Roosevelt House is pleased to present a discussion of the new book The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America by Cara Fitzpatrick. In this urgent historical analysis, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist sounds the alarm on what she sees as a revolution in public education—one that threatens the existence of the traditional public school as we know it. The author will be in conversation with Hunter College Professor of Public Policy Joseph P. Viteritti.

Compellingly written and cogently argued, The Death of Public School seeks to shed light on the political figures and alliances behind the evolution of school choice—from a segregationist tool in the South in the 1950s, to a policy embraced by advocates for educational equity in the North, to a strategy for securing government funds for private schools in the present day. As a result, Fitzpatrick writes, education is poised to become a private commodity rather than a universal good. To understand how we got here, Fitzpatrick urges, we must look back at the turbulent history of school choice.

The Death of Public School tells the story of one of the fiercest battles in the history of American education—one, says Fitzpatrick, that has already changed the future of public schooling.

Cara Fitzpatrick is an editor at Chalkbeat. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting in 2016 for a series about school segregation. She was a New Arizona fellow in 2019 at New America and a Spencer fellow at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2018. The Death of Public School is her first book.

Joseph P. Viteritti is the Thomas Hunter Professor of Public Policy at Hunter. He has published a dozen books. He gave expert testimony in the U.S. Supreme Court case that approved Cleveland’s school choice program in 2002 and was cited by the court in a more recent case (2022). He has served as a senior advisor to school superintendents in New York (Chancellor), Boston and San Francisco.   

Cara Fitzpatrick — The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America | Posted on January 18th, 2024 | Book Discussions, Public Programs