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Benjamin Herold with Dahlia Bazzaz

Unraveling Suburbia

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Friday, March 29
7:30 pm PDT
$5 – $25 Sliding Scale
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The Wyncote NW Forum
1119 8th Ave (Entrance off Seneca St.)
Seattle, 98101 United States
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Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America's Suburbs

Elliott Bay Book Company

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While public education has become a hot-button topic in headlines, including Seattle Public Schools, there’s an even bigger story that journalist Benjamin Herold wants to tell.

Public schools are a cornerstone of the American suburbs; they are the assumed status symbols for upwardly mobile families. Yet Herold argues that the very infrastructures of America, including schools and housing, are undermining the dreams that American suburbia was built on.

Herold paints portraits of people from his new book, Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs, where he examines the places people live in and the varying degrees of privilege that Americans hold. Outside Atlanta, a middle-class Black family faces off with a school system. North of Dallas, a white family relocates to an affluent suburb but can’t escape the changes sweeping the country. And outside Pittsburgh, a Black mother moves to the same street where Herold grew up, then confronts the destructive legacy left behind. For generations, white families have extracted opportunity from suburbs, then moved on before the bills for maintenance and repair came due, leaving Black and Brown families to clean up. But this endless expansion is no longer feasible. The suburban lifestyle dream, Herold argues, is a Ponzi scheme whose unraveling threatens us all.

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How do we come to terms with this troubled history? How do we build a future in which all children can thrive? Drawing upon his career as an education journalist, Herold explores these hot-button issues and how America can move forward from here.

Benjamin Herold explores America’s beautiful and busted public education system. His award-winning beat reporting, feature writing, and investigative exposés have appeared in Education WeekPBS NewsHourNPR, and the Public School Notebook. Herold has a master’s degree in urban education from Temple University in Philadelphia, where he lives with his family.

Dahlia Bazzaz has been an education journalist at The Seattle Times since 2017. She has covered a range of issues affecting K-12 school students around the state, including segregation, the pandemic and school funding. She has a certificate in education finance from the Edunomics program at Georgetown University.

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