Vanderbilt’s Dr. Carol Swain on U.S. History, Race, & 1776 Unites

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[00:00:30] Albert: Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Learning Curve podcast. I’m your guest co-host today, Dr. Albert Cheng from the University of Arkansas. Where I’m a professor of education policy and I direct the classical education research lab. And this week, I’m really happy to have Ian Rowe guest co-hosting with me.

[00:00:51] Albert: Welcome to the show, Ian.

[00:00:52] Ian: Albert, great to be with you. Thank you for having me on.

[00:00:56] Albert: Yeah, great to connect with you again and, do something [00:01:00] together.

[00:01:00] Ian: I had the pleasure of doing the Learning Curve before, which was great, and just a couple weeks ago, I did the keynote for Pioneer’s great new book that everyone’s got to get, Restoring the City on a Hill just an important book about just what’s happening in civics in America, which is important to all of us, and importantly to the rising generation.

[00:01:22] Ian: Yeah,

[00:01:22] Albert: yeah, and for the listeners check out the episode we did a couple weeks ago on that edited volume as well. Ian, you know, for, got a story of the week here, and the one I want to talk about is a report that just recently came out from the State Department of Education in North Carolina an official report documenting the enrollment decline in public schools and the enrollment increase in charter and private schools, and you know, I think this is the story we’re seeing across the country.

[00:01:55] Albert: I think we’re both seeing anecdotally and in other studies just this trend decline in, district school enrollment where as parents leave and choose private or charter school options, According to the article, the North Carolina Charter School population is north of 150,000 students now.

[00:02:12] Albert: And think the most recent drop in terms of public-school enrollment that they detected was about 4,000 students. You know, we’re definitely seeing this here in Arkansas as well. You know, we’ve got a new charter school that opened up here in northwest Arkansas. It’s actually a charter network that’s been here for a while, but they have a new site Lisa Academy.

[00:02:31] Albert: And then, you know, within the past I’d say four to five years, we’ve had four new private schools open up here in the region. So, I don’t know. I think it looks like what’s happening here in Arkansas might be reflected in North Carolina. I don’t know. And what about your neck of the woods?

[00:02:45] Ian: Well, in New York City, The New York City public school system, you know, which is the largest in the country a few years ago, maybe four or five years ago, it was about 1. 1 million students. And now I think it’s just above 900,000. So even New York City has lost 200,000 kids to a whole number of, different avenues that parents are focused on homeschooling, public charter schools.

[00:03:11] Ian: Catholic schools. parents are voting with their feet. They’re not happy with the options that they’re given. And I don’t know if that’s a lead into another story. That, just in the wall street journal talking about What’s going on in Wisconsin and just really quickly in New York City.

[00:03:27] Ian: You know, I used to run network I mean, I now run vertex partnership academies, which the new virtues based high school here in the Bronx and in this district, only 7 percent of kids. That starts ninth grade four years later, graduate from high school, ready for college. And in the network, I used to lead, you know, each year we maybe had two to 300 open seats per year, but we had more than 5, 000 families applying, you know, so it was just [00:04:00] crushing thing each year to tell parents that the best we can do is put your kids an excruciatingly long wait list.

[00:04:07] Ian: So now let’s go to Wisconsin, where Wisconsin actually has been one of the leaders in school choice, and they have a current program where more than 50,000 children benefit from going to different kinds of schools, whether it’s charter schools or vouchers. And the state Supreme Court recently changed to create and now have a four

[00:04:32] Ian: three majority in terms of judges who represent more of a progressive ideology versus a conservative. And they decided to go after the school choice program that public funds or have to be used for public purposes. Well, you know, all these funds are, they’ve called school choice, quote, a cancer.

[00:04:52] Ian: Quote a predatory scheme. And so, this is there’s a real threat that choice may be eliminated for nearly [00:05:00] 50,000 kids. And the way that the Milwaukee has set up their program. You know, a family of three must earn less than 69,000 a year in Milwaukee or Racine. the children can only be up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

[00:05:18] Ian: So, they’ve really designed these choice programs to be of. service to the state’s most vulnerable kids but there’s a case in front of the Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court. So, let’s hope that these judges don’t based on progressive versus conservative lines, but really just what’s best for kids.

