What Next

The Fight to Reopen Schools in Memphis

How the state forced school leaders’ hand.


Episode Notes

Why did schools stay closed for so long in Memphis, Tennessee? And why weren’t parents clamoring for them to reopen? To answer those questions, you have to tell a longer story about the relationship between a majority-Black, Democratic-controlled city and a largely white, Republican-controlled state.

Guest: Laura Faith Kebede, reporter for Chalkbeat Tennessee.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Carmel Delshad, Danielle Hewitt, and Elena Schwartz.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.