Past Event

Fighting for the Soul of Public Education: A Conversation with Author Barbara Miner

Join us for the launch of Barbara Miner’s new book, Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City, which chronicles the last 50 years of public schooling in Milwaukee. Lessons from the Heartland explores the pernicious effects of the city’s hypersegregation and joblessness on public schooling. With a sweeping portrait of the city’s educational “reforms” Miner explores the intricate connections between race, housing, jobs, and education. 

Illuminating the local nuances of public schooling, members of the Chicago community will punctuate the conversation with Miner, offering insight into the possibilities and promise of our city’s beleaguered public school system. What do these two midwestern cities, fraught with similar challenges of segregation and unemployment suggest for the future of the American public education and democracy? What can the arts community, public health, business and other stakeholders bring to bear on the future of urban public education?

Following a reading from her book, Barbara Miner will be in conversation with David Stovall, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Also, Laura Ramirez (community activist) and Xian Barrett (CPS teacher) will participate as community respondents.

Photographs exhibited by Sarah Jane Rhee.

Barbara Miner is an award-winning journalist and photographer. With more than 30 years’ experience, she is a former reporter at United Press International and the Milwaukee Journal, and former managing editor at Rethinking Schools. She has written for media ranging from The New York Times to the Nation. She is the author of newly published book “Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-Century of Public Education in an Iconic American City” (New Press: January, 2013). 

Lessons from the Heartland has also been awarded the “Studs and Ida Terkel Award,” presented annually by New Press to the book which best honors Studs Terkel’s legacy.

Book signing and sales after program.

Free and open to the public. Reserve your spot here. For more information please call 312.422.5580.

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit