Equity, Excellence and Choice

On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew speak with education policy analyst, author and former teacher Robert Pondiscio. Robert talks about what led him to make a midcareer switch to teaching and opines on the proper role of schools America. We discuss whether equity and excellence in schools can be reconciled or should be considered opposing ideals. Robert shares his views on why some charter school networks have embraced social justice and why others have not, and talks about why the charter school movement lost its bipartisan support. He also discusses why Americans who value education must focus both on school choice and on reforming public schools. Finally, Robert and Andrew reminiscence about their former experiences as fellow Brearley Dads. 


Robert Pondiscio is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focuses on K–12 education, curriculum, teaching, school choice, and charter schooling. He was also a policy analyst and education reform expert at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank. He previously worked for the Core Knowledge Foundation and as an adviser and civics teacher at Democracy Prep Public Schools. Mr. Pondiscio became interested in education policy issues when he started teaching fifth grade at a struggling South Bronx public school in 2002. Before that, Robert worked in journalism for 20 years, including in senior positions at Time and BusinessWeek. He is the author of many books, including the acclaimed “How the Other Half Learns: Equality, Excellence, and the Battle over School Choice” (Avery, 2019), about Success Academy Charter Schools.

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