[00:05:36] Albert: Yeah. Let’s hope that for that. Indeed. I, you know, I’m. Familiar with several of the school leaders that operate some of these schools in the area. And I got to say they’re, doing great work and serving a lot of kids participating in, this program.

[00:05:48] Albert: Yeah, so a sad thing to see that go. So, hoping that it doesn’t happen.

[00:05:52] Ian: let’s hope that’s all you got to keep the fight going, you know, and, you know, fundamentally, we believe in America. I know we’re going to have a guest on who talked a [00:06:00] lot about the benefits of America. Having access to a high-quality public-school tuition free education is the bedrock of the promise that we need to make to our kids.

[00:06:12] Albert: Yeah, coming up after the break, you know, we’re going to have Dr Carol Swain talk about Exactly that, as well as U. S. history, race 1776 Unites, lots of other topics. So, stay tuned and join us after this break.

[00:06:34] Albert: You know it rain for the days,

[00:06:37] Carol: rain for the nights. To make my gum not fit me right. Swain

[00:06:55] Albert: is a retired professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University in [00:07:00] Princeton. An award-winning political scientist cited three times by the U. S. Supreme Court, she’s authored or edited 11 published books, including The Adversity of Diversity, Black Eye for America, The 1776 Report, Be the People, A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise, and The New White Nationalism in America, Its Challenge to Integration.

[00:07:21] Albert: Dr. Swain has appeared on BBC Radio and TV, C SPAN, ABC’s Headline News, CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, and published opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and USA Today. She earned a BA, magna cum laude, in criminal justice from Roanoke College, a master’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech, And a Master of Legal Studies from Yale Law School and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

[00:07:51] Albert: Dr. Carol Swain, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here.

[00:07:55] Carol: Thank you so much.

[00:07:56] Albert: So, I want to start off by just asking a little bit [00:08:00] about your background. You’ve had a remarkable academic and professional career. You’re an accomplished author, speaker, public intellectual. Just share with our audience, for those who might not know you as well just some details about your background, upbringing, formative experiences growing up in rural Virginia in the 50s and 60s.

[00:08:18] Carol: Right, and when you talk about, I’ve had life that’s somewhat remarkable it’s ongoing because I constantly reinvent myself and take on new challenges. And so even though I am officially retired from academia, I’m very much not retired from the world of ideas and from trying to make my voice heard, not just in America, but also around the world.

[00:08:46] Carol: And so, you asked me about my background. I was one of 12 children born and raised in rural poverty in southwestern Virginia in a community called Chambersburg, and I was second from the [00:09:00] oldest. We lived in a two room shack for the early part of my life. I dropped out of school after completing the eighth grade, and all of my siblings also dropped out of school.

[00:09:12] Carol: Three of us earned high school equivalencies. I was the only one to reach college and graduate. with a college degree. I married at age 16, had my first child at age 17, and by the time I was 20, I had three small children. People came into my life, a couple of people in particular. And I ended up getting a high school equivalency in 1975, taking a job outside my home.

[00:09:45] Carol: 1976, I started a community college degree. I graduated from there. Because of the encouragement of people who pushed me to continue my education, I went on to earn five college and university degrees. It was never anything I planned. I became a university professor. But it was the people who came into my life who encouraged me and sort of pushed me far beyond anything I ever imagined or anticipated.

[00:10:17] Albert: Let’s dig into some of that a little bit. talk about your K 12 schooling a little bit further here. So, you were born around the same time as the major Supreme Court decision, v. Board approximately the same age as Ruby Bridges, who, as a young girl, became a civil rights era icon desegregating New Orleans public schools in the 60s.

[00:10:36] Albert: Yeah, could you just talk more about your K 12 experiences Virginia and how you and your family in particular confronted racial discrimination segregation?

[00:10:46] Carol: I mean, we didn’t necessarily confront it. We were busy living our lives, and I’m sure my experiences are very different from middle class Black Americans.

[00:10:55] Carol: For my family, it was about survival. I attended segregated schools up until 1968, I believe. And what I find very significant today is that I was born in the year of the Brown versus Board of Education desegregation case that ordered public schools to be desegregated with all deliberate speed.

[00:11:20] Carol: All deliberate speed meant 1968. In Virginia, because we were the site of massive resistance, and our Democrat governor the bird machine, B Y R D, it’s called the bird machine, they engaged in massive resistance to integration, and Prince Edward County, Virginia, shut down their public schools completely, and so if you were black, and you had some financial means, and you had relatives outside the South, you went to live with your relatives to get an education.

