ep. 76 – What School Is For, Nation’s Report Card, Free Range Parenting

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On today’s special “Back To School” episode, Ravi and Rikki tackle some big questions around education, starting with a new series from The New York Times asking a simple yet expansive question: What Is School For? The hosts debate some of the answers they got back. Then they’ll turn to the “Nation’s Report Card,” a bleak look at the extent and severity of COVID learning losses. FIRE is out with its annual college free speech rankings – so we’ll see whose alma mater came out on top there. And finally, they’ll check back in on a mom in Arizona who’s become a cause celebre for free range parenting advocates. 

Ravi and Rikki offer their insights on a new series from The New York Times asking a simple yet expansive question: What Is School For? They then discuss the issues they see with the state of education before offering solutions and how they would answer the same question. [02:02]

The hosts react to the bleak new data from the NAEP – the nation’s report card – on the extent of elementary schoolers’ learning losses over the pandemic, before turning to the recent proposal from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to address it. [19:00]

Ravi and Rikki discuss FIRE’s annual college free speech rankings, how they reached their data, and what it tells us about higher education. [28:19]

Finally, the hosts get into the resurgence of free-range parenting as they update us on a mom accused of child neglect in Arizona. Ravi and Rikki talk at length about the rise of helicopter parents and whether a correction may be underway. [36:04]

Sources Mentioned

What Is School For?

The Trouble With Harvard (The New Republic, 09/04/2014)

School Is for Wasting Time and Money (The New York Times Guest Essay, 09/01)

School Is For Merit (The New York Times Guest Essay, 09/01)

School Is for Making Citizens (The New York Times Guest Essay, 09/01)

‘A Breach of Trust’: Three Parents on Why They Became School Activists (The New York Times Opinion Podcast, 09/01)

Schools should try to teach kids the basics (Slow Boring, 09/06)

Asra Nomani Rips Critical Race Theory, Calls It The ‘New Racism’ In America (YouTube, 03/05)

Nation’s Report Card:

American students’ test scores plunge to levels unseen for decades (The Washington Post, 09/01)

‘Nation’s Report Card’: Two Decades of Growth Wiped Out by Two Years of Pandemic (The 74, 09/01)

NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessment Results: Reading and Mathematics (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2022)

Facing Pandemic Learning Crisis, Districts Spend Relief Funds at a Snail’s Pace (The 74, 09/07)

Youngkin addresses learning loss in Virginia with ‘Bridging the Gap’ pilot program (YouTube, 09/02)

The Lost Debate Ep. 71 | Neumann Comeback, Productivity Scores, Liz Cheney, Student Progress (Lost Debate, 38:05, 08/18)

A Half Century of Student Progress Nationwide (Education Next, 08/09)

The Regressives Ep. 1 l The Worst School Board in America? (Lost Debate, 12/2021)

FIRE Free Speech Rankings:

The 2022-2023 College Free Speech Rankings (FIRE, 09/07)

Columbia University is worst college in nation for free speech: report (New York Post, 09/07)

The Indoctrination Myth (The New York Times, 03/03/2012)

Are Students Liberal? Yes – But Not Everywhere (Real Clear Education, 11/25/2020)

Free Range Kids (AZ Case):

Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone (The Sun, 04/01/2008)

The Free-Range Kids & Parents Bill of Rights (Free-Range Kids, 02/10/2015)

Catching up with ‘Coddling’ part eight: Some big wins for free play and childhood independence (FIRE, 02/02/2021)

NBC Today Show New York Adventure (YouTube, 10/20/2019)

The Lost Debate | Ep 13 | Julian Assange, Stop WOKE Act, Religion Declining, Libertarian Liz (Lost Debate, 17:14, 12/16/2021)

Mom Who Let Her 7-Year-Old Play at the Park Will Not Be Added to Arizona’s Unfit Parent Registry (FIRE, 08/30)

A Mom Let Her 7-Year-Old Play in the Park. Arizona Arrested Her and Banned Her From Working With Kids. (FIRE, 08/17)

When Adults Step Back, Kids Step Up (Let Grow)


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