Bootstraps podcast series on educational equity

I’m leading this narrative podcast series, Bootstraps: Merit, myths and education, which is a collaboration between EdSurge and Open Campus.

There’s a longstanding tradition of prizing “merit” in deciding which students get access to the best educational opportunities in America. The narrative goes that a merit-based system allows anyone “to pull themselves up by their bootstraps” to land a slot in a selective public magnet school or an elite college. But does the current system achieve equality? Are there potentially better—or at least fairer—ways to allocate educational opportunity?

This 6-episode podcast series aims to explore those questions through in-depth reporting and compelling audio storytelling. Each episode will tell the story of popular myths and assumptions of education, and along the way we’ll look at experiments in distributing educational opportunity. The goal is to introduce listeners to the complexities of the issues through rich characters struggling to balance their own needs and dreams with those of the broader community.


An episode of the series was co-published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, and that let me work with award-winning Chronicle reporter Eric Hoover.

I was interviewed by award-winning author and influencer Jeff Selingo about what we learned from the Bootstraps series.

I spun off a piece based on the reporting from the Bootstraps series for The Hustle.

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