Have You Heard: How Closing Schools Undermines Democracy

In  2013, a PhD student named Sally Nuamah attended a community meeting in the Chicago neighborhood where she’d grown up and where a public school was slated for closure. Residents talked about the issue in “life or death” terms, recalls Nuamah, who has been studying the long-term impact of the school closures. In this episode, Have You Heard talks to Nuamah about one such impact: a decline in voter participation and support for Democrats. Why would shuttering schools cause a drop in political engagement? And why would local residents fight so hard to keep open schools that, according to many metrics, were failing? Well, you’ll just have to listen and find out! To learn more about Nuamah’s work, visit her website.

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Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire is a freelance journalist and public education advocate. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baffler, Salon, Alternate, the Progressive, and Bloomberg EDU.

Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider is the author of Excellence For All: How a New Breed of Reformers Is Transforming America’s Public Schools.  He is an Assistant Professor at Holy Cross.