[00:11:55] Carol: White students went to private academies and some black students did not get much of an education at all. but the segregated schools served me well. And I can remember though, the teachers talking, we had lots of optimism during that time. The teachers talked about the integration that they knew was coming and I remember them saying that the white students would be ahead of us because they had better books They had this they had that and I was smart At the black segregated school, even though I did not attend school very often One year I missed 80 of 180 school days And I failed as did my siblings.

[00:12:39] Carol: We all felt that year The reason we missed so much school was because of the weather not having proper clothes But, when the schools integrated and I went to the predominantly white school, it was the greatest thing for my self-confidence because I learned that I was not only smart at the black school, I was also smart at the white school, and I learned that white people were not smarter than black people because of, going to the integrated predominantly white school and learning that I still was smart.

[00:13:08] Carol: well, that helped build my confidence. I also remember as a confidence builder, James Brands, say it loud, I’m black and proud. And I’m a conservative now, but I can remember my white classmates telling my siblings that their sister was going to get in trouble because she’s a militant. I was wearing an afro, and I can remember having a white pleather jacket where I can draw.

[00:13:37] Carol: I drew a fist. of defiance, on the back of my jacket, a black, power fist. And I also drew a wounded, dead, or alive poster of George Wallace, and I hung it on a tree so that when the school bus came by, all the white kids could see it.

[00:13:56] Albert: Oh, yeah, you, you’ve been you know, making bold statements ever since you were a kid then.

[00:14:03] Albert: Yeah, well, you I mean, I do also want to hear about just your experience in higher ed as well. You’ve got held tenured academic positions at elite American universities like Princeton, Vanderbilt talk to us about just your experience teaching on, on college campuses over the last 30 years?

[00:14:19] Albert: How has the intellectual climate changed? Including just, you know, issues of political correctness, speech codes, safe spaces, cancel culture and just in your observation, describe how these changes have impacted the free exchange of ideas and intellectual freedom.

[00:14:33] Carol: First of all, I want to tell you that I was very successful as a graduate student and a young professor.

[00:14:39] Carol: I earned early tenure at Princeton. I was a hot shot. I won national prizes. And I was a political scientist who wanted to be a political scientist. I was not a black political scientist. I was not in black organizations. I was just a political scientist. And I’ve always wanted to be just an individual.

[00:15:00] Carol: And I benefited from the fact that, well, I mean, I did very well when I was hired by Princeton. I had a Harvard Press contract on my book, but I can just see that it was very difficult for me being at Princeton because of my background. So, I was not only learning how to teach and learning how to teach, be a faculty member.

[00:15:24] Carol: I was also learning how to operate in that culture because I had come from such poverty, and I had been in college towns as a graduate student, but I was thrown into an environment where, you know, I’m at a fancy dinner, and I’m really confused waiting to see, which water glasses picked up first, or which are waiting for someone to move.

[00:15:50] Carol: But I can tell you the truth that even today, Thank you. I’ve been in those situations where I think there are a lot of people waiting to see who picks the napkin. It’s not in an obvious place. But, and so, I mean, I bought into everything academia was selling at the time.

[00:16:10] Carol: And that was critical race theory around in the philosophy departments and So, and Little bit in political science and in the law schools and I was not interested in that because I was a congressional scholar, very much focused on public policy. So there was a lot going on around me. While I was a faculty member and when it came to teaching, I can tell you that it was hard for me because I was so shy and I had gone from sort of being like a hot shot and, thinking I was it to being in in an environment where.

[00:16:47] Carol: You know, many of my colleagues spoke in these long paragraphs before they asked a question. It had a preface, it had a setup, it had, you know, the faint praise, and then it had the kill line. Yeah. And I’ve always been a person who’s been very And I found myself at some point just realizing how much I was a fish out of water.

[00:17:08] Carol: And I also realized that. I was very obsessed with getting early tenure, but I realized I did not love the institution. And they loved the institution because so many of them had spent all their lives getting there. And it was like I breezed in. And in fact, I did not want to start my career at the Ivy League.

[00:17:30] Carol: And by the time I was on the job market, I was known across the country because I’d given the conference papers. And so, I had my own short list of schools, but my plan was to start at Florida state Ohio State or one of those state schools and I was going to work my way to Harvard. I had no doubt that I would be a Harvard professor, but I wanted to prove myself because even then I was conservative on affirmative action.

