• Show Notes
  • Transcript

In this special episode of Stay Tuned, “Educating America,” former New Jersey Attorney General and CAFE Insider co-host Anne Milgram interviews former U.S. Education Secretary, John King Jr., who served in the Obama administration. King now runs The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that seeks to close the education gap in America. They discuss school reopenings across the country, the impact of COVID-19 on low income and minority students, and why America needs bold education reform now.  

In the Stay Tuned bonus material from the episode, Anne and John talk about the interconnectedness of government agencies, reimagining societal reform, and their favorite moments from Zoom school. To listen, try the CAFE Insider membership free for two weeks and get access to the full archive of exclusive content, including the CAFE Insider podcast co-hosted by Preet and Anne Milgram. 

Sign up to receive the CAFE Brief, a weekly newsletter featuring analysis by Elie Honig, a weekly roundup of politically charged legal news, and historical lookbacks that help inform our current political challenges.

As always, tweet your questions to @PreetBharara with hashtag #askpreet or @AnneMilgram with the hashtag #AskAnne. Email us at [email protected], or call 669-247-7338 to leave a voicemail.

Stay Tuned with Preet is produced by CAFE Studios. 

Executive Producer: Tamara Sepper; Senior Editorial Producer: Adam Waller; Senior Audio Producer: David Tatasciore; Audio Producer: Matthew Billy; Editorial Producers: Noa Azulai, Sam Ozer-Staton. 

REFERENCES & SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

SCHOOL REOPENINGS

COVID & INEQUALITY

  • Niall McCarthy, “U.S. Billionaire Wealth Surged Since The Start Of The Pandemic,” Forbes, 6/22/2020
  • Maya King, “The pandemic could widen the achievement gap. A generation of students is at risk.” Politico, 9/23/20
  • Margee Louisias & Wanda Phipatanakul, “Managing Asthma in Low-Income, Underrepresented Minority, and Other Disadvantaged Pediatric Populations: Closing the Gap,” Curr Allergy Asthma Rep., 9/15/2017 
  • “Asthma disproportionately affects low-income populations,” UCLA, 12/16/2010

RACIAL INEQUALITY

  • “‘…and they cared’: How to Create Better, Safer Learning Environments for Girls of Color,” The Education Trust, 2020
  • “Research Confirms that Black Girls Feel the Sting of Adultification Bias Identified in Earlier Georgetown Law Study,” Georgetown Law, 5/15/2019
  • John Lewis, “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul Of Our Nation,” The New York Times, 7/30/2020
  • “Obama quotes Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” The Washington Post, 1/10/2017
  • Julia Craven, “Federal Court Reinstates “Pay-to-Vote” Scheme for Formerly Incarcerated People in Florida,” Slate, 9/11/2020
  • Lily Rothman, “Why Citing the Japanese Internment as a ‘Precedent’ for a Muslim Registry Is So Alarming,” TIME, 11/17/2016
  • “Two families — one black, one white — shared a harrowing history. Then they met.” The Washington Post, 10/23/2019

Anne Milgram:

Hey folks, Anne Milgram here. Today, I’m excited to bring you a special episode of Stay Tuned. I am joined by my friend and colleague at The Century Foundation, John King Jr. He served as Secretary of Education in the Obama administration. He’s currently the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that aims to close the education gap in America. As schools across the country reopen during the pandemic, I thought it was the perfect time to speak with John about the impact of COVID-19 on schools and the possibilities of reform in education.

Anne Milgram:

I’m so thrilled today to have Dr. John King with us as a guest. John is a remarkable person who I’ve gotten the privilege to get to know a little bit as we’re both board members on The Century Foundation. Good morning, John.

John King Jr.:

Good morning.

Anne Milgram:

Thanks so much for joining us. Before I met you, I don’t think you and I have ever talked about this, but someone described you as the person that had the most quiet strength of anyone that they had ever met. I have to say, I think it’s a very fair and accurate assessment of your amazing accomplishments and personality.

John King Jr.:

Oh, that’s so nice. Thanks for sharing that.

Anne Milgram:

Obviously there are so many questions that parents and everyone really has about education today. I think that the coronavirus, we’ll talk a lot about it, it’s just put into relief how critical education is, and it’s making us sort of confront questions that, in a lot of our lives, we just send our kids to school and we move on. I’m going to ask you a lot of questions about that, but I wanted to start by talking just a little bit about your background so folks get to know a little bit about you. You were born in Brooklyn in 1975. Can you tell us just a little bit about your parents growing up [crosstalk 00:01:54]?

John King Jr.:

Yeah. My parents were both on New York city public school educators. My father was African-American, was born just after the turn of the 20th century in a very segregated Brooklyn and saw a path to opportunity through education and became a teacher and principal and administrator. My mom was born in Ponce in Puerto Rico, came to New York as a kid, learned English in the New York City Public Schools. She grew up in the Bronx. She went to Hunter College to become a teacher like a classic Nuyorican story. She was a teacher and a school counselor. She was actually the school counselor in my elementary school, so I was a very well-behaved elementary school student.

Anne Milgram:

I bet. Yep.

John King Jr.:

Yeah, hey both gave their whole lives to New York City schools, but they both passed away when I was a kid. My mom had a heart attack when I was eight, October 4th grade, and then live with my dad. It was just the two of us. My dad was much older and had Alzheimer’s and it wasn’t diagnosed. I didn’t know why, but he just lost a lot of capacity over those few years. Between when I was eight, and he passed away when I was 12, home was really hard. My father had this huge mood swing. Sometimes he’d be angry, sometimes he’d be sad, sometimes he’d talk to me, sometimes he wouldn’t talk to me at all.

Anne Milgram:

At the time you must not have understood at all what was happening.

John King Jr.:

No, I didn’t. Yeah, I didn’t know how to make sense of it. I can recall one night he woke me up at 2:00 AM told me it was time to go to school. I remember being on a staircase in our house as my father was pulling me on the stairs. I’m holding onto the banister saying, “Daddy, it’s not time to go to school. It’s not a time to go to school.” I just didn’t understand, didn’t understand why he was doing that. That’s what home was like. As he got more and more sick, I ended up figuring out how to just take care of our household, how to get food in the house, how to just keep our household running. It was really difficult, but the thing that saved me was school.

Anne Milgram:

How so?

