This Month’s Podcast: John P. Spencer on Marcus Foster and American Public School Reform

Race, Riots, and Roller CoastersIn the August Penn Press podcast, John P. Spencer, Associate Professor of Education at Ursinus College and author of In the Crossfire: Marcus Foster and the Troubled History of American School Reform, talks about the work of a leading public educator who was assassinated in 1973. Spencer shares Foster's success stories and struggles in the Philadelphia and Oakland school systems, and explains what Foster's comprehensive, bridge-building approach can teach us in an age of finger-pointing debates about failing urban schools.

From the interview:

Foster was a pioneer of. . . the current movement to insist on achievement and eradicating achievement gaps, just as in many of these high-performing charter schools that get a lot of attention in the film Waiting for Superman and Geoffrey Canada's project in the Harlem Children's Zone. I see him as a real precursor to that. But on the other hand. . . he took the larger society to task for expecting that we could do this on the cheap and that you could pretend that resources were adequate for these schools.

In this clip, Spencer explains why Foster's legacy is relevant to today's school reform efforts.

In the Crossfire: Marcus Foster and School Reform Interview Excerpt by PennPress

The complete interview is available at the Penn Press podcast page.

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