In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Derek Black author of “School House Burning”. They talk about the concept that public education has been an integral part of American democracy through the earliest days of the founding of the country. As much as racism has attacked these ideals, the idea of a public education for all is so ingrained in America that is has even survived racism. Public education is under attack from both sides of the aisle these days from Betsy Devos and Chris Christie to Cory Booker and Obama’s appointees. The push for charter schools is a new form of racist attack but Derek shows us how much we can learn from studying the history, so we can move forward with an even deeper commitment to protect our education system. Education is the true path to citizenship and without it, we have nothing resembling a democracy.

Transcript Auto Generated

Derek Black 0:00
So we had three things Common Core, teacher evaluation systems, and charter schools being pushed out on public schools during the Obama administration.

Heather Warburton 0:15
This is Wine Women and Revolution with your host, Heather Warburton. Hi and welcome to Wine Women and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on Create Your Future Productions. Create Your Future Productions is the only place you can find new episodes of Wine, Women and Revolution. And you can find us online at follow us on all the social medias and get us wherever you get your podcasts from. Today I am going to be talking about education, which you know, is a topic I’ve covered a few times here. But I’ve got with me today the author of “School House Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy”. Derrick Black, welcome to the show.

Derek Black 1:01
Yeah, thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure.

Heather Warburton 1:03
So I guess you know, the most important thing to talk about is when we’re recording this, Betsy DeVos is kind of going to be on her way out soon. By the time people listen to this. She may be in our last few weeks of torturing American education. So that’s kind of exciting.

Derek Black 1:20
Yeah, it is. I had a post I put up the other day and said after watching the, you know, the the results come in. People were enormously excited for the end of the Trump presidency and the end of him as President, but running a close second, I think was the end of Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education. I mean, if you were, if you were looking at things, they were immediately articles going up, and I actually got one of the biggest responses I’ve had and Twitter, in the last few weeks at least, and it was just mentioning that Betsy was on her way out. And certainly folks are looking forward to that.

Heather Warburton 1:56
Absolutely. But we can’t just pretend that all the attacks, the recent attacks on public education just started under the Trump presidency. It’s been a while now that the public education has been under attack. And whart you sort of laid out in your book is that you talk about the current political climate a little bit and dove in to the history, which that’s kind of what we’re going to do here today is a little bit of talk about how it kind of where we are and how we got to right now. And you said, you know, under Obama when he appointed Duncan, that was a pretty bad sign for how they were going to be dealing with public education. Right.

Derek Black 2:35
Yeah, I mean, already, Duncan had been superintendent in Chicago public schools, and had been part of a pretty massive expansion of charter schools there. And there was also clearly a divide at that moment, a lot of folks were talking about Linda Darling Hammond as being the Secretary of Education. Her name is coming up again, although she just said she wasn’t interested recently. But her name was in the mix. And the far or I should say the right sort of came out vehemently against her saying, look, you know, she’s too committed to the status quo. We need somebody to shake it up. And so when Obama appoints Dunkin, he appoints him in the idea of being the he’s someone who could speak to both sides, both the traditional public education side and the privatization side. But what I lay out in the book is that he ends up really giving quite a lot to the privatization side and not really doing any while not doing much to firm up the public education schools themselves.

Heather Warburton 3:30
And he did a lot of it through executive actions. Can you talk about some of the executive actions that he took while he was in office?