John King Jr.:

I had this one teacher, I’m still in touch with him, he was my teacher in fourth, fifth, sixth grade, he looped with us, which is very unusual, Allen Osterweil, and in his class, we read the New York Times every day. We did productions of Alice in Wonderland and Midsummer Night’s Dream. We went to the museum and the ballet. We learned the leader and capital of every country in the world. His classroom was just this place that was engaging and nurturing and safe. I could be a kid there when I couldn’t be a kid at home. I was fortunate, when I went on to Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island, I, again, had some amazing teachers who just created a safe space for me. Then my dad passed when I was 12 and I moved around with different family members, different schools, but it was always teachers who gave me a sense of hope and possibility.

John King Jr.:

It would have been easy for them to look at me and say, “Here’s a African-American and Latino male, family in crisis in the New York City public school. What happens for a lot of young people, it would have been easy for them to give up on me, but they didn’t. They believed in me. I’m sitting here today because of teachers and what they did for me.

Anne Milgram:

It’s an amazing thing that when you talk to people, and particularly people who’ve had really tough childhoods, they almost always tell a story about a teacher or more than one teacher who had an impact on their lives. To your point, it’s such a stabilizing and important part of our kids’ lives to basically have school and have that community.

John King Jr.:

Hugely. One of the things I worry about so much now during this COVID period is for some kids, where school is that safe haven, they’ve now been without that, in some cases for months since March. If you’re in a home where there has been economic trauma or where there is abuse or addiction, that’s so painful. To be isolated from those relationships with teachers is just devastating.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I think you’re right, that obviously families that are struggling more, probably it’s exponential. They probably feel the impacts of all this and schools so much more, but even amongst kids in families that … like our son goes to a fantastic public school in New York with other kids, and they’re all amazing, but they’re all struggling. They had an amazing remote program in the spring. Now, they just started this week back four days a week, but they were all desperate to see one another and to see their teachers. I think we can’t … what does that mean, I guess for … because I’m jumping into the school piece of it, but I should also make sure our listeners know that you went on to get a law degree from Yale in 2007. You have this incredible story. You got your doctorate in education in 2008, you became the New York state education commissioner in 2011. I was saying, you were 36 at the time, and you rightly corrected me to say you were actually 34, which is amazing.

John King Jr.:

Well, I should say, I was 34 when I became deputy commissioner, and 36 year when I became commissioner. Yeah.

Anne Milgram:

Okay. Then in 2016, you became president Obama’s education secretary. You’ve had this really fascinating experience in that … and I should’ve added, probably most importantly, you were a social studies teacher and you also, you were the principal of a middle school.

John King Jr.:

Yeah.

Anne Milgram:

What’s your favorite job?

John King Jr.:

Well, being secretary of education was the honor of a lifetime, but when I think about the impact you can have as a middle school principal, it’s just such a critical period in kids’ lives. I’m still in touch with a number of my students who were my middle school students, including one of whom was in the Massachusetts Legislature now representing our community where the school was. To be able to just see that that impact in their lives and to visit China Tyler in her office and then have her show me her desk on the floor of the Massachusetts State Legislature, that was pretty amazing. That was incredibly satisfying role, but of course, being secretary, it’s just such a privilege.

Anne Milgram:

And such a responsibility, right? To basically ake up every morning thinking about all the kids in the United States, and how do you do your best for them to have the opportunity that you had and that I had as … I grew up in a public school system, had this incredible opportunity. Coming back to COVID it feels to me like it’s just a patchwork right now. You and I both know there’s state school departments of education, you ran one, but there’s also local school districts. It feels to me like there’s been a lot of different decisions made all across the country. I guess the question I would ask you is, is there a right decision in this moment in time? How do you think about this key question of, obviously we want kids to be in school, but there’s this incredible pandemic that’s raging, and we want to be careful of safety. How do you think about balancing those, and thinking about how families should be working through this decision of remote or in-person how school districts should be doing it?

John King Jr.:

It’s first important to say that schools and families were put in an impossible situation because the federal government so profoundly mishandled the pandemic. The failure to put in place an adequate system of testing and contact tracing and quarantine and strong public health guidance around mass and so forth. We created this impossible situation for school leaders, where they’re trying to decide, do do we open school, even as infection rates are going up? I do think there’s been a lot of thoughtful work by public health experts to say, there are some questions when it needs. What is the direction of the infection rate? For how long has it been going down in a community? What’s the stable rate of infection that would allow you to think about opening school?

John King Jr.:

I think there’s a strong argument that communities that have prioritized schools, as opposed to bars and restaurants, are in a much better position because they’re able to avoid the spread through those places.

Anne Milgram:

Jus on that point, it feels to me like the world might look a lot different, if from day one, our federal leaders and everyone basically said that schools are critical infrastructure, meaning the same way we treat roads, or the fact that grocery stores need to be open because people need to get food to eat. We made a lot of decisions around what’s critical. It didn’t feel to me, in many ways, like we made that decision around education. It was almost an afterthought, maybe because people thought, well, hopefully, this will be gone in six months, kids will be fine. It’s only six months, but it feels to me now that we’re looking at over a year of serious disruption to our kids’ education, probably a year and a half, I think, if we’re honest about it.

Anne Milgram:

It does feel like these decisions, like we’ve been put in this very difficult position. What do we do now? Because I agree with you. I think we’ve come to this point where a lot of decisions were made that the hand that schools and parents are playing is just … there’s no good answer, and everyone has to, of course, decide individually, but is there a way to fix this?

John King Jr.:

Well, we we still need to do the sort of fundamental public health things as a society, to put schools in a position to open and to stay open. I do think there are things that schools can do. Certainly, this idea of limiting the number of students in the classroom, having everyone wear masks, having clear procedures for contact tracing if someone gets sick, having a strategy for how schools will manage transportation and meals in ways that minimize sort of crowds gathering together, I think all of that is right and necessary. We are seeing that it can be effective in places where the rate of infection is quite low. There are schools that are operating, and that is good, but I worry that in a lot, it depends on resources.

John King Jr.:

If you’re in a school district serving large numbers of low income students and you are under resourced, it is very challenging to create the necessary physical space, to adapt transportation, to do all the things necessary to operate safely, and that should be the guiding principle, right? Can you operate safely for kids, for families, and for, of course, teachers and staff?