[00:17:56] Carol: I was persuaded by a Princeton professor who was [00:18:00] recruiting me who said, if you can start at the top, start at the top because those other places will always be waiting, and he was correct. They have been waiting.

[00:18:10] Albert: Yeah, I mean, earlier you referenced that you had a lot of folks really shape you it sounds like even just, you know, through your graduate studies and your time as a junior scholar, you had people speaking into your life, along those same terms kind of bring up the role of religious tradition.

[00:18:25] Albert: in America, I mean, historically, we’ve been really shaped by a lot of religious traditions particularly Judeo Christian ideals so for you as a, as a person of faith, could you discuss some ways that people of faith have shaped you but also have been a force for, you know, Spreading literacy, justice, equality in America, you know, I mean, thinking all the way back to the early pilgrims, the abolitionists you know, we know are the Southern Baptist ministers like Reverend King and Shuttlesworth.

[00:18:53] Carol: Well, first, I want to say I did not become. a person of faith until I was in my 40s, but I was always spiritual. I grew up as a child, knowing that I was different, having a sense of urgency, having strangers come up to me saying I would be famous someday.

[00:19:09] Carol: And so, I have always been spiritual. I believe one God, many paths. And so, during the time I was at Princeton, I knew that my life was not like other people’s. And I can see now how God. The Judeo Christian God was guiding me, putting people in my path, and they were not always Christian believers, God uses all sorts of people and so there are many people, like, when I tell, I’m working on my autobiography, the Carol Swain story has all kinds of people in it that encouraged me along the way, and Muslims Jews you know, fellow Christians, atheists, and I believe God can use.

[00:19:52] Carol: Everyone, I have always been a person who believed in America and the American dream. And so, to the extent that Judeo Christian values helped shape our nation, and we know that it did because of the pilgrims and the Puritans, and also the 13 colonies. had in their constitution’s references to Christianity.

[00:20:20] Carol: And I would argue that the church state clauses had nothing to do with building a wall between the secular government the churches of Christianity or religion. It was to keep America from having a state religion. And so, I very much have always been a traditionalist. And I’ve sort of always played by the rules, even though I was not a religious believer.

[00:20:49] Carol: I was never a part of the drug never smoked a joint. There was a time when I would have, but it wasn’t available where I lived. And by the time it was available, I wasn’t interested.

[00:21:01] Albert: Ian, you’ve got some questions to ask Dr. Carol Swain as well too, right?

[00:21:06] Ian: So, Dr. Swain, so great to be reconnected with you as, we’re about to talk about shortly.

[00:21:11] Ian: I know you and I have had the great pleasure of working with Bob Woodson and the 1776 Unite campaign. but before we get there, just continuation of the question earlier, you know, focusing on Dr. King and Malcolm X, iconic figures of civil rights era, but obviously They chose two different pathways for how to address race issues in the United States.

[00:21:34] Ian: I’m curious what you’d say, you know, briefly, the legacies of both, how they differed, how they were similar and whose ideas are enduring more. Today whose ideas should be enduring.

[00:21:49] Carol: Well, it’s very interesting because as a young adult, I was a fan of Malcolm X. And when my children were probably six and seven, I was reading them the autobiography of Malcolm X.

[00:22:04] Carol: And so, I really identified with him because his background was closer to my background than Dr. King. My experience has been a lot of rejection from middle class Blacks and I think some of it had to do with my social class, but also the color, the darkness of my skin, because that is an issue.

[00:22:22] Carol: And back in the early 2000s, I think it was 2004, 2005, I had an opportunity to travel for the State Department to speak in five Southeast Asian countries about the global impact of the civil rights movement. And I focused on Dr. King and Malcolm X and how they were coming together at the time that Malcolm was assassinated.

[00:22:48] Carol: And I have always had hope that Christians, Jews and Muslims because they were the people of the book and because they claimed Father Abraham, [00:23:00] that there would be a basis, for peace and unity. And I guess I was very naive back then, but I was very hopeful. So, I have given it a lot of thought and with Dr. King. He has sort of been canceled or reinterpreted by the progressive left. And I think his ideas are the ones he spoke about judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin it was consistent with the civil rights movement, a civil rights act, and the goal to end discrimination under the law.