Derek Black 3:39
Yeah, I mean, I got involved with that actually ended up being an expert witness in a case against Arnie Duncan. Seems like a lifetime ago. But yeah, so during the No Child Left Behind era, there was this requirement that all schools get students up to proficient levels by 2014. And by about 2012 2011, it became clear that was not going to happen. In fact, we knew it wasn’t going to happen for quite a while, the numbers were showing it, showing us as much, but at that point, something like, I think it was 70 or 80% of schools were set to be labeled as failing or needs of improvement under No Child Left Behind. So there was going to be all these sanctions and targets coming at our public schools. And what Duncan does is use that moment in time to say, look, I will relieve you of the sanctions of No Child Left Behind, if you will accept a new set of conditions. And amongst those conditions, one was adopted the common core curriculum. It didn’t say the words common core curriculum, but it talked about a nationalized set of standards. So it was adopting the common core curriculum, also adopting a set of teacher evaluation systems, which was also underway in some states, which would basically, as he said, hire fire and retain teachers based upon how their students were doing on standardized test scores. And so that was an enormous deal as well. The other thing that he had done, although it wasn’t part of those conditions it was part of Race to the Top, which was new money that was given to schools to try to deal with the prior recession. And he said, Look, if any school maintains or any state maintains arbitrary caps on charter schools, they will jeopardize their eligibility for federal funds. So we had three things, Common Core teacher evaluation systems and charter schools being pushed at our public schools during during the Obama administration.

Heather Warburton 5:34
And I think you talked a little bit about the in Florida, they started putting in vouchers, although vouchers were technically illegal under the Florida constitution. So they ended up just calling it a scholarship program to send kids to private and charter schools. Right.

Derek Black 5:51
Yeah, that part, you know, we can’t put that on, on Duncan. And to be clear, you know, I do think that Duncan was, was well intentioned, I don’t, I don’t think he was out to harm our public schools. I just think we didn’t, we didn’t get the mix correct under him. But there are a lot of folks who were dead set on actually privatizing and harming our public schools. And that’s through vouchers. And in the aftermath of the recession, you saw a lot of states starting to say, look, we can’t afford public education. So maybe we can pay for something cheaper on the side, or maybe we can remove our higher cost kids into the private system. And Florida was, and has been the leader on this. So as you know, at one point, or initially, during the Jeb Bush administration, those vouchers that moved money from the public schools to private schools were deemed unconstitutional. But then they cook up this scheme whereby they’re going to give out all these tax credits, or they call them tax credits, to people who will pay for the tuition at those private schools. And that system just exploded during the aftermath of the recession effect at this point, now, Florida is spending roughly a billion dollars a year on private tuition in the form of, you know, tax credits and other sort of workarounds.

Heather Warburton 7:11
Right. And you also mentioned in the book, you may not know this, but I’m from New Jersey, so former Governor Chris Christie was definitely one of the people who was leading the charge to try to vilify public education teachers, and that was something kind of new that we’d never seen before of actually casting teachers as the villains in the story.

Derek Black 7:32
Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s really a sad state of affairs, which, you know, our public school teachers have always been paid, relatively modest wages, but the idea was job stability, you know, respect from the community and a good retirement, and people would sort of make that trade off, and also a passion for teaching itself. But during the recession, all of a sudden, we had governors like Chris Christie and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, saying that it’s our public school teachers are the problems themselves, right. They get paid too much, they don’t do anything, you know, education would be a lot better if we could just get rid of the bad teachers. You know, Chris Christie said, you know, he would like to give a lot of those union folks a punch in the mouth, and they’re the most destructive force in American politics. So there is a lot of targeting of teachers and teacher unions as being the reason why our schools are not performing. So it’s like our long serving, suffering public servants are all the sudden are the problem instead of the folks who were actually being mistreated,

Heather Warburton 8:34
I’m proud to say that, if you saw that classic picture of Chris Christie, like wagging his finger in a teacher’s face. That teachers, a friend of mine, and she’s been on the show a few times, so I’m always supporting of Melissa and all of her work with public education. But also in New Jersey here, we also had Cory Booker horribly pushing for charter schools in New Jersey. So it’s kind of across the aisle, they reach across the aisle to really try to attack public education now.