Anne Milgram:

A lot of folks have raised the question of whether public schools can mandate testing of the kids and the teachers. Do you have any thoughts on that?

John King Jr.:

I think we do need to have testing requirements. Now, of course, people can opt to have their kids stay at home and continue the virtual learning, but we’re seeing certainly, on the higher ed side, that the institutions that put in place the most robust testing programs have been the institutions that have had the easiest time containing the spread of COVID and staying open. Whereas places that didn’t really have that testing regime, have struggled, they’ve had outbreaks, and then it becomes very hard to stay open.

Anne Milgram:

Do you think, John, the sort of worry I here, and just as a parent, and I know you’re a parent too, I mean, the thing we worry about the most for our son has been, he’s an only child, social, emotional Being around other kids, being in the sort of structure of the classroom, the routines and learning, just playing with one another. But let’s separate the academic piece out from that for a second. How worried should we be about the academic questions? Because school is obviously going to be different this year, even if it’s in person. If it’s remote, obviously, it seems very different. I guess it might be different for kids of different ages, but if we’re thinking about 12 months to 18 months of this, how much should parents be worried about the academic side of it?

John King Jr.:

I think there should be quite worried. McKinsey did a study analyzing the likely learning loss from this period, and their conclusion was that, on average, assuming we get the pandemic under control by the spring, on average, kids would have lost seven months of learning, nine months for Latino students, 10 months for African-American students. We should be very worried. We should be very worried that we have families that can’t get on the internet to access education. We know that in Los Angeles, for example, more than a quarter of kids were not regularly logging on in the spring. We know there are kids who are just getting nothing.

Anne Milgram:

The image that stays with me are the two young girls sitting outside a Taco Bell, picking up the wifi to be able to log in to school. It’s heartbreaking, but obviously they would go to that length to get school. It’s an amazing story in some inspiring way, but it’s also terrible that, in the United States of America, we have all these kids who can’t access. They don’t have the devices or the internet.

John King Jr.:

Yes. Again, this was eminently solvable. We knew in the spring that we were likely to be in this situation in the fall. Yet, here we are, we still have kids who don’t have devices, we still have kids who don’t have internet access. It’s a lack of political will. You think about, in the new deal, FDR saw that electricity was the key to participation in 20th Century Life. In the Tennessee Valley Authority, we had these huge investments to make sure people have access to electricity. Well, today, the internet is that. If you don’t have the internet, you can’t do K-12, you can’t do higher ed, you can’t get your benefits, you can’t look for a job. We should have had a massive national commitment to make sure every family had internet access, but we didn’t. Lack of leadership left us in this place.

John King Jr.:

I think it’s right to be really worried about this lost learning time. We have to ask, what is our plan for when students are able to be back? How are we going to intensively make up for those gaps?

Anne Milgram:

Do you have thoughts on how that might be possible?

John King Jr.:

Well, one of the proposals that I’m most hopeful about is, Senator Coons has a bipartisan proposal for doubling the AmeriCorps program. What I would hope would come from that is a national tutoring Corps. We have really good evidence that what’s called high dosage tutoring, intense small group tutoring can make a big difference academically. The UK actually is going to make a big investment in a National Tutor Corps. I think we need that kind of effort to try to make up for the ground kids have lost.

Anne Milgram:

And run it through public schools. You could run something like that through public schools, just have the AmeriCorps fellows come in and then just have these pods. Would that be after school, before school, during school?

John King Jr.:

You can do it in a variety of ways. There are organizations like City Year, or there’s a nonprofit called SAGA that does tutoring and mentoring both in school, and with City Year afterschool as well. You could also imagine a intensive summer program that might mix academics with arts and sports and other enrichment activities. But when kids have lost seven to 10 months of learning, you can’t solve that unless you create more learning time, and that’s going to require investment. But if we don’t make that investment, we risk a lost generation of students.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. How about the social emotional piece? I know you’ve spoken a lot about this, and it feels to me, I think a lot of families didn’t appreciate, you sort of take it for granted, I guess is the way I would say it, until all of a sudden, it’s gone and then you start to see, and our son plays great on his own, but it’s no substitute for developing emotional intelligence and being with other kids.

John King Jr.:

No question. Well, a couple of things. One is, I think it’s really important, even in the virtual or hybrid context, for schools to be paying a lot of attention to socio-emotional support. Access to counselors, access to mental health services, but also structuring the activities in a way that builds connection between kids. I see with my own daughters who are in ninth and 12th grade, their teachers this fall have been using breakout rooms in Zoom as a way to have kids work together collaboratively. I think that kind of thing matters a lot, that connection, or I think about schools that are virtual, but one of the things that elementary school kids love is the class meeting, where everyone just gets to check in and share how they’re doing and see their friends.

Anne Milgram:

And talk about the fact that they lost their tooth.

John King Jr.:

Yes.

Anne Milgram:

Our class meetings are always like, “I lost a tooth.”

John King Jr.:

Yes. That’s so important. You can see in the faces of kids how meaningful that time of connection is. Schools should be doing that now. Then we should be thinking again about a significant investment in socio-emotional supports, and not just for kids, but for parents too. We’ve done some polling at Trust trusts on parents’ experiences of this period. What we see is very, very high rates of parent stress, particularly amongst parents of color and low-income parents and parents of kids with disabilities, who are really, in many cases, struggling to try to do at home things that trained specialists are doing at school, and it’s really hard. We need that support for kids and families.

Anne Milgram:

I should just note, John, that since 2017, you’ve been the CEO of Education Trust, Ed Trust, which is a nonprofit that thinks about all of these issues for families and kids across America. One of the first meetings you and I were ever at together, we started a conversation that I think is one of the most important conversations that is taking place in our country now, which was around inequality. You and I, this is going back now probably three years, we were talking about how much increasing inequality we were seeing. I, of course, work in the criminal justice space, you in education, but it feels really similar that this gap is widening. You’ve been focused on this throughout your career, but it feels to me, even more urgent now, both because of the pandemic and because of the killing of George Floyd and the conversation we’re having nationally, tell us, how do you think about this sitting here today, obviously in a world that’s even more difficult than it was a few years ago when you and I first started talking about it?

