Education disturbing and motivational on @LastWeekTonight

John Oliver is engaging in humorous discussions on TV about education that are disturbing and motivational. So today I’d like to talk a little about Last Week Tonight— currently my favorite show on TV. I’ll begin with my visit to the show a few weeks ago when I travelled to New York. I’ll end with my two favorite clips where John Olivers addressed school segregation and charter schools.

A few weeks before I left for New York, I applied for tickets for Last Week Tonight on their website. I didn’t get tickets from their lottery. I was really disappointed. Really really. However, the website stated that there was a chance I could get into the show on standby by waiting in line for a few hours. So I showed up at the studio on Sunday at 3 pm. I encountered a line of about 70 people waiting for no-shows (on 300 tickets that were already distributed).


Long standby line

Considering all of the people waiting in line for standby, getting into the show wasn’t promising. The show took down my name and asked where I was from. I then had to return two hours later to see if I could get into the show. Here is how I felt when I was thinking that I wouldn’t make it into the show.


Looking disappointed

Well, I did make it into the show! I was the very last person admitted into the studio. I shouldn’t have gotten into the show. I was solo in the standby line, and the couple in front of me had a shot at the last ticket for the show, but because they didn’t want to split up, they graciously gave me their standby ticket for the show.



When I say I was the last person in line, I really was. All of the seats in the show were taken so I watched the show as standing room only. Here is my view.

The show was incredible live! John Oliver was as funny during impromptu interactions with the audience before the show as he was in his prepared remarks on the show. I left the show very happy and angry— the show tends to do that. John Oliver skewered politicians, crooked industrialists, and much more that Sunday night.

My two favorite Last Week Tonight education oriented clips have addressed school segregation and charter schools. The counterrnative that John Oliver inputted into the national discussion in the charter school clip was palpable as the clip spurred many market-based school choice advocates  to publish scathing responses. Despite their opposition, the charter school clip has already been watched by nearly 7 million people!

More recently, John Oliver took on school segregation. This is topic that comes up in many conversations that I have about education reform. This was even an issue on the Rick Smith Show this week when the host explained that busing was problematic in Ohio. In my discussion with Howard Fuller, he also made the point that busing and integration efforts were an issue. I discussed my thinking on innovative integration efforts previously in the post How can we desegregate re-segregated public schools? (again)

The US stepped up to the challenge and eliminated blatant De jure segregation, now we have to decide if we now have the will power to now overcome De facto segregation in our nations schools.

Check out Last Week Tonight’s Youtube page here.

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