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Nice White Parents

Author: Serial Productions & The New York Times

Subscribed: 34,061Played: 209,202


If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from the makers of Serial and The New York Times. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.
6 Episodes
If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: White parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.For more information about this show, visit
1: The Book of Statuses

1: The Book of Statuses


It’s 2015 and one Brooklyn middle school is about to receive a huge influx of new students.In this episode, Chana Joffe-Walt, a reporter, follows what happens when the School of International Studies’ 6th grade class swells from 30 mostly Latino, Black and Middle Eastern students, to 103 — an influx almost entirely driven by white families.Everyone wants “what’s best for the school” but it becomes clear that they don’t share the same vision of what “best” means.For more information about this show, visit
Chana Joffe-Walt searches the New York City Board of Education archives for more information about the School for International Studies, which was originally called I.S. 293.In the process, she finds a folder of letters written in 1963 by mostly white families in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. They are asking for the board to change the proposed construction of the school to a site where it would be more likely to be racially integrated.It’s less than a decade after Brown v. Board of Education, amid a growing civil rights movement, and the white parents writing letters are emphatic that they want an integrated school. They get their way and the school site changes — but after that, nothing else goes as planned.For more information about this show, visit
Chana Joffe-Walt explores how white parents can shape a school — even when they aren’t there.She traces the history of I.S. 293, now the Boerum Hill School for International Studies, from the 1980s through the modern education reforms of the 2000s. In the process, Chana talks to alumni who loved their school and never questioned why it was on the edge of a white neighborhood. To them, it was just where everyone went. But she also speaks to some who watched the school change over the years and questioned whether a local community school board was secretly plotting against 293.
Public schools are inequitable because the school systems are maniacally loyal to white families. We can’t have equitable public education unless schools limit the disproportionate power of white parents. But is that even possible? Chana finds two schools that are trying to do just that, and both are actually inside the 293 building. One is downstairs in the basement, where a charter school called Success Academy opened about 7 years ago. The other is upstairs at BHS, the newly renamed SIS.
This episode contains strong language.Chana has traced the history of the school from its founding and come to the present. But now: One unexpected last chapter. Last year, the school district for BHS mandated a change in the zoning process to ensure all of middle schools will be racially integrated. No longer can white families hoard resources in a few select schools. Black and Latino parents have been demanding this change since the late 1950s. The courts have mandated it. Chana asks: How did this happen? And is this a blueprint for real, systemic change?
Comments (161)


Clearly there are white people being offended by the prospect that racism exists. The podcast is not about hating white people. It is factual information about the systemic racism in America towards minority populations in schools. Informative, interesting and pertinent.

Jan 8th


Tune in to my new podcast, "Crappy black single parent".

Dec 15th

AJ Johnson


Dec 6th

Haimi Han

Great treasure for me TO learn English

Dec 3rd

AJ Johnson

Racist shyte

Nov 28th

Zachariah Jock

I'm sorry but white liberals forcing integration is what is destroy our children's futures. I went to a racially integrated school and the black we're soo awful to white students. They were disrespectful to teachers and we're violent and you racist to us whites. I refuse to worship at the alter of cultural diversity with these self destructive white liberals. Who are the kind of delusional that they call black Trump supporters white supremacists. LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. TRUMP 2020!!!

Nov 26th
Reply (17)

Joany Ken

wow! I would discribe this podcast as very interesting. It shows how hard it is to change a schoolsystem even with the best intentions.

Nov 20th

Alycia Houseman

I cannot believe that a principal said 'we gave her some canned goods and really she had too many kids anyways 🤷‍♀️'

Oct 21st


If you want to understand what’s wrong with inner cities, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: blacks.

Oct 3rd

Yaara gerchman

This episode touched many, many nerves- In the end, jeramiahs interview just broke my heart :/ no trust.

Sep 29th

Daniel Alcala

awesome podcast. first one I heard completely. made me open my eyes a little more now that my daughter going to school. lots of issues I wasn't aware about.

Sep 28th

ekeama goddard

Wonderfully well researched and presented series! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 I really appreciated the thoughtful way questions were posed and interrogated (be they from the interviewer or the interviewees). Moreover, the tracing of the school's history and how it serves as an example of different races' response to desegregation was eye-opening. Loved the series! Would love to see more like this!

Sep 23rd

Visen B

wow at the amount of comments they had to delete for this trash identity politics podcast.

Sep 20th

Daniel Farrugia

A thoughtful exploration of the forces shaping education in a school district, exploring the unintentional power that white privilege wields. Dealing with integration and equity, and what these mean to different people, the series ends on a note of hope for what appears to be a dire situation that perpetuates segregation. Well worth your time.

Sep 15th

Alex Mercedes

good job! great series. uncommon equanimity throughout. modelling White self-reflection without lapsing into either excessive guilt or excessive defensiveness. Wish I could get more of my progressive white friends to listen to this. it's a pod with a lot of potential benefit even for white people who don't have school age children.

Sep 10th

Data Solutions Experts

This podcast has people who are really funny talking about some really good restaurants. Definitely worth a listen.

Sep 6th

Joel Hamburg

if you only listened to just the first right didn't get the whole story. very interesting and thought provoking.

Sep 6th

Josh Er

wow, this sounds interesting.

Sep 2nd

Keith Sterback

This is so racist

Sep 2nd

Anna Clay

This is an excellent podcast. Thoughtful and thorough, including a variety of voices so as not to put words in anyone's mouth, it examines the ways in which white families wield influence without even realizing it, and the unintended harm we cause.

Aug 31st
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