John King Jr.:

Yeah. I’m deeply worried about the impact of economic inequality on our long-term prosperity, but more than that, on our democracy. I think it’s very unhealthy to have these incredible disparities that have been exacerbated by COVID, and think about … I think it was Forbes maybe, that did this analysis, that the sort of 650 or so richest people billionaires have made, I don’t know, $650 $700 billion since COVID began, even as some 40 million Americans are applying for unemployment. That makes no sense. It’s not a stable way to organize our ourselves. My hope is that going forward, our political leaders will then start to think about, what does it mean to have an equitable recovery from COVID that gives everybody economic dignity, that helps people have good jobs that pay decent wages, where they’re able to get healthcare, where they’re able to maybe take a vacation occasionally and have optimism about their kids’ economic future and invest in their kids education.

John King Jr.:

To me, that’s how we should organize our society, and in the wealthiest country in the world, that is achievable. We have to ask the people who make them most to pay a little more, but that’s okay, they have plenty. Through that, we could build a better society for the long-term. I fear if we don’t take action on this, the situation is going to become more and more desperate. We’ve got 14 million kids who are food insecure. How is that possible? How would we let children go hungry in a society where we have so much?

Anne Milgram:

Yes. One of the stats that I read that it was just really jarring for me thinking about the quality in schools was that there is $2,200 less, and this comes from a Politico article, I think just last week called The Pandemic Could Widen the Achievement Gap. It was talking about how there’s $2,200 less spent on each nonwhite student than on each white student per year. Per year. You and I can both sit here and think like that’s additional teachers, support staff in the classroom, that’s technology, that’s letting kids have access to Chromebooks, that’s specialty subjects, whether they’re learning film or coding. That number just really jarred me. That again, I think it’s worth saying, I don’t think that anyone sits at their city budget and says, “Well, we’ll give more money to white schools than black schools.” Right?

Anne Milgram:

Majority non-white schools, but the end result is, it’s devastating and it’s systemic. It’s systemic bias. How do you think about … I guess, let me put it another way, which is how I think about it in the criminal justice space, which is, there is systemic bias and systemic problems. Yet, at the end of the day, we hold individuals accountable. Meaning, there are all these problems in systems, and at the end of the day, we hold an individual accountable for not getting a good education, not being able to graduate college. There’s a restriction of opportunity, and then we’re quick, particularly in criminal justice, to charge them with a crime. Again, I’m not saying that’s not fair at points in time. My bigger point is that there’s so much work upstream that can be done to sort of stop those outcomes from happening.

Anne Milgram:

I look at this and it just basically tells me the same story that I think we see in health, in education, in crime, in all of these different spaces. How do we fix that?

John King Jr.:

They’re deeply interconnected, because if you go to prison, you find folks who didn’t finish high school, a lot of folks who didn’t finish high school. You find a lot of folks who are not really proficient readers, right? The failure to invest in education, we end up paying for later in the … actually, we end up paying a much more later in the cost of incarceration. Some of these problems are deeply interconnected. We have not, as a country, ever fully committed to implementing the vision of Brown. We learned all of us in school, right? Brown vs Board of Education, 1954, Supreme Court said that segregation in public education is inherently unequal. You learned about it as though that then meant that it ended. But in fact, what we know is that, because of a series of Supreme Court decisions and decisions by the Reagan administration, by the ’80s, school integration efforts really stalled.

John King Jr.:

In many places today, schools are more segregated than they were in the 1980s, more segregated than they were five, 10 years ago. We’re headed in the wrong direction on that front. What we do is we isolate low-income students, students of color in a subset of schools, then we systematically under-resource those schools, and then folks can’t get jobs, folks end up in trouble with the law. Then we try to blame individuals rather than asking, how do we change the systems? My hope is that we will come to a place politically where we’ll say two things, one, we should take care of every person’s child as we would want to take care of our own. We should care about whether other people’s children get access to the arts and good teachers. We’re all better off if all kids have access to good education, because we can’t build walls high enough around our own kids to keep their fate separate from the kid down the street, or in the next town over, or in the rural community, or growing up on a native American reservation.

John King Jr.:

All our kids’ fates are bound up together. But also, we need to acknowledge that, for the sake of our democracy, we are better off when kids have opportunities to learn with people who are different from them, to learn across lines of race and class. We’d have a stronger multiracial democracy if we did that. My hope is we will move to invest adequate resources and to truly integrate our schools racially and socioeconomically.

Anne Milgram:

You mentioned that it’s all connected. I think a lot about, I was giving a talk a couple of years ago about the overlaps between health and crime. I was sort of researching, what impact does housing have on crime? What impact does mental health have in crime? What impact does education have in crime? There are a lot of studies connecting each of those things. Problems with housing, higher rates of incarcerate … in stable housing, things like that. We often refer to these things as the social determinants of health, basically the conditions in which we live and work and play, and that is housing, health, education, violence, all kinds of things like employment, economics, race, that it all really, it is a circle, not a straight line. They’re all interconnected and one impacts the next.

Anne Milgram:

Because we very much wait to act until the problem occurs, you sort of isolated at the moment that the kid has dropped out of school or the crime has been committed versus thinking about how do you upstream, really think about, how can you do the best that you possibly can to put someone in a position to succeed? I’ll tell you the story from … we did this study in Camden, New Jersey, where I’ve worked a lot on the overlap of health and crime. One of the things we learned when we were doing it is how many kids were missing school and they were ultimately being declared truant. Truancy is a crime. Eventually, you can end up in the juvenile justice system. I think it’s like, I can’t remember if it’s 21 or 23 days of absences, but at that point, you’re touching the criminal justice system.

Anne Milgram:

That tends to sort of take you out of school and into that space. We found that there was a huge percentage of kids who were truant. Then we looked at their whole family, and we found that in that, same week, either they or their moms were in the ER of the hospital. It’s this tremendous moment of thinking that me, I oversaw the juvenile justice system in New Jersey, thinking that kids had some agency, that they were deciding not to show up in school, and then you see the kids were suffering from asthma and ADHD. Their moms had a lot of chronic health problems, diabetes, high blood pressure. Everyone’s thinking about, in that moment, treating the medical problem, but nobody’s thinking about how do you get that kid and other kids in the family to school the next day. In some ways, we’re like, we’re failing, in part, because we’re not thinking of this all as interconnected.

