Chris Stewart’s “radicalization” on education reform came after he was elected to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education in 2007 and witnessed what he saw as countless systemic inequities plaguing low-income families of color.
His recent report, The Secret Shame, How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All, finds that “…the cities we would most assume to be capitals of ’equity’ are in fact citadels of racial, economic and educational injustice.”
Stewart, chief executive officer of Education Post, has been fighting to change systemic failure for more than a decade. He holds little stock in optimism.
“Optimism is a privilege, not an entitlement,” Stewart says in this podcast with Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill. “Optimism, false hope, pithy statements … we need to be sober adults and realize we are in the fight of our lives for a generation of kids who are being ill-served by people who say they care that hold power.”
Stewart believes it’s time for education choice advocates to “stop with the fluff” and dig down and fight. That means recognizing the importance of the education reform movement in holding choice-hostile politicians accountable.
Stewart also discusses the education policies of the current Democratic presidential primary contenders. He believes that in catering their education platforms to union leadership in order to win their endorsements, the candidates are alienating core Democratic Party voters.
Is there reason to be optimistic that any of this might change? That question and more on this episode of podcastED.