People For the American Way

The Progressive Happy Hour: Reforming Our Public Schools

News and Analysis
The Progressive Happy Hour: Reforming Our Public Schools

Education reform has long been a hot topic on both sides of the aisle. And while many progressives discuss the inequities that plague public schools, understanding how to enact real change can be daunting.

In the November 28 episode of “The Progressive Happy Hour,” cohost Drew Courtney and guest host Diallo Brooks sit down with Bertis Downs, education activist and PFAW board member, about the challenges American public schools face and what a progressive solution to educational inequity might look like.

Bertis shared, “What got me into this process was trying to find a way to get people to focus on the way their policies affect real people and … the real teaching and learning that goes on in the classroom … If I could do one thing, it would be to get politicians to be required to spend an afternoon at a school to get an idea what goes on behind those ‘failing public school house doors.’”

Bertis also noted that community schools that integrate high quality curriculum with community partnerships address education gaps and expand students’ learning opportunities. He also encouraged progressives to become engaged in supporting the students in their communities by attending local school board meetings, becoming student mentors or volunteering at a local public school.

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