John King Jr.:

Exactly, exactly. As you mention asthma, it makes me think we also have to layer in environmental justice. We have disproportionate asthma rates in pour communities because we’ve located facilities that produce pollution in those communities. It is all deeply interconnected, and maybe this is going to sound naive, but I think that COVID, because it has, in a very pernicious way, seeped into all of those kinds of crevices and cracks in all of our systems, maybe this is a naive hope, but I’d like to think this is a moment where people will reflect and say, now we see all these problems so starkly, we need to act on them in a comprehensive way, that this is a moment where we need to simultaneously tackle health disparities and environmental injustice and creating economic opportunity and addressing educational inequities. This could be that moment that is transformational for us.

Anne Milgram:

Like another new deal. People have talked a lot about the Green New deal, but I’ve been thinking a lot more about, there seems to be so many things that, you’re right, have been unearthed by COVID, that this is a real conversation that should be taking place across all the spaces.

John King Jr.:

That’s right. That will require a level of leadership at the federal level, but also in States and in local communities to say, what would it take to build a future that is better than the status quo that existed before COVID? Going back to how it was actually isn’t good enough because how it was, was deeply inequitable.

Anne Milgram:

Right. I think people just see it now because of COVID.

John King Jr.:

Oh, absolutely. One of the things that we work on in Trust is discipline data. We have this school to prison pipeline, and it’s driven, in part, by racial disparities and how discipline is administered in schools. We just did a study focused on girls, particularly African-American girls and their experience of discipline. Black girls are five times as likely to be suspended from school as white girls. They are four times as likely to be referred for arrest, and there is a real challenge in that, implicit bias impacts how people see young girls of color. There was a study that Georgetown did on something called adultification, where people see a young black girl as older, they project onto her that she’s somehow older and then respond to behavior differently.

John King Jr.:

We see disparities in how dress codes are enforced. We have to get that data, then we have to ask, what can we do to change it? What are the policy changes we need, and what are the ways that we can do professional development and support for teachers and principals to eliminate those disparities so that kids can have access to school and opportunity?

Anne Milgram:

I saw this study and I was shocked by it. The idea, what I read was too loud, too assertive, too sexually provocative, too defiant, too adult like, that these are the subjective offenses that girls of color are often excluded from school for. It is so subjective also that I found it really so deeply problematic of thinking about just these categories alone. It just feels wrong. I think, to your point on the data and highlighting it, and particularly around discipline, it’s such a great point of thinking about … I’ve always thought also that you’re struggling in school and so we suspend you and we keep you out of school, when the precise thing you probably need is actually to be in school, and it’s not that there shouldn’t be accountability, it’s what form that accountability should take.

Anne Milgram:

John, one of the things that this report you just put out spends time on is the Oakland Unified School district. Some of their reforms are really interesting. Can we talk a little bit about like, they require a complete review of data looking at disparities? They also were talking about restorative justice programs to try to sort of think about, how you could figure out if there are problems, not referring someone to the criminal justice system. Is Oakland the right place to look, or are there other places?

John King Jr.:

There are a number of places that are doing smart things. In our report, we talk about Oakland, we talk about Chicago, we talk about Massachusetts. Restorative justice, to me, it’s really about this idea that the goal is to remedy the behavior. Instead, what we often end up with is just this idea of punishment, of retribution, as opposed to getting to the heart of the matter. In a restorative justice context, when there’s a conflict between kids, what you ultimately want is to get to the heart of what caused the conflict and to have the … if there was one person who was responsible for that conflict, to have them make a man’s right. Or if someone has done harm to physical property, why should I suspend you for writing on the desk, if I can have you come and clean the desk and also then use that opportunity to have a conversation about, well, what were you thinking? Why were you distracted in class? Maybe you need additional academic support. It’s actually trying to say that …

Anne Milgram:

It is trying to solve the problem.

John King Jr.:

Yeah. That this is a teaching and learning problem. If a kid found a math quiz, we would never say, well, you found this math quiz, no more math for you, but we do that around socio-emotional things. We say, well, you’re having conflicts with other peers, so we’re going to throw you out. We do that so early. African-American students are more than three times as likely to be suspended from pre-K.

Anne Milgram:

I saw that. I couldn’t believe that number. I’ve never even heard of somebody being suspended from pre-K because it’s almost beyond my capacity to think of a child that is three or four years old who can engage in behavior that can not be teachable that … I’m not saying that you couldn’t give me an example, I’m sure that there are some, but it is so contrary to how we think about children, particularly at that young age that it … I saw those rates are just … they’re astonishing.

John King Jr.:

That’s right. When I was at the department, we did analysis that showed African-American kids, about 18% of the kids in pre-K, 48% of the kids suspended multiple times from pre-K. How? Why? What are the supports that need to be in place? If a four year old is in crisis, it’s not productive to suspend. The question is, how do we help work through that crisis? Which is often tied to family and what’s happening at home. Imagine, even at four, we also see implicit bias. There’s a study at Yale that showed, where they were working with early childhood educators, and they showed that the early childhood educators watching a classroom of students identified the African-American male students as in need of intervention, even though their behavior was identical to the behavior of the other students in the classroom, but their eyes and their attention went to the boys of color. That’s deeply connected to how bias operates in our society and deeply held assumptions around issues of race.

Anne Milgram:

It feels to me also that, if we think about the world the way you and I are talking about it, that we want to solve whatever is happening, I would think about a case management approach to a four year old who’s having a problem, because it is most likely the family again, and there’s something going on in that child’s life that requires assistance. The idea of just suspending that kid, it’s going to have the opposite result of what you want, and what you want is to make that kid have opportunity and potentially not have that happen again, and then just thrive in education and in life. We do all these things early on that have, I think, the exact opposite impact of what we want them to have. That’s a space where it just feels to me like, as educators and people in communities, we have to demand that we don’t suspend kids like that. Whether it’s restorative justice, it just feels to me like the answer should be no.

John King Jr.:

If we want something different, we need a different kind of leadership. This is what we think a lot about at Trust, is that we really need a movement that demands that we respond with bold solutions to change these long-standing inequities. We had all these people put out statements in the spring that they were sympathetic with black lives matter, they were sympathetic with the protest, right? Foundations put those out, corporations put those statements out. I want to see the action. What are the substantive policy changes on policing reform, on closing health disparities, on expanding economic opportunity and addressing education inequities? Show me the actions. The statements are nice, but they’re not enough. We need to keep putting pressure on people to back those statements up with substance.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I agree. I couldn’t agree more. There is a lot of talk, and I think, look, these problems are systemic and difficult. I agree also very much that the solutions have to be bold, and that we have to force people to take action to be bold, because the smaller changes and fixes will not change the underlying issues that … the systemic issues we’re talking about in all of those spaces. One of the things you did recently, I saw that you joined, with a bunch of social justice leaders, I think, and others to form a new nonprofit, is that right? To basically fund social justice initiatives?