Derek Black 9:04
As to Cory, I wouldn’t, I’m not gonna say, characterize him on education policy. And I definitely disagree with him on a lot. But I think what you have is, you know, a certain portion of the Democratic Party got captured by by the possibility of charters as opposed to the reality of charters. And even I and you know, a decade and a half ago, didn’t know their reality and was willing to at least listen their possibility or think of this, you know, this isn’t really even a big deal at all. But the reality of them has become far more problematic than the idea of them. And the other thing we have is, is the tail wagging the dog, right sort of rich philanthropist who have been successful in the private sector, you know, the, the Gates and the Walmarts of the world. And they think that if our public schools would just operate like the private sector, that everything would be better and they spent, you know, millions if not billions of their own dollars to push that agenda. So if I’m the mayor of Newark, and Mark Zuckerberg comes to me and says, Hey, Mayor, you know, would you like $600 million for your public schools or $600 million for your, for your students? And in Newark? I’m probably gonna feel like the answer is yes, before I hear the rest of that sentence, you know, I mean, Newark schools were severely underfunded. And so I think we have rich philanthropists playing in a sandbox that they really knew little of, and moving, you know, democratic mayors, Democratic governors, etc, in a direction that that, in the long term has been harmful for public education.

Heather Warburton 10:34
But despite our current climate of lots of attacks, kind of coming from all sides on public education, the US government has been really interested in educating its citizenship. And that kind of goes back to the very beginning the founding fathers. So I mean, I’m not one to canonize the founding fathers at all, you know, I think they were pretty bad people. But they really were deeply committed to educating the public. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Derek Black 11:01
Yeah, I mean, what this book, I think, does it in the biggest sense is to try to re articulate the American narrative about public education. You know, so many folks are committed this idea that these local schools are ours, they operate based upon what we want to do with them, and the feds need to stay out of it, and maybe even the state needs to stay out of it. And what this book does is is says that that may be the fiefdom that you’re operating under. But that’s not the idea of America that if we go back to the idea of America, it is that all citizens need to be educated. And our government at the very highest levels has to make that happen, that we cannot have, you know, sort of some communities providing education and some not or some providing good education and others not, that we need at the highest levels of leadership to guarantee expansion and quality across the nation. So we go back to the founding, and I say, look, you know, the idea of America in 1776, is a radical idea. At that moment in time The world is ruled by kings and queens, the notion that you would hand this over to regular folks. And to be clear, like you said, we shouldn’t be shouldn’t canonize them, incorrectly, by regular folks, they meant regular white men, not not anyone else. And sometimes they didn’t even mean regular white man, they meant regular white men who owned property. But that was still a much larger chunk of the world than just kings and queens, right that farmers could vote, right? That’s a radical idea. And so the founding fathers say that if we’re going to turn this thing over to regular folks, they’ve got to be educated, they have got to be able to find the common good, they have got to be able to resist tyranny on their own terms, and to separate the hucksters from the good faith politicians. And so in the Northwest Ordinance, before we even have the United States Constitution, the Continental Congress carves up the rest of the nation, and sets the rules for how the territories will become states. And what they do is to say that every single town in the remainder of the United States shall be divided up into squares and the center square, and each of those towns shall be reserved for public schools, and the outer lying lots in those towns shall be reserved to generate resources for those public schools. And again, that was the manifestation of this idea that if this radical experiment of democracy is going to work, we have to have a system for educating that democracy.

Heather Warburton 13:22
Right. In the book, you kind of said, they didn’t have money to give yet there, you know, the country was just being formed, they couldn’t give money. So they gave what they had at the time, and that was land. And that was showing their commitment, even though it’s a little different than what we do nowadays. That was laying out they were putting their land where their mouth was, and you know, they didn’t have money.

