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WRST-FM will be offering a six-part series on issues facing public education in the United States.

The series, called “Degrees of Separation,” is part of the public affairs program With Good Reason, which airs Thursdays at 5 p.m.

The great promise of public education is equality: an excellent education for every child, but there’s a sense that America is falling short of that promise. This six-part radio series explores how the classroom reinforces inequality, from the school-to-prison pipeline to standardized testing, and how public schools—with the right support—might fulfill the promise of an equal education.

  • Sept. 28: “Origins” The first episode of the series explores the origins of the modern education system, and looks at the view of education as a cure-all for inequality.
  • Oct. 5: “Primary” We ask a lot of primary schools: to teach kids about themselves and their communities, to prepare them to read and write, and to instill the right values in our youngest citizens. In the second episode, we look at how primary schools are meeting these demands to reduce inequality, as well as the subtle ways they may be reinforcing it.
  • Oct. 12: “Secondary” In the third episode of our series, we examine how inequality is at work in the high-stakes world of high school, from who we discipline, to the way we sort high-achieving students.
  • Oct. 19: “Higher Ed” Stories of massive student debt and for-profit school scams make it clear that the post-secondary system can be an unfriendly place to many disadvantaged students. But how are America’s universities and colleges hoping to use their institutions to reduce inequality?
  • Oct. 26: “Teachers” From mandatory testing to terrible pay, teachers face formidable obstacles to doing their job and doing it well. We look into the reasons teachers quit and what keeps them in their jobs, plus some new approaches to make the lives of our educators a little easier.
  • Nov. 2: “School Systems” in the final episode of the series, we look at the debate over charter schools, examine new ways school districts are tackling integration, and explore the forgotten regions of America’s vast public school system and reflect on why education bears so much of the blame for social problems.

The program With Good Reason is produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  These programs can be heard in the Oshkosh over WRST at 90.3 on the FM dial and worldwide at

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