John King Jr.:

Yeah. It’s this effort called Black Voices for Black Justice. The idea, which started with a foundation called the Mariah Fund, and they mobilized a group of African-American leaders across different sectors, education, civil rights, criminal justice reform, and got another group of funders together around this. The question was, could we identify leaders in whom to invest so that we can have the transformational change that we need? What’s unique about this effort is that it’s not just about giving funds to organizations, it’s about investing in the leaders themselves. We just chose an all girls set of awardees, and they’re folks who are working on the ground to change policing practices, folks who are working on the ground to create schools, folks who are working on the ground to create programs to support student parents, to dismantle collateral consequences for folks who’ve been incarcerated.

John King Jr.:

Journalists who are telling stories that often don’t get heard. For example, Natasha Alford, who writes about the Afro-Latino experience and experience of black people in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic who are of African descent and are Latino and that duality of identity. It’s really an amazing group of people. Kerry Washington is involved, the actress. Kristen Clarke, who runs the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Anne Milgram:

Who I had the pleasure to work with when I was at DoJ.

John King Jr.:

Oh sure.

Anne Milgram:

She’s an amazing lawyer in person.

John King Jr.:

Yeah. It’s really exciting to be a part of, and again, one of the things I love about it is that it’s saying to these leaders, here’s an award for you to use for, maybe it’s to write a book, maybe it’s to make a movie, maybe it’s to fund a new role at your organization. One of the people that we supported is Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, who is a environmental activist who works on climate change issues and how they’re having a disparate impact on communities of color. It’s very intersectional inter-sectoral and just a fun project.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I think it’s amazing also, because I think, just … I would argue we haven’t done enough as a society to really invest in and build the next generation of leaders. The one thing, I don’t know, I wonder how you feel about this, but in the midst of what has been a really tough year, one thing that gives me enormous hope is how, I teach at NYU Law School, I see so much activism and engagement and a willingness to step forward into leadership roles and to just not rely on other people to sort of fix the world that I have never seen in my career before. I’m inspired by that. I think the work that you all are doing is … it’s a great way to push it forward. Who knows what those young leaders will do with that money to change the world. There’s such beauty in just that investment.

John King Jr.:

Exactly. Yeah. I think about the piece that John Lewis wrote that was published on the day of his funeral. He wrote it just before he passed. In that piece, as you recall, he talks about being inspired by the activism of young people, about seeing the black lives matter protest and the potential for transformative change. He knew he was at the end of his life, but he had this palpable optimism and hope drawn from this movement of young people for social justice, and hopefully we can all be inspired by that.

Anne Milgram:

John, when you think about this, and just sort of, when I think about change and I think about government change, it’s hard to change government, it’s hard to change agencies. You’ve run state and federal agencies. I’ve run a state agency, been in a leadership role at a federal one. A lot of times it’s not the policy disagreement, it’s just the bureaucracy and the lack of innovation that keeps us … Sometimes I think people attribute ill motives in a way that there can be plenty of people who have them, but the bigger issue is sort of the intransigence of these institutions and bureaucracies that have always functioned a certain way. How do you think about … because I sort of feel like that is the challenge, is to significantly reframe how we run government and how we run these institutions.

Anne Milgram:

But I do think it’s a challenge, right? The biggest fights I had were not with people, they were with the bureaucracy, in some ways. I might not be articulating it correctly, but it feels to me like education is a space where there’s been some innovation, but not nearly enough. Even the pandemic is a great example. What I have seen across New York City, at least, is that everybody’s trying to put the old system into this new world, instead of thinking like, well, let’s just create a new system. It’s not going to be the same, but here are our goals. Our goals are academic and social emotional, and how do we get there? Whether that means it’s three hours a day or eight hours a day, there’s so much potential, I think, for thinking about the world differently, but it’s really, really hard to get folks there. Yeah, what do we do?

John King Jr.:

That’s totally right. I guess two things come to mind. One is, I think we sometimes under invest in capacity. I think about how hard teachers across the country are working to try to make sure kids keep learning through this period. But in many school districts with very little professional development about, how do you leverage the technology? In some districts, very little serve technical assistance support just on using that technology. Some districts, teachers don’t have very reliable internet access themselves. We have to think, how does the system invest in the capacity of the people doing the work on the ground so that they can do their best work? I think about all the health care workers who were without PPE early on, even though we all understood that it was desperately needed, and again, the federal government was too slow to get people what they needed to do their job well.

John King Jr.:

I think this capacity question, and then I think, sometimes we rely on government alone for change and forget that we actually need folks outside of government pushing and creating cover and creating examples that folks can draw from. I think an election is not enough, a single election, even if that election goes really well, even if you got lots of folks in who share your values, to get stuff done requires sustained citizen engagement, and showing up at the hearing, showing up at the meeting, sending the letter, joining the protests, keeping the momentum going around these policy changes.

Anne Milgram:

Yeah. I always tell people to, whatever you do, do it in the spaces that you care about. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a photographer, take pictures. If you’re a singer, sing. One of the things that’s been interesting in our school, and I don’t know if this has been true across the country, but there have been significant disputes between the teacher’s unions and the administration of schools, and obviously this is a very difficult time and everybody wants the teachers to be safe and the kids to be safe. The one thing I found is that ultimately, we ended up organizing as parents, because sort of no one was advocating … no one in the system formally was advocating for the kids. Right. It’s like this really powerful moment at difficult times to think about the unions have concerns, obviously. They represent teachers.

Anne Milgram:

I’ve worked a lot with police unions. I think, sometimes their … and I support unions in general, but sometimes the demands are fair. Sometimes they have to be challenged. It can be both. The same is true of administrations and rules and regulations, but those fights tend to be polarizing, and the people who get lost are the children and the kids. To your point, I think, I had never really thought of the role that families play and kids play, but they’re the most important stakeholders. At the end of the day, that’s who we care about. I think it’s good advice to think about how we get involved.