Derek Black 13:42
Yeah, that’s right. I mean, America was also poor in those in those early years to go along with that, and land itself was not that valuable, because there was always more of it westward. So why is it that one piece of land is going to generate, you know, enormous resources unless it’s actually got something valuable, you know, underneath it, so land itself is doesn’t generate the money that they thought it would, and land sales didn’t either. And, you know, the Civil War brings this to the forefront, which is we, number one need not just an idea of public education, but we need actual guarantees of it. So following the Civil War, Congress forces the southern states as a condition of readmission to adopt constitutional clauses guaranteeing education. So in all of the state constitutions, there’s a clause that mandates the provision of often called a uniform system of schools open to all right, and so that’s a that’s a radical new thing. Not that we’re just going to say, hey, education is a good idea and make a lot in the middle of town for but rather now we have states guaranteeing as a constitutional matter access to this public education. And by the same token, they also adopted poll taxes. poll taxes today are thought of as a dirty word, a way to disenfranchise African American and poor people. But during Reconstruction, it was literally African American who came up With the idea of poll tax, so they said, there’s one thing that we know everyone wants to do, in the aftermath of the Civil War, and that is to seize the reins of democracy and vote. And we know that land isn’t worth much, but maybe people will pay, you know, $1 to vote. And so that’s what the Freemen came up with here in South Carolina, they were the majority of the Constitutional Convention said, we are going to impose a poll tax, and every single dollar of it will go to support public education. But they did have an exception there, they said, but if you can’t afford to pay for it, we’ll let you vote anyway. So they weren’t trying to exclude folks from the ballot box. They’re just trying to raise funds for our public schools. And that moment in time, that period really changes the entire course of history as it comes to public education, because now it’s becoming a constitutional right, as opposed to just this voluntary thing that that some states but

Heather Warburton 15:50
I did want to talk a little bit more about that reconstruction period. But before we moved on to there, you had one quote in the book, that I particularly like that it was from Jefferson, which it was a kind of dealing with consent, which is, I know, not a good topic to talk about, usually with Jefferson. But in this, he said that the government basically derived its powers from the consent of the governed, and you have to be educated about what’s going on, and able to even be in a position to give that consent to your government. But I thought that was an interesting quote from him.

Derek Black 16:21
Yeah, and it really, really is a mind bender, in many respects for for folks who haven’t thought about it. So you know, Jefferson is someone who’s skeptical of government. And if you if you’ve seen Hamilton, or listened to Hamilton, you know that Jefferson was concerned with all these Federalists and the Hamilton’s of the world sort of seizing power. Jefferson is skeptical of that, right, this sort of exercise of government power. And his argument is that the only way that governments exercise of power is valid over an individual, as if that individual consents to that power. But he says, if you don’t understand government, if you don’t understand its issues, if you don’t understand what it’s doing in the world, then your consent is ineffective, so to speak. And so the way that government becomes legitimate is for citizens to have enough knowledge to freely and validly consent to the exercise of, of governmental power. So yes, for him, public education is a linchpin of the democracy that we have today.

Heather Warburton 17:24
And now I did want to move on to that reconstruction period, because that’s when, you know, public education really expanded. And that was mainly driven by the hands of the freed slaves, they were more committed to public education than anyone and started putting these things in place, kind of, you know, leading the way there.

Derek Black 17:43
Yeah, I mean, one of the most eye opening parts of doing this book, and I think, really, the emotional heart of this book, is learning about the experiences of African Americans during slavery, what they did to actually learn to read and write in secret knowing that it was a crime and knowing that they could be killed or punished for it. And so it was an incredibly valuable thing to them, because it was the thing that could secure their freedom, too. And, and so they wanted it right, that was the thing that they could use to share information and organize. And one of the things that was was startling to missionaries, as they went south, right at the end of the Civil at the end of civil war, was that actually, a lot of slaves already knew how to read and write, they’d been teaching each other in secret. And so there was a base to build upon there. And then when they begin to flee to freedom, they want that education to be far more formal. So before the Civil War is even over, schools begin to pop up, freedmen schools here in Virginia, and South Carolina and elsewhere, and the Union troops are are struck and amazed by how much the freedmen wanted to learn and how much of their time they were devoting towards it and, and how they were willing to give what little funds they had, you know, as people who were just enslaved and giving away money and raising money to support this, this public education system. So that provides, you know, the backbone for these constitutional measures. And if I might just take liberty for just a moment for those who, who who may have seen David Chappelle on on Saturday Night Live the other day when he talks about his grandfather, great grandfather, a former slave in South Carolina, that when when he became free. Dave Chappelle said that he devoted his life to three things, education, the freedom of black folks, and religion, or Jesus Christ as he said it and I think it’s just really important for people to understand how education was part of freedom and how completely unified African American community was into creating this system of publication. Knowing that it was the gateway to freedom, and they didn’t just free themselves, they help free a lot of poor white folks that weren’t getting education, either. And that’s an important thing to think about in the modern era as we have all these divisions about who’s getting what or who it’s for, and racial and other sort of divisions that ultimately the public education system is the gateway to freedom for all and we owe an incredible debt in the south, at least an incredible debt of gratitude to the freedmen for that.

