Bonus Back-to-School Commentary:  

Let Teachers Teach!

September 16, 2023

Chasing Bailey

Bonus Back-to-School Commentary:  Let Teachers Teach!


In this bonus back-to-school episode of Chasing Bailey, we listen as our commentator, Dr. Barbara Stengel, reads “An experienced educator’s plea: Let teachers teach!”  This is a short essay Barb was asked to write for the Lancaster Newpapers Sunday edition as school was beginning in August.   The theme of the piece evokes several Chasing Bailey themes (as will be obvious to regular listeners).


00:00  Introduction:  How this Essay Came to Be  Barbara Stengel

 2:00    The text read by Dr. Stengel

11:30   Concluding remarks and invitation to join Season 2 of Chasing Bailey



The newspaper commentary shared here was published on August 20, 2023 can be found at

The first season of Chasing Bailey is a podcast about a group of teachers, leaders, and others who dedicated themselves to changing the fortunes of a failing middle school in Nashville TN from 2012 to 2016.

They succeeded, but their achievement was bittersweet.

In 2016, the district closed that school.

Still, those who were there knew they had stumbled onto something special, some important educational truths that might help all of us find our way out of the morass that COVID 19 has left us in.

Chasing Bailey’s second season explores those “important education truths” as we think through some of the challenges that all teachers, leaders, and students face.  We consult some of your favorite Chasing Bailey characters, but we also talk with educators in other schools around the country.  As always, our focus will be on the experience of educating and being educated.

Our Host is Barb Stengel, an emerita professor of educational practice at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and also emerita professor at Millersville University. She is an educator, a self-described fan of the Bailey experiment, and an advocate for public schooling but a strong critic of how public schooling has strayed from educational intentions.

Between 2012 and 2016, Barb spent one day a week at Bailey, coordinating the school’s collaboration with Peabody, and serving as an informal cheerleader while also learning from this remarkable effort. She knew early on it was a story worth telling. So she spent a year interviewing dozens of staff, students, parents, and district administrators who were eager to talk about their experiences.

Barb is now retired from Vanderbilt University but she continues to find ways to highlight the work of educators and to criticize (constructively) the figures and forces that get in educators’ way.



Chasing Bailey is hosted and narrated by Dr. Barbara Stengel, Vanderbilt University.


This episode was edited and co-produced by Samuel Deacon and Brenna Fallon with support by Ruby Mundok.   The executive producer is Dr. Lowery Woodall, Millersville University of Pennsylvania.


We have incorporated the following musical tracks:  Rhythm and Blues Shuffle by JuliusH,  

Baritone Guitar Blues by Caffeine Creek Band, Blues Garage – Northern Hills by AntipodeanWriter, and Walking with Billie by Michael Korbin.  You can find these tunes on


New episodes will drop on the first day of the month.  You can find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, and Stitcher, and nearlyl anywhere else you find your podcasts.


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