[00:23:37] Carol: Malcolm X, I think was more of a realist. He saw the hypocrisy of progressives and how their ideas did not empower blacks. And I see myself as a truth speaker, as someone who can see reality. And so I have a great kinship with Malcolm X. And I think that if we wanted to address the [00:24:00] urban problems of today, you would use a blend of Malcolm X and Booker T.

[00:24:07] Carol: Washington’s ideas, and you could throw a little King in there, but they were the ones that I believe understood the complexity of the problems blacks would be facing better than Dr. King. And with Dr. King, I think that because he did come from a more affluent, background, the issues of the middle class and upper class Blacks, I believe, they’ve always been different from those that affected the rank and file.

[00:24:37] Albert: Absolutely.

[00:24:38] Ian: If we fast forward to present day, you know, there’s a new emerging set of voices on how to address the race issue. You know, most notably folks like Nicole Hannah Jones, Ta-Nehisi Coates. And you and I met when the New York Times produced the 1619 project. And it’s important for listeners to remember, from a quote from their objective, quote, the 1619 project exists to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans.

[00:25:15] Ian: At the very center of our national narrative and quote the 1619 project claims things like the, founding principles quote were false when they were written, you know, the United States was created as a slaveocracy and not a democracy. Before we get into 1776 and our response, but can you talk a little bit about what the 1619 Project meant and the ways in which, young people absorbed that interpretation of America’s past.

[00:25:49] Carol: Well, I can tell you that I believe that many of the gains of Black America and the work of, of Black people over the, past few centuries, that the 1619 Project erases.

[00:26:06] Carol: or diminishes a lot of people that we really should be focused on and learning from. And one of the most dismaying things that I’ve learned, and I’m sure you’ve heard this too, is that there’s been an effort to take Booker T. Washington’s autobiography and list it as fiction, that someone labeled his autobiography as fiction.

[00:26:28] Carol: And I think it’s because if you highlight the accomplishments of Blacks who came out of the slave era and were successful, and the ones that Bob Woodson talks about, and other scholars who became millionaires, then the narrative of the 1619 Project and A lot of the current young voices who, they have gotten a lot of attention from the white progressives, but what they believe is so naive, ill-informed in so many ways, and it’s destructive.

[00:27:03] Carol: Because it strips black people of hope, and it doesn’t highlight on the enormous accomplishments that blacks made during the worst of times. And so, I think that we have gone backwards when it comes to race relations and I’ve seen this in academia for whatever reason the white progressives who run things on college campuses have always rewarded.

[00:27:29] Carol: More greatly, the blacks who were angry. Like if I wanted to further my career and get an endowed chair and do all those things, and I never got an endowed chair, despite winning the highest prize a political scientist can win, is that you got to have a chip on your shoulder and you got to make white people uncomfortable, and you have to entertain them.

[00:27:50] Carol: And so, my sense is that a lot of the people that get rewarded are entertainers more so than people who are serious thinkers when it comes to race.

[00:28:01] Ian: Yeah, it’s essentially almost at the valorized victimhood as opposed to course, the book that you, the autobiography that you’re talking about, Booker T. Washington, it’s up from slavery. It is very much not a work of fiction. It’s part of the required, it’s part of the required reading at our high school, actually. So, all of our students will get that aspect of American history. And so, Dr. Swain, you know, in response to 1619, we, you and I, and a group of amazing practitioners, scholars, folks like Glenn Lowry, Colby Hughes we joined Bob Woodson and helping lead 1776 unites.

[00:28:43] Ian: And you also served as vice president of the 1776 commission. Can you talk a little bit about these works? It unites as well as the commission as well, you know, because we try to help educate young people with what we believe was a more balanced understanding of America’s what I like to say, warts and all, when we’re looking at American history through the lens of race.

[00:29:12] Carol: Well, one of the things that I find most fascinating about 1776 Unites is the different backgrounds of people who came together around that project. And so, it’s not like everyone was a conservative, or it was people from every different spectrum. And it’s also racially diverse, but these are people who cared greatly.

