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How did school boards become political flashpoints?

The Newtown Board of Education members sit on stage at a special session meeting with hands raised in a vote connected to a book ban resolution.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
The Newtown Board of Education met in a special session to vote on the potential banning of two books from school libraries, "Flamer" by Mike Curato and "Blankets" by Craig Thompson. After a great deal of student and community testimony members voted unanimously for a resolution to allow the books to remain provided school administrators created a process for addressing individual parent concerns.

Book bans. Mask requirements. What’s in our history books.

These are just some of the issues that have divided school boards since the early days of the pandemic.

School boards haven’t always been political battlegrounds. But these days, things are getting pretty heated.

The non-profit news organization, ProPublica, found nearly 60 incidentsat school board meetings that led to arrests or criminal charges, since spring 2021.

This hour, we’re going big on the politics — and power — of school boards in Connecticut and across the country.


  • Jonathan Collins: Assistant Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Education, Brown University
  • Nicole Carr: Reporter, ProPublica
  • Adam Harris: Staff Writer, The Atlantic; Author, The State Must Provide: Why America's Colleges Have Always Been Unequal — And How To Set Them Right
  • Jessika Harkay: Education Reporter, CT Mirror

The Wheelhouse is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Frankie Graziano’s career in broadcast journalism continues to evolve.
Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public. She previously worked for The Takeaway from WNYC, in collaboration with GBH and PRX, and Mobituaries with Mo Rocca. She's also reported and edited for the Columbia Journalism Review, PBS NewsHour, Slate, MediaShift, Hearst Connecticut newspapers, and more. Her audio work has appeared on ‎WNYC, WSHU, Marketplace, WBAI, and NPR. She earned her master's degree from Columbia Journalism School in 2017, where she specialized in audio storytelling and narrative writing, and has taught audio storytelling at Columbia Journalism School, UnionDocs, and public libraries.
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