Why it’s so hard to escape the story of ‘grit’ in education

It is still popular to reward students who demonstrate ‘grit’, who overcome difficult opportunities to become successful. It’s part of a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” ethos embedded in American mythology.

But that narrative could thwart education equality efforts, placing the responsibility on students’ shoulders to perform regardless of the systemic hurdles that stand in their way.

A new book by Alissa Quart, titled “Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream,” explores why stories of self-reliance — even in children’s literature like “Little House on the Prairie” — are so hard to break. And she proposes more community-oriented alternatives that could improve education equity.

This week’s episode is a bonus episode of our Bootstraps podcast series that focused more broadly on stocks. We’re taking a step back to review the main themes of the series’ first season and see what’s changed since reporting some of the controversies we’ve been diving into.

The biggest development has happened in recent months, with the debate over a controversial change to the admissions system at the nation’s top-ranked public high school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, or TJ, just outside Washington, D.C. since that time. episode about TJ ran last year, a lawsuit over the new admissions system has gone all the way to the Supreme Court — and we’ll let you know what action the court took.

Listen to the EdSurge Podcast episode on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts, or use the player on this page.

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