“Nice White Parents” is a new podcast from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company, about the 60-year relationship between white parents and the public school down the block.
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.
This is Sarah Koenig writing, host of the podcast “Serial.” Recently, Serial Productions became part of The New York Times Company. That’s the first piece of exciting news. The second: At the same time, we launched our latest show, “Nice White Parents.”
It’s reported by Chana Joffe-Walt, who’s made some of the most thought-provoking, most emotional radio stories I’ve ever heard. Back in 2015, Chana wanted to find out what would happen inside this one public school in her neighborhood — which historically hadn’t had many white students — during a sudden influx of white families. Then, not satisfied that she fully understood what she was seeing, she went all the way back to the founding of the school in the 1960s, and then forward again, up to the present day. Eventually, Chana realized she could put a name to the unspoken force that kept getting in the way of making the school better: white parents.
I’ve been waiting a long time to tell people about how great this show is — about how much it taught me, how much it challenged me. Now I can finally say it: Go listen to “Nice White Parents”!