Heather Warburton 20:29
And you talked a little bit about how that became when states were rejoining the union. They had to sort of solidify into their state constitutions, something about public education. And didn’t you actually say furthering that out when New Mexico was first trying to get statehood? They were rejected because they didn’t have an education provision, right.

Derek Black 20:53
Yeah, that’s right. So in the middle of the Civil War, there are 10 states that are still not readmitted. You know, Tennessee, had come back into the union, before the Civil War was even over right at the end of the Civil War, they were never really in full rebellion for the Civil War, because as a border state, it was just taken back over very quickly. But the remaining Confederacy, Congress says, to re enter the union, you have to extend the ballot to African Americans. And you have to adopt the 14th amendment. And you have to rewrite your state constitutions. And, and all this debate about what it meant to rewrite state constitutions. They said, Look, it has to be a republican form of government, which takes us back to those Jeffersonian ideas, those Adams ideas and Washington ideas, which was a republican form of government is one in which the people are educated and consent to power and can participate in government. So Congress is very clear that we want education clauses in there. And in fact, the last three Confederate States to be readmitted Mississippi, Virginia and Texas, the statute under which Congress re admits them in 1870, explicitly writes into the statute, that is a condition of readmission. They shall never deprive any citizen of the rights they had just vested in their state constitution. There’s actually litigation going on right now as we speak, in Mississippi over that condition of readmission. So that’s the Confederate States. And as you as you point out, like, I say that that idea of education is being conditioned for being a state carries on even after the Civil War. So New Mexico, when it is trying to become a state files, its papers filed its constitution, and that constitution, it’s got a few problems in them. And a big one is public education is not in it. So Congress says, nope, not admitting you, New Mexico needs to rewrite your constitution. Again, they rewrite it make some change, including putting public education in there. And then, you know, New Mexico becomes a state just like everyone else, and it has public education in its constitution.

Heather Warburton 22:51
Yeah, so it was clearly something that was really important to the federal government, continually throughout the whole formation of the country. So not surprising, you know, that, that would sort of keep this blossoming and blossoming during that reconstruction time. But unfortunately, after reconstruction, we did lead into the Jim Crow era, and attacks while everybody was still deeply committed to educating white kids, then they decided, well, maybe we don’t need to extend that to Black people anymore. And that’s when sort of the attacks on public education for certain segments of the population. And you laid out a few of them in your book, you want to talk a little bit about what happened in that time period?

Derek Black 23:35
Yeah, it’s, it’s a curious, it’s a curious time period, because what you have is this expanding commitment to the right to education, but this resurgence of racism at the same time, and those two things interconnect. And the question is, can we can we separate them out in our minds any. So you know, and Mississippi when they come together for the Constitutional Convention of 1898, they say we’ve come together for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to disenfranchise the Negro. And that meant taking away the right to vote as best they could, and restricting access to public education. So most people know, the voting story very well. And most people know that. That’s where we start segregating schools again. But there’s this curious debate that happens at the same time, which is, you know, I mentioned that a lot of white folks were getting education they never had before. Well, that public education system was really a product of black aspirations and a black idea. And so there are some in Mississippi and the Constitution convention that said, let’s just take public education out of the Constitution altogether, let’s get rid of this black idea. Let’s get rid of spending money on black kids, etc, etc. And there are others that go that that’s a bridge too far, that ultimately public education had become an integral part of government. And there were a lot of white folks that wanted it. So what happens are the silver lining I tell is that public education actually survives racism. Racism tried to kill public education, but racism was not enough to kill public education. And because they didn’t kill it, that constitutional right lives on even today for Well, I mentioned litigation just a moment ago in regard to it. And the same thing in other states. So is this sort of tension between this commitment to the idea of America where everyone gets public education, juxtaposed against sort of the rise of racism created a struggle during that period of time.

