Benjamin Calhoun is a radio journalist and a producer for the public radio program "This American Life" and the podcast "Serial." Calhoun left "This American Life" from 2014 to 2017 to serve as Vice President of Content and Programming at NPR station WBEZ in Chicago. He has also taught at Loyola University Chicago, and prior to joining "This American Life," he was a reporter and deputy news director at WBEZ, where he covered politics and did documentary work. His work has also appeared on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Day to Day, Marketplace, and WNYC's The Takeaway and Radiolab. Calhoun received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College, where he was the station manager for the student-operated campus radio station WOBC-FM.
A doctor who breaks the law might go to jail like anybody else. But who decides if that doctor gets to keep their medical license? On today’s show, the not-often-talked-about realm of licensing boards, and the disturbing decisions they sometimes make. 
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 middle schools would 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 the late 1950s. The courts have mandated it. Chana asks: How did this happen? And is this a blueprint for real, systemic change?
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 years ago. The other is upstairs at BHS, the newly renamed SIS.
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 speaks to some who watched the school change over the years and questioned whether a local community school board was secretly plotting against 293.
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Creator Details

Birthdate
Jan 1st, 1979
Episode Count
50
Podcast Count
7
Total Airtime
1 day, 13 hours
PCID
Podchaser Creator ID logo 312486