John Palfrey

33 minutes

Justin Reich is joined by John Palfrey, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, former director of the Berkman Klein Center of Internet and Society, as well as an educator, author, and legal scholar. Together they discuss philanthropy in education, the work of the MacArthur Foundation, and the challenges of making large changes in institutions.

“And particularly when we look at a society where I think most of us, anyway, those of us on the left, broadly global left, would say, ‘We're not where we ought to be, right, from an equity perspective, from all sorts of dimensions we want to improve. And certainly the quality of K-12 education in the United States, that's not something we're that good at overall. Therefore, we need to disrupt it. We need to do it better. - John Palfrey


In this episode we’ll talk about:

  • What role does philanthropy play in addressing inequality?
  • Thinking about “who is being served?”
  • The natural inclination to give locally
  • Supporting individual leaders to influence the world
  • Lever for Change organization
  • Small financial help can facilitate larger financial help
  • Palfrey’s new book The Connected Parent
  • Parenting with technology
  • Bringing equity into educational technology


Resources and Links

Check out The Connected Parent by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser!

Learn more about the MacArthur Foundation

Check the MacArthur Foundation’s demographic report!

Learn more about Lever for Change

Learn more about the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

Check out Justin Reich’s book, Failure To Disrupt!

Join our self-paced online edX course: Sorting Truth from Fiction: Civic Online Reasoning

Join our self-paced online edX course: Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practices




Produced by Aimee Corrigan and Garrett Beazley. Recorded and mixed by Garrett Beazley


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