USED Asst. Sec. Jim Blew Talks Sec. DeVos, School Choice, & K-12 Politics

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jim Blew, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. Assistant Secretary Blew shares lessons from leading and implementing K-12 public education reform efforts in often contentious policy environments, and the unique challenges of the current partisanship and gridlock in Washington, D.C. He describes Secretary DeVos’s courageous work on behalf of public and private school choice, as both a public official and private philanthropist, and why it caused such a stir from the national teachers’ unions and defenders of the status quo in Congress. The discussion concludes with a focus on the D.C. voucher program, the most successful federally-funded K-12 private school choice program ever established, its future prospects, and the outlook for private school choice programs across the country.

Stories of the Week: The New Hampshire state legislature will move forward on the first phase of a $46 million federal grant-funded initiative to double the number of charter schools, after Democratic lawmakers voted against the grant last year. Lily Eskelsen García rose from school cafeteria worker to president of the National Education Association – will President-elect Biden choose her as the next U.S. Secretary of Education?

Guest:

Jim Blew serves as the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education until January 20, 2021. Prior to joining the Department, Jim advocated for education reform across the country. His roles included serving as director of the 50CAN affiliate Student Success California, national president of StudentsFirst, and national director of the Alliance for School Choice and its predecessor, the American Education Reform Council. Jim also helped guide the Walton Family Foundation’s K-12 reform investments for nearly a decade. Before committing himself full-time to education reform, Jim worked at political and communications firms in New York and California. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College and a master’s in business administration from the Yale School of Management.

The next episode will air Wednesday, January 6th with Eva Moskowitz, the CEO & Founder of Success Academy Charter Schools.

Tweet of the Week:

 

Newslinks:

With new GOP leadership, New Hampshire poised to use federal funds to double state charter schools

https://www.concordmonitor.com/With-new-Republican-leadership-New-Hampshire-to-move-forward-on-federal-charter-school-grants-37626989

From School Cafeteria ‘Salad Girl’ to U.S. Secretary of Education? The Rise of Former NEA President Lily Eskelsen García

https://www.the74million.org/article/analysis-from-school-cafeteria-salad-girl-to-u-s-secretary-of-education-the-rise-of-former-nea-president-lily-eskelsen-garcia/

Get Updates on Our Education Research

Browse recent episodes:

U-Ark Prof. Jay Greene & EdChoice’s Jason Bedrick on Yeshivas vs. New York & Religious Liberty

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jay Greene, the Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Jason Bedrick, the Director of Policy for EdChoice. They discuss their timely new book, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, about the recent battle between Orthodox Jewish private schools and New York's state government over the content of instruction.

Michelle Rhee, Former Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools, on Leading Urban District Reform & the COVID-19 Moment

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald are joined by Michelle Rhee, founder and former CEO of StudentsFirst and prior to that, former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). 

Award-Winning Author Devery Anderson on the 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Devery Anderson, the author of Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. Today, August 28th, marks the 65th anniversary of the brutal murder of 14-year old Emmett Till, a story which is central to understanding America's ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial justice.

Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher on K-12 Disruptive Innovation, Professional Networks, & Social Mobility

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.

President of D.C.’s AppleTree Institute, Jack McCarthy on Charter Schools and Fall Reopening

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jack McCarthy, president and CEO of AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation and board chair of AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School. Jack shares what animated him to establish this highly innovative early childhood charter public school network that serves the most vulnerable children in Washington, D.C.

“Call Me Ishmael” Melville Scholar Prof. Hershel Parker on Moby-Dick & Classic Literature

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald, senior education fellow with the Foundation for Economic Education, are joined by Hershel Parker, the H. Fletcher Brown professor emeritus at the University of Delaware and the definitive biographer of the 19th-century American novelist, Herman Melville.

NYT #1 Best-Selling Science Author, Dava Sobel on Copernicus, Galileo’s Daughter, & Astronomy

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, and author of Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter, and Letters to Father. Dava describes what inspired her interest in some of the most gifted mathematicians and astronomers in history, including Copernicus and Galileo, and the tensions between religion and science.

Widow of Civil Rights Icon, Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth on Desegregating Schools & Racial Equity

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth, a retired teacher and charter school leader, and the widow of the late Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights leader, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

WSJ Children’s Book Critic & Author, Meghan Cox Gurdon on Reading Aloud to Children in the Age of Distraction

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Meghan Cox Gurdon, the Wall Street Journal’s children’s book reviewer and author of The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction.

Boston Uni.’s Dr. Charles Glenn on School Choice, Civil Rights, & Espinoza

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dr. Charles Glenn, Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Boston University. Dr. Glenn shares his early experiences in the Civil Rights movement, and how it inspired his work to expand school choice, as well as his thoughts on the Espinoza Supreme Court case's impact on racial justice and religious liberty.

Brown Uni.’s Pulitzer-Winning Prof. Gordon Wood on American Independence & the Founding Fathers

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Gordon Wood, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution.

Lead Plaintiff Kendra Espinoza & IJ’s Attorney Erica Smith on Landmark SCOTUS School Choice Decision

/
This week, in a special segment of “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are honored to be joined by Kendra Espinoza, lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, just decided yesterday, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and Erica Smith, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented the plaintiffs.

U-Arkansas Prof. Patrick Wolf on School Choice, Espinoza, & Students’ Civic Prep

/
U-Arkansas Prof. Patrick Wolf joins The Learning Curve to discuss school choice, the Supreme Court's Espinoza case, & students’ civic preparation.

Pulitzer Winner Diane McWhorter on Civil Rights History & Race in America

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard mark the Juneteenth commemoration of the end of slavery with an episode devoted to Civil Rights history. They are joined by Diane McWhorter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.

NYT Best-Selling Children’s Author Carole Boston Weatherford on Fannie Lou Hamer & Race in America

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Prof. Carole Boston Weatherford, a New York Times best-selling children’s book author, and Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award winning biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer.

MA Commissioner Jeff Riley on Remote Learning, Voc-Techs, & Reforming Boston’s Schools

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard open with commentary on the George Floyd tragedy and K-12 education’s role in addressing racial injustice. Then, they are joined by Jeffrey Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, to talk about the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

Acclaimed Poet & Former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia on Poetry & Arts Education

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dana Gioia, a poet, writer, and the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, to talk about why the arts are so pivotal to the intellectual and civic development of America’s K-12 schoolchildren.

Homeschooling Expert Kerry McDonald on Harvard Law Professor Controversy & COVID

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a homeschooling expert and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into "homeschoolers."