Heather Warburton 25:34
But speaking of litigation, eventually, the NAACP starts launching a series of litigations, which ultimately leads us to Brown versus Board of Education, which you talked quite a bit about that series of lawsuits in the book, do you think we can real briefly kind of touch on you know, some? Or summarize all of them sort of together?

Derek Black 25:57
Yeah, I mean, the short story there is that most people think of Brown versus Board of Education is purely about segregation in schools. But when you look at the briefing, and the arguments that bring the United States Supreme Court to the point at which it is willing to strike down schools segregation, it’s one of these democracy arguments that for two decades, NAACP had been building this theory of education as a gateway to citizenship and how can you really be a citizen in the United States, if that gateway is blocked, or there’s two different gateways to citizenship. And so that idea, you find it in Brown versus Board of Education itself, it says that public education is the very foundation of good citizenship and no child could be reasonably expected to succeed in life, if they were denied it, and so that it wasn’t sort of segregation, per se, is bad, but rather, education is a foundation of democracy. That’s a key moving piece of the puzzle and making Brown a reality. And so that idea, right, this stretches all the way back to the founders, you see it again, coming to life and Brown versus Board of Education.

Heather Warburton 27:04
And the Supreme Court actually was a real ally to education for a good chunk of time, I guess, up until sort of the Nixon era, right was when the Supreme Court sort of took a turn to be not so friendly to education.

Derek Black 27:18
Yeah, it’s like too much democracy or, or sort of status quo couldn’t, couldn’t tolerate too much democracy. And so Nixon campaigns on and is clear that he wants to reverse and limit school desegregation. And so he makes appointments to the United States Supreme Court for the explicit purpose. And folks who have explicit backgrounds and being hostile towards Brown and some of the cases that came after it. And so as soon as Nixon begins to make makes two appointments to the Supreme Court, we see the promise of Brown began to unravel, and all these sort of new rationales for limiting integration, and also for limiting the concept of equal school funding, they all begin to, to make their way into the Supreme Court jurisprudence at that point.

Heather Warburton 28:05
And you also talk about one of my kind of favorite mustache twirling villains would be Justice Powell, you know, anyone that’s listened to this show, you’ve certainly heard me talk quite a bit about the Powell memo, and his attacks on organizing groups and how businesses need to get together and act as if they themselves were an organizing group. And so he’s definitely one of the mustache twirling villains in history. And he was one of those people who also was part of the new the supreme court that does not support education, which shouldn’t be surprising. If he wanted to corporatize everything wanting to corporatize education was kind of par for his course.

Derek Black 28:46
Yeah, I mean, Powell is a an enigma on many levels. Because I mean, kudos to you for looking at it so closely. You know, he, there is, he puts a good face on some things. He’s ambiguous as to others. And you try to get a sense of where he’s, he’s coming from, I can tell you, the African American community thought he was coming from a bad place, particularly given the fact that he had been on the Richmond, Virginia school boards and had been part of the foot dragging following Brown. He had been on the State Board of Education when they had authorized vouchers for for white families who wanted to close down public schools rather than integrate. So he’s part of that whole story. But I guess he’s also a politician that he’s cagey. And he sort of keeps this low profile, so you don’t really see his name or his votes or his arguments in those debates. You just know, he’s part of the story. And so he can arguably hide behind this notion of Well, I was just representing my clients. I don’t know that makes it you know, whether that makes any better or not, you can leave it to the listeners. But, you know, he writes a brief you know, and and Swan versus Mecklenburg, which is About bussing children for integration where he’s completely opposed to it, or his clients are completely opposed to it. And, you know, the the Legislative Caucus African American caucus, you know, they they start releasing all this information saying how in the worldcould we put this guy on, on the Supreme Court, when his agenda would look like would be a reversal of Brown. But nonetheless, he gets there. And when he gets there, he sugarcoats a lot of these things, you know, there’s a case out of Denver, Keys versus school district number one, that ends effectively ends school desegregation in the north, for the most part. And he, you know, it’s a very complicated case. But basically, he is expressing enormous sympathies towards integration at the same time that he’s trying to limit it. And it’s kind of hard to see where, where he’s coming from. But the net result is power on the Supreme Court ends up being very bad business for the right to education and school desegregation.

