Few parenting decisions are as fraught or as personal as where to send your child to school. But what Courtney Martin realized as her eldest daughter prepared to head to kindergarten, was that their family’s educational choice was also a political one. Courtney saw her peers, white urban women who touted “Resistance” bumper stickers and belabor the state of America’s criminal justice system, shudder at the thought of sending their own children to the local “failing” public schools. The choice seemed to be largely divorced from the political realities around them, from the rapid gentrification of Oakland to teachers threatening to strike, parents were instead focused solely on securing the best opportunity for their children-and who could blame them?

Based on extensive research and her own experience as a public-school parent, Learning in Public is the culmination of Martin’s exploration into the state of our broken education system. From raffle tickets fundraisers to the unavoidable and stark cultural difference in the drop off line alone, Courtney deftly unpacks the cultural baggage that informs each family’s decision for their children, which at its core, is a deeply spiritual question that begs parents to ask and understand what they value and envision for their child’s future.

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