Winner 2015

The Case for School Desegregation Today

This American Life

This American Life tapped reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, now at the New York Times, to help tell three radio stories that make an important point: School desegregation, however unpopular politically, can significantly cut the gap in achievement between white students and children of color. but as each of the three episodes details the pain and struggle such efforts bring, listeners learn why communities often avoid the practice. one report reveals how an unintended legal loophole enabled black students from a school district in Ferguson, Missouri, to transfer to white schools, with improved test scores the result. the second report considers what happened when a school system in Hartford, Connecticut, intentionally desegregated. the last, which illustrates the consequences of unequal, segregated schools, details the surprising result when poor kids from the Bronx visited a wealthy private school nearby. All three stories highlight the fault lines of race and class in america, explaining why they can be so difficult to cross. For providing insightful, personal details into a policy typically discussed in the abstract when it’s discussed at all, a Peabody Award goes to The Case for School Desegregation Today.


Executive Producer: Ira Glass. Producers: Chana Joffe-Walt, Nancy Updike. Writers: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Chana Joffe-Walt. Reporters: Nikole Hannah-Jones,Chana Joffe-Walt. Editors: Ira Glass, Nancy Updike, Paul Tough, Joel Lovell, Neil Drumming, Julie Snyder.