Education/Journalist Barbara Miner, previous editor of Rethinking Schools and author of the investigative article Looking Past the Spin: Teach for America, will be at Elliott Bay Books this Friday to talk about her most recent book Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City.

From Publishers Weekly:

“Informed by the various perspectives provided by her multiple roles (an informed journalist who attended public schools and whose children attended public schools), Miner traces the predominantly downward path of a city that was the setting for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. How, she asks, did Milwaukee become a national symbol of joblessness, decline, and racial disparity? Attentive to the broader racial issues in housing and employment, Miner’s primary focus is upon the tribulations of public education; she delineates the city’s trajectory from segregated but prosperous city in the 1950s and 1960s, through the desegregation efforts and backlash of the 1970s and 1980s, and into a resegregation coupled with inner-city abandonment during the 1990s and 2000s. Enriched and enlivened by her deep relationship with the city, this is very much a book about Milwaukee, but the journalist in Miner locates her historical account within the wider context of national events. While political controversies are presented in detail that borders on the parochial, the cumulative impact confirms Miner’s assertion that ‘ll politics is local, but with national repercussions.’ Intensively, extensively, and specifically about the politics of public education in one American city, the issues Miner raises are of great importance to all those concerned with how our society educates its children.”

From Powell’s Books:

Lessons from the Heartland—a beautifully written piece of narrative nonfiction—tells of the fall from grace of an iconic city in Americas heartland, Milwaukee, and the chance for redemption in the twenty-first century. Beginning in the 1950s and focusing on public education, Miner brings a journalists eye and a parents heart to weave together story-telling and hard-hitting analysis. She explores the connections between jobs, housing and schools—and the far-reaching, pernicious effects of the citys hypersegregation. She makes clear the intrinsic link between the future of public education and the dreams and hopes of democracy in a multicultural society.

As Miner underscores, the beauty of history is that it never stands still. In the early months of 2011, Wisconsin became ground zero in the fight to save Americas middle class and its public institutions, in particular public education. Across America, progressives embraced the slogan, “We Are Wisconsin.”

All politics are local, but with unending repercussions the Milwaukee story is the Wisconsin story, which is the nation’s story. This book tells that story.

Barbara Miner will be at Elliott bay Books on Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 PM.

Dora Taylor