We speak with Dr. Joanne Golann of Vanderbilt University, author of “Scripting the Moves: Culture and Control in a No Excuses Charter School.” Corporate-run charter networks instill obedience and conformity above all else, leaving nothing to chance (or creativity). We look at the academic and social outcomes of “no excuses” schools, and the reasons for their lavish funding. 


00:00-00:51 Intros

00:51-03:35 “No excuses” charter schools: what they are; what they do well; what they do poorly or not at all

03:35-05:35 Scripts for students and teachers and why these schools rely on them

05:35-07:05 Impact of scripts on students

07:05- 09:34 Teachers’ reactions; turnover rates

09:34-12:34 How students do after graduation

12:34-14:04 Selection process and its effects

14:04-15:23 Student attrition rates

15:23-17:43 “No excuses” results in schools without selection processes

17:43-18:48 Seen as a niche or solution to the system as a whole?

18:48-20:38 Impact of district public schools in their area

20:38-21:42 Types of citizenship skills that are developed and not developed

21:42-22:54 Individual-focused approach to equity

22:54-24:17 Parents’ roles

24:17-25:57 Relationships with communities

25:57-27:32 Difficulties in attempts to change “no excuses” culture in aftermath of George Floyd’s murder

27:32-30:15 Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 


Soundtrack by Poddington Bear