Public Education in America

Melissa Rivers on Community-Based Education in Rural Alaska

We speak with Melissa Rivers, Principal of the Scammon Bay School in Alaska’s Lower Yukon, a mile from the Bering Sea. The isolated, tight-knit Yupik Eskimo community is subsistence-based, harvesting moose and salmon. Students are artistic and learn by making things, but also must prepare for standardized tests designed for very different environments. For the past several years, Scammon Bay has participated in a cross-cultural exchange program run by the Alaska Humanities Forum to promote understanding among Alaska’s urban and rural communities.

Mark Santow on Suing Rhode Island for Educational Equal Protection

We speak with Dr. Mark Santow, Chair of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Dr. Santow and his middle school son, along with 12 other plaintiffs, are suing the state of Rhode Island in federal court under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for failing to provide civics curricula and other components of an adequate education to some Rhode Island students. The suit is especially notable because most education equity cases are brought in state courts. We discuss the racial, socioeconomic, and political underpinnings of educational inequality.

Lev Moscow offers advice for secondary school teachers

We interview Lev Moscow who, for the last 14 years, has taught history and economics at The Beacon School in New York City. Lev reflects that advisory, done well, can serve as a venue for students to explore questions of ethics, purpose and happiness. He talks about balancing the history curriculum to include non-European perspectives. Getting students to read more than a few sentences is perhaps today’s teachers’ greatest challenge and Lev explains his approach.

Lev refers to John Dewey, Tony Judt, and these resources:

  • Book “Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials” by Malcolm Harris;
  • Book “The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School” by Neil Postman.

Lev Moscow offers advice for secondary school teachers

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Lev also hosts a podcast that aims to make economics accessible. It is called A Correction Podcast and you can listen to it on

David C. Bloomfield on why we need a revolution in attitude to see education as a social good rather than an individual property right

We speak with Dr. David C. Bloomfield, Professor of Education Leadership. Law & Policy at Brooklyn College. David Bloomfield condemns the social Darwinism and “hoarding” mentality of our education systemsHe explains how school resource allocation exacerbates segregation and inequality, a process deliberately abetted by the proliferation of school districts around the country Education policy and financing reinforce an us against them view of schools. Until we start thinking of the nation’s children as our collective responsibility,  we will continue to seek todeprive “other people’s” children in order to benefit “ours,”  thereby impoverishing all of us.

David C. Bloomfield on why we need a revolution in attitude to see education as a social good rather than an individual property right

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Find more about David on