How people-powered organizations changed that and built political power

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Earlier this month, longtime labor and immigrant rights leader, Kathy Andrade, died at the age 88. The New York Times ran an obituary on her incredible life last week, quoting a family member who said “She was like the Godfather…There would be a line of people outside her office, just waiting to get help.”

Andrade spent much of her career as the education director for New York City’s Local 23–25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). In this role, she was one of the first in the country to defend undocumented workers, believing their rights needed to be…


What history teaches us about the politics of education

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Recently, several historians have drawn parallels between the current furor over teaching about the many dimensions of racism in the US and the textbook wars of the 1970s. Rick Perlstein did so on Twitter:

And, in Slate, Gillian Frank and Adam Laats surveyed a century of movements against teaching about slavery and racism in the US, many rich in vitriol, but poor on substance. They recount the details of the violent protests in Kanawha County, WV over the district’s decision to include readings from leading civil rights leaders. In 1974, protesters believed those books were dirty and harmful to…


Four new books arriving just in time summer

For me, the beach is for dusty old novels, but the summer is for reading important new books. Finding time during the semester is just too hard to take on too much new reading.

No grading means more time to read and learn, and this summer is no different.

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To be sure, I don’t need to tell anyone it’s been a tough year. Bad news upon bad news, followed by even worse news. This makes me really eager for The Increasing Viability of Good News (Cambridge Core) from Stuart Soroka and Yanna Krupnikov. …


New evidence that TFA weakens support for school choice

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There’s a fascinating new analysis on attitudes towards education of Teach for America (or TFA) alums published in Education Next that’s been going around. You’ve probably seen it.

One of the headline-grabbers is this finding:

TFA participants are 12 percentage points less likely to support the “expansion of high-quality charter schools” and 11 percentage points less likely to support vouchers to allow low-income children to attend private schools, compared to similar non-participants.

For a teacher training program so closely associated with school choice, this is a puzzling finding worth some unpacking.

You might recall that TFA finds graduating college students…


Federal officials resisted Trump; will they resist Biden?

Wednesday, the Center for Effective Government and the Center on Democracy at the University of Chicago along with the Democracy Fund co-hosted a super timely panel on bureaucratic resilience to autocratic ambitions. The all-star panel included Rachel Augustine Potter, David Lewis, Rudy Mehrbani, Jennifer Nou, and Walter Shaub. William Howell moderated the panel.

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Wow, an afternoon panel to launch a couple dozen research agendas.

This has been a fascinating time for scholarship on the bureaucracy and the power of the presidency, not just during the Trump-era, but going back decades. Nou and several others point to the recent case…


Executive orders and the limited power of the President

There’s a story about two-thirds of the way through Andrew Rudalevige’s new book, By Executive Order: Bureaucratic Management and the Limits of Presidential Power, that is so off-color that we all should thank the good editors at Princeton University Press for not enforcing any blue laws that remain on the books in New Jersey. I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t read the book yet — it’s on page 212 if you want to skip ahead, but it involves Richard Nixon and a coyote.

You really should go out and buy the book.

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As the title of the…


A story of family, influence, and campaign promises

Walter Mondale — who died this week at age 93 — was many things in his long career: Senator, Ambassador, and Professor. He was also the brother to a leader of the National Education Association, and that may have sealed the deal for him being chosen as Jimmy Carter’s running mate in 1976.

Library of Congress

Mondale’s brother, Mort, was a long-time staffer at the National Education Association (NEA) — the nation’s leading union of teachers — and the two looked like twins. McCall’s reported that while stumping for his brother at a pub in 1984, Mort Mondale explained “No, I’m not running…


Phantoms of the Beleaguered Republic is a must

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When a group of scholars come together to pen a BIG book, they usually write a long and often plodding tome. Not so for Phantoms of a Beleaguered Republic: The Deep State and The Unitary Executive (Oxford University Press) by Stephen Skowronek, John A. Dearborn, and Desmond King. They’ve written a tight narrative on a big topic, but it’s a page-turner, and a quick read.

There’s much to love about this book, other than its brevity. At its core, Phantoms is part of a growing list of books with a first crack at the Trump legacy. …


New voting data shows a shift in support

Over the weekend, Jessica Grose of the New York Times reported on Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler — one of just 10 Republican members of Congress to vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump in February.

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This break from party orthodoxy is itself remarkable, as Herrera Beutler was first-elected in 2010 with the wave of conservatives Republican Tea Party candidates, but what I found equally interesting was Rep. Herrera Beutler’s long-term connection to a major faction of the Republican party: the homeschooling movement. The Times article explains:

Ms. Herrera Beutler’s parents, a white mother and a Mexican-American father, made politics part…


50-year legacy of cost benefit analysis

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Many have eulogized George Shultz — who died this weekend at age 100 — as a voice of moderation and diplomacy, a careful stateman who checked more extreme views in the Reagan White House. He surely was those things and had a distinguished career that spanned several wars and numerous presidents.

But it’s Shultz’s less well-known role in the decidedly immoderate federal move to centralize rulemaking review that is also important to reflect on today. That is because of the Biden administration’s recent move to upend and modernize regulatory review.

On January 20th, President Biden issued a memorandum to:


Heath Brown

Heath Brown , associate professor of public policy, City University of New York, host Co-Authored podcast, written for The Atlantic, American Prospect, The Hill

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