John King Jr.:

Yeah. We need more opportunities for parent voices to be at the table and student voices to be at the table. Students have amazing insights around the experience of school, and they will tell you what’s working, what’s not working, what’s unjust. My hope is that one of the things that will come out of this national reckoning that we’re going through around issues of racial justice, along overdue national reckoning, is that kids will demand something different. Not just kids of color, white kids too. I think, when you talk to high school students, they know that the curriculum isn’t providing enough windows and mirrors for all kids. They know there needs to be more black authors, Latino authors, Asian-American authors, native authors in the curriculum, they know that the history that they’ve been learning is inadequate and isn’t telling the full story.

John King Jr.:

I’d love to see young people who are showing up at school board meeting saying like, we need a different curriculum here. Or young people were showing up saying, we need teachers and principals of color in this district. We don’t have any, and we want that. Again, not just kids of color, but white kids too saying, we need a community of adults that is diverse in this school district.

Anne Milgram:

One of the things I think you’ve said before, John, I don’t know if it was an interview or something you’d written, was “kids need to see mirrors of themselves in the narratives, authors and texts that they read. If they are not, then we are not addressing their social-emotional wellbeing.”

John King Jr.:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So important. I remember, as a kid, the first time I read authors whose experience was similar to my own. I think about reading this book Down These Mean Streets, which was about a dark skin Puerto Rican kid growing up in New York. I was like, oh, that’s like me. I could see me. That’s so powerful. There are so many young people who don’t have that, but there’s also the opportunity, in that kind of windows and mirrors idea, to see the world from another perspective. If you’re a kid growing up as a kid of color in the city and you read a book that center’s experience of someone growing up in a rural community, well you learn things from that, and vice versa. In his final address as president, President Obama gave the speech in Chicago, it was supposed to be like the closing address of the administration. In that speech, he talked about the line from, To Kill a Mockingbird.

President Obama:

If our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

John King Jr.:

He quoted that line to say that, part of what’s missing in our democracy at this moment is that ability to take someone else’s perspective, and literature can be that. Kids need to see themselves and they need to be able to experience worlds beyond themselves. That means we need diverse authors, we need to tell account of history that is accurate, that shows the contributions of people of color, that shows the ugly parts of our history around systemic oppression from slavery to Japanese-American internment, but also shows all these amazing examples of black excellence, Latino excellence, Asian-American excellence, native excellence. I think, if we did more of that, we would have a stronger democracy, the fabric of our democracy would be strengthened.

Anne Milgram:

I teach human trafficking at NYU Law School, and I teach slavery, and then I teach, of course, the Black Codes, the Civil Rights Act of 1948 and peonage. One reason I do it is to sort of show that there’s really never been a day in America where there were not slaves, where people were not enslaved in some form or another. But what ends up happening is this fascinating thing that my students have learned about slavery in high school. Some of them have learned about it in college, but it depends on what classes you take, and they haven’t really understood reconstruction, or the Black Codes or peonage or debt bondage, which really extended almost until 1950. Then, of course, we talk about human trafficking and modern day slavery, but it is this … When you think about the education gap, the things that you sort of taken in high school and what’s taught to you, there’s so much that’s missing from that narrative.

Anne Milgram:

To your point, it’s taught as though the 13th Amendment and slavery and everything’s done. There’s a lot that’s missing in that narrative that’s so important because it explains a lot of where we are today.

John King Jr.:

Yes. If you look at what Florida is trying to do, to use fines as a modern poll tax to prevent folks who were previously incarcerated from voting, you better understand what they’re trying to do if you understand how poll taxes were used to prevent African-Americans from voting as the country dismantled, the progress made during reconstruction. If you understand that history, you can make more sense of what’s happening today, or you think about when the administration put in place the Muslim ban, and the way in which they tried to direct animus against Muslim people. You better understand that if you understand Japanese-American internment and the way in which the country was mobilized against Japanese-Americans. As a social studies teacher, I just feel like we’re missing something if we don’t make sure that students have that historical perspective.

Anne Milgram:

Let’s talk just for a minute about history, and we’ll close by talking about a little bit of your personal history, because one of the most remarkable things that I’ve read in the past year was The Washington Post article about your family. Two families, one black, one white shared a harrowing history then they met. It’s a really, really incredible story about your family. Can you sort of walk us through this farm in Gaithersburg, Maryland called Edge Hill? Tell us a little of the story.

John King Jr.:

Sure. Well, it starts with, that my grandmother graduated from University of Maryland Eastern Shore. It’s an HBCU here in Maryland, and she graduated 1894. The school asked me to give the commencement address, and so to prepare for the commencement address, I started doing this family research project, family history project. Through that project, discovered that my great grandfather and his family were enslaved in Gaithersburg. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland, so it’s about 25 miles from where I live now.

Anne Milgram:

Had you known that he was enslaved and that your great grandfather and his family were enslaved?

John King Jr.:

Like many African Americans who that there was slavery in our history, but didn’t know that details of … certainly not of … Well, we knew maybe there was a Maryland connection, but didn’t necessarily know that the details of it. To then have this experience of finding out that he was enslaved so close to where I live, that the cabin where she and his family were enslaved is still standing on the property. The property is still owned by direct line descendants of the family that owned my family. Then the question was, well, what do you do with that? Do you just call? Do you send an email? Do you just show up?

John King Jr.:

I have a cousin who … just kind of person who just shows up. She had gone to visit the new Smithsonian African-American history museum and sort of got inspired by that and thought, okay, I’m just going to go and introduce myself. She went and knocked on the door and told the Beckers the story of our connection, and now we’ve gotten to know them and have gotten to spend time on the property. There’s a unmarked burial ground for the enslaved people on the property.

Anne Milgram:

Do you know if any of your ancestors are buried there?

John King Jr.:

Yeah, we think that’s where my great grandfather’s father was likely buried as well as, maybe prior generations. There’s something very profound standing in that cabin. One, you have this tremendous sense of the intimacy of slavery. The cabin is not 50 yards from the main house, which is still standing. It was built in the 1700s. So, you see that these two families were deeply interconnected and one owns the other. We’ve learned a lot through our conversations with the Beckers about the ways in which, even though they grew up on a plantation, there wasn’t that much conversation about how slavery operated as an institution.

Anne Milgram:

Did they know that their grandparents had slaves?

