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Act 1: How to Win Friends and Influence White People

Back in the late 1960s, a wealthy tobacco heiress saw that integration was happening all around the country—except at prep schools in the South. So she set out to find the best black students in neighborhood public schools—in hopes of teaching the white prep-school students to be less bigoted. Mosi Secret tells the story of how the first two black students to integrate Virginia Episcopal Academy succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations.


Ira speaks with New York Times Magazine Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones about her years reporting on education and the various kinds of school reforms administrators have tried to close the achievementgap that never seem to work. Nikole says there's one reform that people have pretty much given upon, despite a lot of evidence that it works – school integration.

Act 1: Act One

Chana Joffe-Walt tells what happened when of a group of public school students in the Bronx went to visit an elite private school three miles away.

Act 3: The Talking Cure

We spend a semester in a public school in New York City called Lyons Community School. Lyons is trying to avoid suspensions, detentions and basically all other forms of traditional punishment.


When it comes to disciplining young people, teachers are winging it. We ask middle school teachers all over the country to walk us through how they get a kid to take his hat off.


Before the war in the East Ramapo, New York school district, there was a truce. Local school officials made a deal with their Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbors: we'll leave you alone to teach your children in private yeshivas as you see fit as long as you allow our public school budget to pass.

Act 2: Unsafety Exit

Chana Joffe-Walt tells the story of a teenager named Michael. Like a lot of teenagers Michael decides to follow his dreams — and that to follow his dreams, he’s going to need to make a total change.


Ira talks to 15 year old Jada who, when she was in third grade, moved from Akron Public Schools in Ohio, to the nearby Copley-Fairlawn schools in the suburbs. After two years, Jada was kicked out by administrators who discovered that her mother was using Jada's grandfather's address in Copley, instead of her own in Akron.


Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer talks about the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man into his dream school.

Act 2: My Ames is True

Writer Michael Lewis tells the story of a man named Emir Kamenica, whose path to college started with fleeing the war in Bosnia and becoming a refugee in the United States. Then he had a stroke of luck: a student teacher read an essay he’d plagiarized from a book he’d stolen from a library back in Bosnia, and was so impressed that she got him out of a bad high school and into a much better one.

Act 3: Act Three

Michael Lewis’ story continues, and he figures out why Emir Kamenica insists on remembering, and telling, the story of his life the way he does — even when he finds out that some of the facts may be wrong.

Act 5: Act Five

Science teacher Jason Pittman, who teaches pre-school through sixth grade at a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, won a big teaching award this week. In fact, during his ten years teaching, he’s won many, many awards.

Act 1: Act One

Chana Joffe-Walt spent six months reporting on the rise in people on disability. She spends time in Hale County, Alabama, talking to the only general practitioner in town, the main person who okays so many of the county's residents for disability.


Principal Leonetta Sanders is worried that in the wake of a recent shooting, some of her students at Harper might be in danger of retaliatory violence. The threat is so real, she's considering canceling the school's Homecoming football game and dance.