Heather Warburton 31:01
And so, you know, kind of running up on time now. But one question I often ask people is, are you optimistic? And before you added on the COVID, ending to the book, you do express optimism about public education, you think that it is part of this country, and despite our current system of attacks, that public education will prevail? Right?

Derek Black 31:26
Well, you’re you’re a wonderful reader. First of all, you’re right. I mean, if you take if you take that COVID piece, which I actually put in, after the book was done. When the book was done, COVID hadn’t happened. And then it’s about to go to press, and I sort of add that in there. I am very optimistic, right? I say, you know, look, you can’t look at 10s of 1000s of people in the streets revolting against this, this assault on public education, and be anything but inspired by these folks. Right? You have to believe that this or the power of their voices in their feet, it’s going to make a difference. COVID resets a lot of that. And, you know, I have new worries, I’m less optimistic than I was before. But I do remain that. I do stay true to that fundamental notion that, you know, the idea of this nation is interlocked with public education. And it’s also an experience that 90% of the people in this country have gone through. And it’s a very personal experience, and most people value those public schools. And so I don’t think it’s something that that folks are going to throw away, easily. Part of the book is actually to help people understand how much is at stake, because it’s easy to lose something when you don’t know someone is trying to pick your pocket. So what I’m really trying to convey in this book is there as a group of folks are trying to pick the pocket of public education. They’re trying to turn the public against public education, and we need to open our eyes, listen clearly and push back. And if our eyes are open, I do believe public education will survive and can be stronger than it was before the pandemic and before the last recession. But if we don’t have our attention turned to it. The pickpockets are still there waiting, waiting to steal our lunch money.

Heather Warburton 33:11
So if people want to get a copy of your book, because we’ve only kind of barely skimmed the surface. There’s a lot of information in this book, it’s I learned a lot reading this book. And I always appreciate that when I can learn something from an author. How can people get a copy of it? And how can they get in touch? Can they follow you on social media?

Derek Black 33:30
Yeah, so the book is, is available anywhere that your favorite books are sold. So I don’t want to endorse one or the other. But in the publisher is Public Affairs, you can go there. And then all the regular places that you’d find books, it’s for sale, they’re also in a lot of public library. So even if you buy a copy for yourself, you know, put a request and the public library for folks who may not be able to afford one themselves. As for following me, I’m on Twitter daily @DerekWBlack always talking about you know how these issues are playing out with with current policy, and trying to keep tabs and hold folks accountable on this. So look forward to interacting with folks and readers there as well.

Heather Warburton 34:12
All right, it’s been such a pleasure talking to you today. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you for being here.

Derek Black 34:19
Well, I really appreciate it. It’s been fun to talk to you,

Heather Warburton 34:21
To my listeners, thank you so much for joining us here today. We appreciate you more than you could possibly know. We strive to be a voice for stories are maybe not hearing everywhere for you know standing up for people. And standing up for people’s education is one of those commitments that we take really seriously. If you have chance, we are now on Patreon and you can donate. you can go on to our donations page, donate through PayPal and Patreon. This is brand new, really excited about that. And thank you so much for listening as always the future is to create go out there and create it

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