John King Jr.:

Yes, but I think hadn’t necessarily focused on that history. For example, the cabin was used as a storage shed. It wasn’t preserved as a kind of important historical place that it is. We’ve had some really some deep conversations with them about history, about the nature of slavery as an institution. The other thing that’s so powerful about standing in that cabin is the realization that three generations later living in the same community, I got to serve in the cabinet of the first black president. It’s a pretty amazing statement about what is possible and also such an amazing affirmation of my ancestors’ ability to live into a future they could not see. They couldn’t have imagined that, but their perseverance and hope for this better future is why I’m here today. It’s quite a powerful, powerful experience, and a reminder for all of us, just this institution of slavery is so close to us in time, and it’s, as you said, ripples throughout every element of our society from criminal justice to housing, to racial wealth gap.

Anne Milgram:

Has this experience with the Beckers and finding that cabin changed the way you see the world in any way?

John King Jr.:

It has, in a way, I would say deepened my sense of hope about the possibility for change and positive evolution of society and my sense of urgency around the work we need to do as a country to have an honest conversation about our history and how we got here.

Anne Milgram:

What about for your kids?

John King Jr.:

It’s given them, I think, such an appreciation for our history. One of the things that stood out for them, especially was that, my great grandfather’s sister, Annie, she reported her owner for consorting with the Confederates. The history of Maryland is that, although Maryland was on the Union side, many Marylanders went and fought with the Confederacy. Because Maryland was a border state, Maryland was able to maintain the institution of slavery, even beyond the Emancipation Proclamation, because they were on the Union side and so they continued.

Anne Milgram:

Right. Just for everyone who doesn’t remember this at home, the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the States that had seceded from the Union, not in the States that hadn’t left the Union.

John King Jr.:

Exactly. Maryland has this complicated relationship to the institution of slavery. In fact, my great grandfather’s owner’s son went and fought for the Confederacy, and my great grandfather’s sister reported her honor for consorting with the Confederacy for being complicit in kind of a conspiracy to advance the Confederacy. She testified at a trial in Baltimore City about his betrayal of the country. She did that at 15. For my daughters who are 14 and 16, that was a powerful story to understand. They are both activists and both want to change the world, and I think see themselves as inheritors of a tradition of pushing for change and justice.

Anne Milgram:

Wow. That is an amazing story. John, I know you have some exciting news of a new venture that you’re involved in. I’d love to hear a little bit about it.

John King Jr.:

Sure. Well, I’m launching this new organization called Strong Future Maryland, which has, as its mission, an equitable recovery from COVID-19, and really saying that this needs to be a new deal moment in Maryland, where we respond to the inequities that existed before COVID, that have been exacerbated by COVID with an investment in education with strengthening our safety net, things like paid family leave, better worker protections with a broad base economic development strategy that reaches folks in communities that have been historically underserved like Baltimore City or out on the Eastern Shore. And that also begins to do the work necessary to respond to climate change and to promote the kinds of green jobs that we need greening our homes and businesses. In this project, one of our tasks is to help build political will, public will around tackling these inter-sectoral problems that we’ve been talking about.

John King Jr.:

When the current governor says we should respond to issues of violence in Baltimore City, just with more policing and more incarceration, that’s exactly backwards. As all of your work has shown, what we ought to be doing is thinking about, as you described it, the social determinants of public safety. We ought to be thinking about, how do we increase treatment for addiction and how do we increase violence prevention programs, and how do we improve education, and how do we create jobs and mentoring programs, particularly for young people who might be getting off track? That’s the vision behind Strong future Maryland.

Anne Milgram:

I see this all the time, that people are talking about hiring more police officers, and certainly there is a need for police reform. I actually don’t think it generally involves more officers. It involves changing how we do policing in America, but even if we do all of that and we vastly improve our police departments so that they are accountable, they’re equitable, they’re connected to the community, they can appropriately prevent and reduce violence, we’re still not solving the problem fully. It’s still reactive, right? I mean, police departments get involved after a harm has happened or something has happened, and it totally ignores all the things that lead us to that moment where that problem has occurred. I think it’s terrific that you’re taking this on. I don’t know how you have the time, to be honest. That’s my big question for you. Remind us, what’s the name of the organization again?

John King Jr.:

It’s called Strong Future Maryland. Yeah, we’re really excited about it. Look, I guess it’s one of those things, how do you not have time to try to make the future better for all of our kids? I want my kids to be able to grow up in a Maryland that provides opportunity for every child, and where we’re taking on these long-standing inequities. We need to act in this moment. None of us can afford to be passive, just like you are somehow managing to balance being a professor, doing the Podcast and being on several boards and all these projects that you’re working on around criminal justice reform. I just think we have to do all we can in this moment to try to make it better for the long-term well-being of our democracy.

Anne Milgram:

Amen. I agree. John, you are an inspiration as a person, as a leader, and I think our country is so lucky to have you both in the roles that you’ve had and in the role you have now and all the leadership roles you play in years to come.

John King Jr.:

Oh, well, that’s so nice of you to say. I feel the same way. I’m so grateful to learn from you on the Century Board and to get to listen to this podcast and hear your conversations with Preet. I always learn something. Thank you for your leadership and for all the work you’re doing on criminal justice reform, which we so desperately need.

Anne Milgram:

There’s so much work for all of us to do.

Anne Milgram:

My conversation with John King continues for members of the CAFE Insider Community. Try out the membership free for two weeks at cafe.com/insider, that’s cafe.com/insider. You’ll get access to the full archive of exclusive content, including the weekly podcast I cohost with Preet, the Cyber Space podcast with John Carlin, the United Security Podcast, co-Hosted by Lisa Monaco and Ken Wainstein. Audio essays by Preet and Elie Hoenig and more. Again, that’s cafe.com/insider. Well, that’s it for this special episode of Stay Tuned. Thanks again to my guest, John King.

Preet Bharara:

Stay tuned is presented by CAFE Studios. The executive producer is Tamara Sepper. The senior producer is Adam Waller. The senior audio producer is David Tatasciore, and the CAFE team is Matthew Billy, David Kurlander, Sam Ozer-Staton, Noa Azulai, Nat Weiner, Jake Kaplan, Calvin Lord, Geoff Isenman, Chris Boylan, Sean Walsh, and Margot Malley. Our music is by Andrew dost. I’m Preet Bharara, stay tuned.