Exploring the History of American Public Education - One Topic at a Time


  • Episode 10 – Accidental Activists

    Episode 10 – Accidental Activists


      In Season 2, we’re going to focus more on connecting the past to the present. In this episode, we take our first look at teachers as activists and look at 3 accidental activists, Oliver Brown, John… More

  • Episode 9 – Dress Codes

    Episode 9 – Dress Codes


    Few things in education are as messy as the issue of dress codes. In this episode, we look at Indian schools that forced indigenous children to cut their hair and wear certain clothes, the evolution… More

  • Episode 8 – School Reform

    Episode 8 – School Reform


    It’s likely that about ten minutes after the first class was taught in the first schoolhouse in America, someone had advice or ideas how how it could be made better, fixed, or reformed. This week,… More

  • Episode 7 -Grades AKA Shorthand for Learning

    Episode 7 -Grades AKA Shorthand for Learning


    Candidates for government jobs in 1540 China wait to hear their scores  (Source) “It is within the last decade that serious attention has been paid to such queries as: What should the mark really represent?… More

  • Episode 6 – Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)

    Episode 6 – Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)


    Light, short, and sweet. Just like summer vacation, today’s episode is focused on the question: Why does public education abandon children for two months in the summer, leaving them to their own devices? (Or as a young… More

  • Episode 5 – Anna Cooper and Carnegie Unit

    Episode 5 – Anna Cooper and Carnegie Unit


    This week we go through the last requirement of high school graduation in America: the credit unit. We connect the amazing Anna Julia Cooper, explore the just as important but less well know Committee of… More

  • Episode 4 – For Whom the Bell Tolls

    Episode 4 – For Whom the Bell Tolls


    During our first brainstorming session, the nature of high school – bells, schedules, class periods – came up and I put them on the “if we run out of topics” list. While doing some other… More

  • Episode 3 – The New York State Regents

    Episode 3 – The New York State Regents


    A momentary bright light in his high school experience, Paul didn’t hate the Regents exams. In today’s episode, we indulge all of Jennifer’s odd quirks related to semantics and get very, very New York-centric. Related… More

  • Episode 2 – Graduation

    Episode 2 – Graduation


        Ahh… the sweet, sweet freedom that is high school graduation. Or at least for Paul it was. In this episode we try to figure out when and how 17 became the year teenagers… More

  • Episode 1 – Compulsory Ed

    Episode 1 – Compulsory Ed


      In our first episode, we explore the history of compulsory education in America. We look at the first group of students who were compelled to learn particular things, the ideas and decrees that led to towns being… More