What Do Parents REALLY Want?

Episode 2-4: What do Parents REALLY Want? 

Show Notes 



Today we don’t talk enough about John Dewey’s call to educational equity and its impact on democracy.  Instead, small groups of parents (most notably Moms for Liberty) are prompting battles in local school boards to ban books, to fight racially inclusive curriculum, and to limit the rights and constrain the very existence of transgender and questioning youth.  


But some other parents – the majority it seems -- are fighting back to say clearly that these are not concerns they care about.   What DO they care about?  If this episode’s guests are taken seriously, families care about their children’s happiness, curiosity, safety, diversity, relationships – and recess!!  It’s not that they don’t want academic learning for their youngsters, but they seem to understand … as most educators do, that happiness, curiosity, etc. will ensure the right academic achievement to power both economic capacity and living well. 




00:00  Introduction to the Second Season Dr. Barbara Stengel 


What do we mean when we invoke parents rights?  Stengel 


Grandmas for Love challenge Moms for Liberty Stengel; Dr. Shirley Showalter, former President of Goshen College 


Do other parents agree with Grandmas for Love?  It seems so!   Stengel 

12:15   The special view of parents in rural areas  Amanda West, expectant mother and Bailey resident; Stengel 

18:04   Supporting the Bailey grad who now has adult responsibilities Ithaca Black, Bailey parent and mother of Maia; Stengel 

22:40   Committing to the “neediest” neighborhood school Christiane Buggs, President of the MNPS School Board and mother of Christopher;  Stengel 


What to do about school when your kids need very different things? Liz Self, educator and mother of Oliver, Emme, and Zola; Stengel 


How a child with multiple disabilities shapes everybody’s experience  Becky Peterson, educator and mother of Finn, Hawk, and Lucy;  Stengel 


Use the PTA as an entrée to care for your kids   Jess Houde, educator and mother of three enrolled in the same district;  Stengel 


What do dads want?  Stu Smith, father of Stuie and Alana and Johnny Benson, father of Bailey and Jojo; Stengel 

1:01.58  What parents want … no surprise  Stengel 

1:03:00  The link between love and success/achievement  Showalter, Stengel 

1:04:40  Taking an alternate look at the whys and wherefores of  parental choice  

1:06:15  Join us next time to dive into “the science of reading.” 






Many thanks to the guests who agreed to inform our thinking for this episode!   These include Shirley Showalter, Amanda West, Ithaca Black, Christiane Buggs, Liz Self, Becky Peterson, Johnny Benson, and Stu Smith. 


As usual, there are references to a variety of social, educational and historical news and commentary. You can pursue our sources and find out more about these issues at our website:   


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 (especially with distribution and social media) by Ruby Mundok.   The executive producer is Dr. Lowery Woodall, Millersville University of Pennsylvania. 


Our theme for Season 2 is Folk Music 2 by Caffeine Creek Band.  In addition, we have incorporated the following musical tracks:   

.  You can find these tunes on Pixabay.com. 


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


If you appreciate what you hear, please subscribe to Chasing Bailey, leave us a review, share with your friends by word of mouth, and post on social media.   Follow us on 










More information will be available at www.chasingbaileypod.com/home. We look forward to your comments and questions at Chasingbaileypod@gmail.com.