First day of school vibes

You guys! Today was the first day of school in Oakland.

It was such a beautiful sight this morning—so many families lined up to drop off their kids for the first time in a year+ or ever. So many little masked faces, new backpacks, and wiggly limbs. So many hopes and dreams for a safe day of connection and curiosity.

Schools, right along with libraries, are my favorite public spaces in this country. They are where we learn to be ourselves among others, to follow our questions and make meaning, to be okay when things are new and different. They are where we write the American story. How sacred is that?

I wanted to dip into your inbox with a few book updates:

My favorite thing is that apparently so many of you went to review the book on Amazon that it triggered some sort of bot screening and reviews have been backed up for a few days. You non-bot, living, breathing people with opinions make me so grateful!

If you haven’t yet reviewed the book on Amazon and/or Goodreads, I’d love that. Leave a comment here, too. I’m working on a piece for The Nation about reactions to the book—compliments, critiques, and complications—and would love to include yours.

Many of you have been reporting that your local bookstore is sold out and ordering more copies. Keep hitting those local spots! The more they hear from people interested in the book, the more copies they’ll stock.

The Washington Post ran a review this weekend that really “got” the book. Connor P. Williams, a longtime education reporter, wrote: “Learning in Public is a book about gaps: the gulf between White progressive families’ values and their behavior, and the reality of the yawning social distances that persist even when Black, Brown and White families live side by side. The book also explores the staggering opportunity gaps that emerge when children of color are consigned to less-resourced and lower-quality schools than their White peers, creating pernicious academic achievement gaps in American education.”

He also wrote, and this really made my heart happy: “Martin doesn’t force readers to pick one view. This makes for a messy, complex story — which reflects the nature of the circumstances.”


I also got to guest host Slate’s Mom and Dad are Fighting podcast, which was a blast! We talked about the book, but also quarantine, divorce, school uniforms, and so much more.

And I was on KQED Forum with my pal Alexis Madrigal, which you can listen to here.

Join Garrett Bucks and me tonight (5pm PST) for a virtual conversation hosted by that amazing DC-area bookstore, Politics & Prose. Garrett has not only worked for years in education, created The Barnraisers Project, an organizing force for White folks interested in racial justice, and is part of the Integrated Schools movement, but he just sold a book that is sure to be a paradigm-shifter for so many of us:

Here’s my conversation with Oaklandside reporter Ashley McBride for Commonwealth Club:

And here’s my conversation with Dr. Dena Simmons (who launched her amazing organization, LiberatED last week, too!) for The Strand.