Dads. 
     
    Robert Pondiscio is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focuses on K–12 education, curriculum, teaching, school choice, and charter schooling. He was also a policy analyst and education reform expert at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank. He previously worked for the Core Knowledge Foundation and as an adviser and civics teacher at Democracy Prep Public Schools. Mr. Pondiscio became interested in education policy issues when he started teaching fifth grade at a struggling South Bronx public school in 2002. Before that, Robert worked in journalism for 20 years, including in senior positions at Time and BusinessWeek. He is the author of many books, including the acclaimed “How the Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence, and the Battle over School Choice” (Avery, 2019), about Success Academy Charter Schools.
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

yjsong12 ,

You can replace smartphones

Thanks for this episode. Screenstrong.org is an excellent resource for how to replace toxic online consumption with real-life activities and relationships. I wish parents take a stronger stand against smartphones. I've seen many parents who feel that they can't take them away or even give a proper limit. These are parents who have given and pay for the phones. So the question is, why not?? If parents take up to lead rather than let their kids lead, they could save kids from a lot of heartache. Same for the teachers. It's absolutely insane that so many schools are allowing phones in school.

PeteVelcro ,

Important podcasts

We are on the precipice of a catastrophic failure to make the world a more prosperous one and the worst possible consequences for our country are in place to ensure the future is not a repeat of what we have seen since the beginning of woke politics and our economy as well. This has been the worst nightmare of indoctrination in our history and we need to be prepared for the next crisis of this kind. Important things are not being addressed in podcasts but rather in our own communities as well.

MRGibbs2 ,

Really good

Enlightening, brave, relevant, honest, profoundly important.

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