The Weekly Wonk






June 2014
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Promoting diversity in education was one the biggest and most widely practiced ideas of the 20th century. But as Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P.S. Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at Harvard, argued in last week’s edition of The Weekly Wonk, diversity isn’t getting us where we need to go to help students who are truly disadvantaged. She has another big idea to make higher education a real pathway to social mobility: directing resources to students who are the first in their families to attend college. In this episode, Slaughter and Brown-Nagin outline the stakes for how reaching out to first-generation students can make college, in the words of Horace Mann, a “great equalizer.”

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_A_New_Kind_of_Campus_Diversity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Conventional wisdom and media narratives suggest that visible populist movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street emerged in response to the financial crisis of 2008. New America Fellow Yascha Mounk disagrees. In a recent article for Foreign Affairs (“Pitchfork Politics”), he argues that this surge in populism is part of a more complex trend, dating back to the 1990s and a steadily growing disenchantment with government. On this episode, Mounk and Slaughter discuss the impact of reading this rise in populism as part of a longer-term story and explore ways—in Mounk’s words—to “channel populist passions for good.”

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Why_Populism_Isnt_Going_Away.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 5:12pm EDT

Why do veterans miss war? That's the question that has animated the latest work of Sebastian Junger, the best-selling author and filmmaker whose recent film, Korengal, picks up where his Academy Award-nominated war documentary Restrepo left off. The answer, he says, could have broad social implications. On this episode, Junger and Slaughter discuss those implications, and explore how both evolution and gender shape the experience of war – and peace - for men and women.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Different_Kind_War_Story.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

Why are some Americans choosing to fight malaria in Malawi over meth in Minnesota? In other words: why do we tend to romanticize development work abroad while neglecting problems down the street? On this episode,  Anand Giridharadas, New York Times columnist and author most recently of The True American, tells us how this disconnect illuminates a fundamental misunderstanding of the biggest problems that plague our society.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Our_Exotic_Poverty_Problem.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

Most of us can easily remember our favorite teachers. Yet as a whole, American society devalues the profession – eroding the enthusiasm of educators with debates over teacher pay, tenure and testing. That dynamic is nothing new, says Dana Goldstein, a former New America Fellow and the author of the new book, “The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession.” On this episode, Goldstein explains that if we want a peaceful future, we must learn from the education wars of the past.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Our_War_with_Teachers.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 1:18pm EDT

No, you're not imagining things: news media today is dominated by white male voices. Lauren Bohn wants to change that. The co-founder of the startup Foreign Policy Interrupted explains what we lose when we don't hear the perspectives of women and minorities on the news – and how she's planning to disrupt the same old talking points and talking heads.

Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:04am EDT

Are you really as connected as you think you are? New America Fellow Eric Tyler tells us that you might not be -- that's right, even with your hundreds of Facebook contacts. But don't fret. Tyler's big idea? An online accelerator to help you remedy those critical pain points in your contacts and make your network go global.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_How_Good_Is_Your_Networking_Game.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

Quit worrying about China's ascendance. On one important measure, Chinese-American Eric Liu tells us, the U.S. still has the power to keep a competitive edge: Find out what that is, and  what we can learn about America's future from the Liu family immigration story. He's the author of the recently published,  "A Chinaman's Chance" and a 1999 New America Fellow.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Americas_Identity_Advantage.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

Can we break the glass ceiling with dollars bills? On this episode, former Bank of America and Citigroup executive Sallie Krawcheck explains how she hopes a new index fund – offered by her organization, Ellevate – comprised of those businesses that have women in leadership positions might help propel more women into c-suites and corporate boards.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_Betting_on_Women_Leaders.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 12:16pm EDT


To be single and 27+ in China is to be declared "leftover." On this episode, Leta Hong-Fincher, the author of "Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China," discusses a destructive new government campaign that's stripping Chinese women of their ambition – and choking the economy.

Direct download: The_Weekly_Wonk_All_the_Leftover_Ladies.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 2:50pm EDT