August 20, 2004

Best Interests

Stories about adults struggling to figure out what is in the best interest of some child. And in situations where, what is best is not so clear.


Colin Dunn had an A average as an eighth grader, and he was in a program for gifted kids. But he hated school. The spring before he graduated, he figured out that if he simply stopped going to school for the rest of the year, he'd still graduate with a B average. So that's what he did. Host Ira Glass talks to Colin and his dad, Corey, who had to deal with Colin's rebellion. (7 minutes)

Act One

I'd Rather Not

The story of Colin's truancy continues. The whole thing was especially awkward for his dad, because he's a behavior specialist for 100 public schools in Oregon—including Colin's school. Corey wanted his son to go back, but he also knew how awful school can be for some kids. (6 minutes)

Act Two

Exodus Of One

When she was three years old, Georgia was caught by immigration officials when a Milwaukee woman tried to bring her into the country illegally from Jamaica. She ended up at a residential detention center in Chicago. Alex Kotlowitz met her there, four years ago. At that time she was adored by some of the teenagers living at the center, and also by the staff—especially Hugo Ruiz, the center's director. Then, after living in Chicago for six months, she was sent back to her mother in Jamaica—to the same woman who gave her up. Years later, Hugo couldn't stop wondering whether it was the right thing to do. So he decided to go to Jamaica with Hugo to find Georgia. Alex Kotlowitz's most recent book is Never a City So Real. (43 minutes)