[00:29:36] Carol: about telling America’s true history. And Bob Woodson himself has been very much focused on the accomplishment of black people. And I cannot think of a person who has greater black pride. And he has this expression when white people were at their worst, we were at our best. And so black people accomplished a great deal during the worst times in American history. And the marriage rate for black families and what they accomplished was strong coming out of slavery. And so the whole, idea, the argument that slavery destroyed the black family. It didn’t destroy the black family. And I can tell you, I have relatives that married in the 1940s, 1950s.

[00:30:24] Carol: they’re old, they’re dying, but they stayed married. And it was the 1960s after progressives started pushing their agenda. That you got so much dysfunction in the black community that you got the rise in the single female headed households, as well as the black crime rate. And so, the world, in my mind, has gone to hell in a handbasket, and it’s been because of progressive ideas.

[00:30:51] Carol: And these ideas have come from university… intellectuals pushing critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion. And I’ve published two books, I believe, since we were together. One is Black Eye for America; how critical race theory is burning down the house.

[00:31:11] Carol: And that was written for parents and policy makers and people that needed to understand what was taking place. in their schools and why their children were being exposed to ideas even in kindergarten that at one time were theories that stayed on college campuses, but now they have been distilled into elementary school form.

[00:31:34] Carol: They’re very dangerous. They teach self-hatred. And so, when we came together for 1776, I mean, it’s about getting back to America’s true history, educating people. We didn’t get everything right in America, but America has been a country that when we made mistakes, we tried to correct those mistakes.

[00:31:53] Ian: Yeah, and something you just said earlier about getting the record straight, particularly around family structure within the black community. Most people don’t know that in the, you know, early part of the prior century, you know, black people had some of the highest marriage rates in the country. And it was in the 60s when Pat Moynihan wrote his famous report on the black community.

[00:32:13] Ian: It was a crisis because at that time the non-marital birth rate in the black community was 23.6 percent. Today, it’s over 70 percent. And so, it’s not because of the, you know, efforts around slavery. And so, something changed in the last 50, 60 years that have really weakened not only family structure of, and the black community, but across all, all races and, and maybe to some degree that, you know, that transition over time, maybe also reflected your own perhaps political transition.

[00:32:45] Ian: Cause at one time you were a Democrat, as I understand, and eventually became. And independent and then a Republican you’ve never shied away from controversy. You have a great video from Prager university, you know, quote, the inconvenient truth about the democratic party, which has received 9 million views.

[00:33:04] Carol: Oh, no, those videos on the Prager website because there are different platforms that have different numbers. It has received 28 million views and if you go to the reaction videos that young people started doing maybe a year or so ago, where they get groups of people together and they show them the video and they react to it.

[00:33:29] Carol: Yeah, those views are not candid. I was told by Prager that that video has been seen by over 30 million people and They believe all of my videos all six have been seen by 100 million. so Yeah

[00:33:45] Carol: Because I encounter young people, white, black, different races, Asians, who tell me that they saw that video and because of that they became a conservative or they dug in or they changed their mind. And so, I left academia. And at the time I left, I took early retirement. I didn’t know what the future would hold for me.

[00:34:06] Carol: And it’s just so amazing to me how God opened up the whole world for me. And had I stayed in academia, I would never have the reach that I’m having today. And so, you know, I’m out there. And when you talk about the 1960s, yeah, something changed. What you got was those Marxists that fled Nazi Germany, that set up camp at Columbia University and trained students who fanned out across the country, that by the 1960s, their work was bearing fruit, and what you got was the neo-Marxists, they were able to Begin to affect the college and university campuses.

[00:34:44] Carol: And what you have now is some of the radicals from the 1960s who followed Solominsky strategy and rules for radicals. They are running the institutions. They’re running the institutions in the ground. And so black people. LGBT people and women, they’re just casualties. These progressives do not care about them. If they cared about them, we wouldn’t be fighting the women’s movement all over again today.

[00:35:11] Ian: that’s amazing. Any final advice you’d have for a student on a college campus who’s hearing a lot of these crazy ideas, but it’s feeling fearful of expressing their opinion or speaking their mind advice would you give to that student today?

[00:35:29] Carol: Well, I would tell them to be, if I want to say, be biblical, I’d say, was it be as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a lamb? And I think that every conservative should read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and that they should see what they can use, and the left, the progressives gain control because they infiltrated institutions.

