Why do we have public schools? What do we want from them, and why do we seem to be losing faith in them?
Once an innovative idea and a source of national pride, American public education has since become a deeply polarized topic. Using his personal story as an immigrant attending America’s public schools, along with extensive historical research, historian Johann Neem explores the original purposes of public education in forging a nation.
As Washington, like all states, debates pressing matters of education, including charter schools, private school choice, and funding concerns, Neem asks us to step back, take stock, and understand public schools’ past so we can improve their future.
Johann Neem is a professor of history at Western Washington University. His written works include Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, and pieces published in the Washington Post, USA Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Seattle Times, and Inside Higher Education. Neem has also been interviewed on education for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and in a feature for PBS Newshour.
Neem lives in Bellingham.
- March 19, 2020
- Richland Public Library
955 Northgate Richland, WA 99352 United States
- Johann Neem
- Columbia Basin College
About Speakers Bureau Events
Speakers Bureau talks are free public presentations on history, politics, music, philosophy, and everything in between. Humanities Washington’s roster of presenters are professors, artists, activists, historians, performers, journalists, and others—all chosen not only for their expertise, but their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. All talks are free and open to the public, and each lasts about an hour. They are hosted through a wide range of organizations throughout Washington State.