By: Dr. Susan Berry
The New York Times announced Thursday it is releasing a new podcast series titled Nice White Parents, about how white parents are preventing black and brown children from succeeding in public schools.
The podcast series, to be released July 30 from Serial Productions, will be available via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google.
According to the Times, Nice White Parents is “about the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block.”
Its premise is reportedly that the reason government schools are failing “black and brown kids” is due to powerful “white parents.”
Reporter Chana Joffe-Walt states in an audio clip the basis for the project is research that led her back to New York City in 1963, when optimistic white parents insisted that a new school, intended originally for black and Hispanic children who lived in “the projects,” be built near their neighborhood instead, so that their white children and the minority children could attend school together.
When the school was finally built, however, Joffe-Walt reported the white parents never actually sent their children to the school. In the series, she relates some of the conversations she had with some of the white parents to examine why they failed to follow through with their stated intentions.
The Times report says the new podcast series demonstrates that questions about why there is an achievement gap between children from black and Hispanic families and white and Asian families – despite 20 years of progressive reforms in public schools – need to be revisited:
We know that American public schools do not guarantee each child an equal education — two decades of school reform initiatives have not changed that. But when we look at how our schools are failing, we usually focus on who they’re failing: Black and brown kids. We ask: Why aren’t they performing better? Why aren’t they achieving more?
“Those are not the right questions,” the Times says. “If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public education system, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents.”
Joffe-Walt has also reported on sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement, and is a producer for the public radio show This American Life.