[00:35:55] Carol: And what I believe that young people need to do is decide when you have to speak. You don’t have to fight every battle. Every professor doesn’t have to know what you’re thinking. That for some young people, their goal should be just to get through and to get positioned and get their job. And when they have power, when they are positioned, then they are able to Make a change, but there are other people who are wired like me And those people are going to be out front and when they start chopping off heads and throwing people in prison We’re going to be first in line, but it doesn’t make sense for all of us to be identified at the same time

[00:36:34] Albert: Wise words Dr. Carol swain and really enjoyed this interview having you on here. Really appreciate you giving us your time.

[00:36:39] Carol: Thank you so much. Take care.

[00:37:15] Albert: Well, thanks again to Dr. Carol Swain for joining us and to close out this episode, we’ve got our tweet of the week which is from our friends over at Education Next. Teach like Socrates tried true and ancient the Socratic method. Remains the gold standard for instruction, which is written by our friend Rick Hess.

[00:37:35] Albert: Of course, I, might be a little bit partial to the Socratic method. But, you know, for all you other fans of this, this method I encourage you to read the article that Rick has written about this. I mean, he it’s not just a celebration of the method. Actually, Rick is highlighting.

[00:37:49] Albert: Why this method is it more widespread or more effective? and part of the argument he’s making there is that, you know, we don’t really train teachers and prepare teachers and equip teachers to implement this method well. So, take a look at that article. I think it’s great fodder for thinking about, how we can prove teaching and learning, particularly those interested in the Socratic method.

[00:38:08] Ian: Yeah, no, it’s a great piece and actually does both. It both highlights the value of the Socratic method while also acknowledging how hard it is. To teach because it does rely upon the teacher to have a deep understanding of the subject matter that’s being discussed.

[00:38:25] Ian: And so, if you’re questioning a Socratic way the teacher’s got to be able to respond to students who come back with varying responses. So, their expertise and subject matter knowledge is important. And it also highlights the fact that the kids and the students need to have benefited from probably some direct instruction where their core body of knowledge is now at a certain point where they can engage in a meaningful discussion.

[00:38:55] Ian: So Socratic method is fantastic, but there’s some precursors about knowledge acquisition. That’s so important for both teacher and student.

[00:39:05] Albert: Yeah, and that’s absolutely right. So, we hope that teachers go out there and become those subject matter experts and, and hopefully school leaders in our schools uh, you know, the teacher training programs can better equip teachers to do this.

[00:39:18] Albert: All right, well, Ian, I want to thank you for co-hosting with me this week. Great to run the show with you. Hopefully we’ll see you back here on the show again.

[00:39:26] Ian: That was fantastic. It was a great discussion and honored to be here. And good stuff. Yeah.

[00:39:32] Albert: Yeah. And join us next week where we’re going to have Harvard literature professor, Leo Damrosch talk about Jonathan Swift and Gulliver’s travels.

[00:39:41] Albert: So, pack your bags and come along with us as we listen to what Professor Damrosch has to share with us.

This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Prof. Albert Cheng of the University of Arkansas and Ian Rowe, the founder of Vertex Partnership Academies in NYC, interview Dr. Carol Swain, an award-winning political scientist. Dr. Swain discusses her background growing up in rural Virginia, experiences with racial discrimination and segregation in K-12 schooling, and changes in the intellectual climate on college campuses. She shares the role of faith in promoting literacy and justice, the legacies of MLK and Malcolm X, the 1619 Project, her work with 1776 Unites, and her belief in the importance of public intellectuals speaking their minds.

Stories of the Week: Prof. Cheng addressed a story by WITN which highlights a report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that reveals increased interest in private and charter schools, with higher enrollment, while traditional public schools are seeing flat or decreased enrollment after the pandemic. Ian discussed a story from Wall Street Journal exploring progressive Wisconsin Supreme Court justices challenging the state’s school-choice program, potentially eliminating it for many low-income children.


Dr. Carol Swain is a retired professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University and Princeton University. An award-winning political scientist, cited three times by the U.S. Supreme Court, she has authored or edited 11 published books, including The Adversity of DiversityThe 1776 ReportBe the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and PromiseThe New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration; and Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House. Dr. Swain has appeared on BBC Radio and TV, C-SPAN, ABC’s Headline News, CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, and published opinion pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall  Street Journal, The Financial Times, and USA Today. She earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in criminal justice from Roanoke College; a master’s degree in political science from Virginia Tech; a Master of Legal Studies from Yale Law School; and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.