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The Radical Bureaucrat

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Bureaucracy is that strangely modern form of government where lots of folks at their desk (french “bureau”) follow rules that they might not necessarily understand, and thus reinforce a system that they typically don’t like. Bureaucrats rule without really having much power–or without realizing how much power they have… A few of these bureaucrats, however, work to change their institutions so that they are more human, more perfect, and more just. This is a podcast devoted to exploring their methods, understanding their values, and telling their stories.

Bureaucracy is that strangely modern form of government where lots of folks at their desk (french “bureau”) follow rules that they might not necessarily understand, and thus reinforce a system that they typically don’t like. Bureaucrats rule without really having much power–or without realizing how much power they have… A few of these bureaucrats, however, work to change their institutions so that they are more human, more perfect, and more just. This is a podcast devoted to exploring their methods, understanding their values, and telling their stories.
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Location:

United States

Description:

Bureaucracy is that strangely modern form of government where lots of folks at their desk (french “bureau”) follow rules that they might not necessarily understand, and thus reinforce a system that they typically don’t like. Bureaucrats rule without really having much power–or without realizing how much power they have… A few of these bureaucrats, however, work to change their institutions so that they are more human, more perfect, and more just. This is a podcast devoted to exploring their methods, understanding their values, and telling their stories.

Twitter:

@radbureau

Language:

English


Episodes

S1-E8: "Brazil," the Movie (Season Finale)

3/3/2019
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For the last episode of the season, Sam and Abram invited some friends to watch and discuss Brazil, a surreal film that takes on themes of bureaucracy and alienation. Sam and Abram are joined by Patrick G. Williamson, who works for the NYC Department of Education and produces the podcast 3 Educated Brothas, and Toni Smith-Thompson, who is an organizer for the New York Civil Liberties Union. In Brazil, protagonist Sam Lowry works for a massive bureaucracy called Central Services, but...

Duration:00:44:40

S1-E7: If You Want to Go Far, Go Together (Paul Forbes)

2/4/2019
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In this episode, Sam and Abram chat with Paul Forbes while he drives one of his Expanded Success Initiative students to college. The Expanded Success Initiative, which Paul runs, is a New York City Department of Education program that works with Black and Latino boys in high schools to make sure they graduate ready for college and career. Paul’s approach has a strong emphasis on community- and relationship-building. Process vs. policy is a major theme in this conversation as Paul shares how...

Duration:00:50:56

S1-BONUS: MLK Day 2019

1/21/2019
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A special tribute to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior.

Duration:00:19:33

S1-E6: All About Love (bell hooks)

1/13/2019
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"The Radical Bureaucrat: Love" When a co-worker cried after a tense phone conversation, Sam started thinking about accountability and human relationships within bureaucracy. Inspired by this incident and by the closeness they’ve built while working on The Radical Bureaucrat, Abram and Sam spend this episode exploring the intersection of love with the bureaucratic workplace. Join a conversation framed around bell hooks’ All About Love in which the guys unpack what love is (and isn’t), what a...

Duration:01:13:17

S1-E5: Cutting School, Listening to Communities (Noliwe Rooks)

12/16/2018
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The Radical Bureaucrat: Noliwe Rooks At the beginning of her most recent book, Dr. Noliwe Rooks shares a conversation she had over and over with her white, affluent students at Princeton. They called education “the civil rights issue of our time,” and seemed eager and committed to eradicating educational inequity. Rooks quickly noticed that for all their enthusiasm, few of her students had actually visited the underserved schools and neighborhoods they wanted to help or talked to the...

Duration:00:59:45

S1-E4: Radical Change, the Harvard Way

12/9/2018
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“Is there any way to rock the boat without falling out of it?,” is the central question of Debra Meyerson’s article “Radical Change, the Quiet Way,” which Sam and Abram spend this episode discussing. Meyerson’s article resonates because it addresses those “tempered radicals” who work to steer institutions toward justice from the middle – meaning without positional power. It’s a topic that forces us to contend with the racist and otherwise oppressive foundations upon which these public...

Duration:00:50:19

S1-E3: Dream Boldly, Prioritize the Mission (Vinny Schiraldi)

12/2/2018
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In today’s episode, Sam and Abram chat with Vinny Schiraldi, who oversaw radical changes running Juvenile Corrective Services in Washington, DC. Listen to Vinny explain how, guided by his approach of “acting incrementally while dreaming boldly,” he vastly cut down on institutionalization, abuse, and corruption. The story includes a steady stream of trauma and a lot of patient collaboration. Topics of conversation include the advocates and bureaucrats with whom Vinny painstakingly reformed...

Duration:00:46:25

S1-E2: Reformer, Revolutionary, or Something Else?

11/25/2018
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What can a viral video of a teacher ripping up an elementary schooler’s book tell us about government regulation and management? In this inaugural recording, Sam and Abram try to unpack some of the arguments and assumptions in Elizabeth Green’s January 2018 article in The Atlantic: “The Charter School Crusader” about Eva Moskowitz and the school system she founded and now leads: Success Academy Charter Schools. First, we explore the context of the education reform movement in NYC and...

Duration:00:44:56

S1-E1: What are we Talking About Here

11/17/2018
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Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, described a scenario in which a person rescues a baby drowning in a river--then another one, then another. How many babies would you have to rescue before walking upstream to address the root cause? How do you continue rescuing babies downstream while you walk upstream? Fleshing out this and other metaphors, Sam and Abram lay out key concepts and themes they’ll explore in this first reason of The Radical Bureaucrat. Through discussion of...

Duration:00:32:04

The Radical Bureaucrat Trailer

11/9/2018
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The Radical Bureaucrat trailer, where we briefly preview the coming season.

Duration:00:03:02