Nice White Parents

Nice White Parents

If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.

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July 17, 2020 2 min

If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: White parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.

For more information about this show, visit nytimes.com/nicewhiteparents

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It’s 2015 and one Brooklyn middle school is about to receive a huge influx of new students.

In this episode, Chana Joffe-Walt, a reporter, follows what happens when the School of International Studies’ 6th grade class swells from 30 mostly Latino, Black and Middle Eastern students, to 103 — an influx almost entirely driven by white families.

Everyone wants “what’s best for the school” but it becomes clear that they don’t share the sa...

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July 30, 2020 51 min

Chana Joffe-Walt searches the New York City Board of Education archives for more information about the School for International Studies, which was originally called I.S. 293.

In the process, she finds a folder of letters written in 1963 by mostly white families in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. They are asking for the board to change the proposed construction of the school to a site where it would be more likely to be racially integrated.

It...

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Chana Joffe-Walt explores how white parents can shape a school — even when they aren’t there.

She traces the history of I.S. 293, now the Boerum Hill School for International Studies, from the 1980s through the modern education reforms of the 2000s. In the process, Chana talks to alumni who loved their school and never questioned why it was on the edge of a white neighborhood. To them, it was just where everyone went. But she also s...

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Public schools are inequitable because the school systems are maniacally loyal to white families. We can’t have equitable public education unless schools limit the disproportionate power of white parents. But is that even possible? Chana finds two schools that are trying to do just that, and both are actually inside the 293 building. One is downstairs in the basement, where a charter school called Success Academy opened about 7 yea...

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August 20, 2020 52 min

This episode contains strong language.

Chana has traced the history of the school from its founding and come to the present. But now: One unexpected last chapter. Last year, the school district for BHS mandated a change in the zoning process to ensure all of middle schools will be racially integrated. No longer can white families hoard resources in a few select schools. Black and Latino parents have been demanding this change since ...

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