THE PODCAST

The Story Behind Our Podcast

Elevating undervalued professionals: Support for substitute teachers

We speak with Megan M. Conklin, who designs and implements professional development for substitutes in Washington state. Substitutes often don’t receive the support and compensation they deserve. Ms. Conklin's union-backed program teaches subs classroom survival skills and advocates for equity among school staff members.

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Enriching student life: Art for all

We speak with Dr. Andrea Siegel and Michelle Vitale of Hudson County Community College about the ways they bring art into students’ everyday lives. They’ve assembled a multi-ethnic art collection which is displayed on rotation in the galleries and hallways. Living with art is new to many of the students, who are often the first generation in their families to go to college. Our guests...

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Solving teacher shortages: It’s not just pay (Encore)

Drs. Katherine Norris and  Kathryn Wiley, colleagues at Howard University’s School of Education, speak about obstacles to recruiting and retaining teachers and increasing diversity. Money matters, but even more, so does ending discrimination. “Racial battle fatigue” is pervasive among Black teachers.

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What’s real and who/what matters: Sentientism in schools

We speak with Jamie Woodhouse, UK educator and thought leader on sentientism. An ethical worldview informed by evidence, reason, and compassion, sentientism prioritizes the well-being of humans and animals other than human. We discuss strategies for introducing sentientism in the classroom, the questions students ask, and ways teachers can incorporate sentientism in the curriculum.

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Climate change education: Meeting NJ’s mandate hands-on

We speak with the New Jersey School of Conservation’s Kerry Kirk Pflugh and Tanya Sulikowski, and Garwood, NJ middle school teacher, K.C. Bree about the SOC and about New Jersey's first-in-the-nation mandate for climate change education in every grade. The SOC, a newly-reopened 75-year-old center for experiential learning and fieldwork, provides professional development as well as interdisciplinary programming for students including applied science, math, humanities, and arts...

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Celebrating students’ “superpowers”: What tests can’t measure

We speak with Dr. Peter Hughes, superintendent of New Jersey's Cresskill School District, an affluent New York City suburb with large Korean and Israeli communities, about respecting disparate cultures while centering individual students’ interests, talents, and needs. We discuss effective means of communicating with bicultural parents and inclusive strategic planning. How can schools prepare students for joyful futures where they also serve others and are impactful...

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Cultivating layups, confidence, and community

We speak with Dave Crenshaw, founder and coach of Team Dreamers NY in Washington Heights; Blanca Battino, retired principal of PS 128; and Dr. Robert Fullilove, professor and associate dean at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Team Dreamers is a life-changing out-of-school-time program. Deeply embedded in the community, it builds leadership and mutual support among students. Dr. Fullilove’s public health interns serve as mentors...

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Inquiry and interpretation: Learning US history from primary sources (Encore)

We speak with Lee Schere, Director of Teaching and Learning at the Office of K-16 Initiatives of CUNY about the Debating U.S. History Program, an inquiry-based curriculum and teacher learning program. Students learn that history is not one set of agreed-upon events and interpretations. Though designed for NYC schools, the curriculum is available free to teachers everywhere.

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Creating the conditions: Sustaining “caring for” education

We speak with Chris Lehmann, founding principal of Science Leadership Academy, inquiry-driven and project-based schools in Philadelphia. The academic model centers inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection. Students take English, science, and history as a cohort, allowing for interdisciplinary understanding. Systems and structures ensure there is time for teachers to build relationships with students, and create the basis for the schools to survive beyond the founders. ...

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Solving chronic absence: A whole-school approach (Encore)

We speak with Hedy N. Chang of Attendance Works, who describes the long-term impact on student success of chronic absence in all grades. Framing chronic absence as a truancy issue can increase alienation from school. Distinctions between excused and unexcused absences can unfairly penalize low-income students and students of color. Chronic absence rates may hit 40% this year. Ms. Chang discusses relationship-based strategies for mitigating absenteeism.

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Developing public communication skills: Speech and debate team

We speak with Denver English teacher and speech/debate coach Anna Steed about the benefits of speech and debate competition. Students acquire critical communication skills and self-confidence; students of color and low-income students can become more comfortable in majority-white, middle-class environments similar to those they may encounter in college. For many students who have challenging home lives, speech and debate opens up worlds of possibility.

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Experiential learning: Where human history and nature connect

We speak with Jackie Broder, director of the Mamakating Environmental Education Center in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The Center abuts the Basha Kill wetland, a vital self-contained ecosystem. It helps students, families, and community members to connect with the area's distinct biodiversity and rich history and to develop an emotional connection with nature.

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Cultural responsiveness: is music optional? (Encore)

We speak with Dr. Anne Smith, longtime music teacher in Northern Virginia, about accommodating cultural differences. Dr. Smith created an alternate curriculum for students whose traditions don’t allow secular music-making. We discuss the extent to which parents should be able to influence what their students learn. We also talk about why music and art are treated as lesser (“special”) subjects.

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The “Name Game”: racialization in a suburban high school (Encore)

Drs. Tony de Jesus, Anthony Johnston, and Don Siler of University of St. Joseph recount their intervention in a multiracial high school in crisis. White students had instigated a “game” of addressing Black students as the n-word. We discuss the impact of racialization in the Trump era on white students, students of color, and the school community as well as actual and potential responses by schools.

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What Would YOU Do?

Today we're here to invite you to watch our new video podcast series "What Would YOU do?". Created in partnership with EdEthics of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, each episode includes a dramatization of an ethical dilemma that could be faced by educators along with a discussion of the case facilitated by Harvard professor Meira Levinson.  We have two episodes available on our website and they are a great resource for...

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Paying it forward: a peer-staffed program for navigating college admissions

We speak with Michael Sanchez, executive director of Circle Match (formerly TCAT), a program that helps students in underserved high schools apply to colleges. Circle Match serves low income students, primarily of color, who are the first in their families to apply to college. Participants in turn assist classmates, thus creating a college-going culture and subsequently on-campus support. Circle Match students have been extraordinarily successful in gaining...

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Solving teacher shortages: It’s not just pay

Drs. Katherine Norris and Kathryn Wiley, colleagues at Howard University’s School of Education, speak about obstacles to recruiting and retaining teachers and increasing diversity. Money matters, but even more, so does ending discrimination. "Racial battle fatigue" is pervasive among Black teachers.

Listen

Opening up: Recreating schools as a community

Drs. Landon Mascareñaz and Doannie Tran, co-authors of "The Open System: Redesigning Education and Reigniting Democracy,” talk about co-creating and co-producing school initiatives with parents and community members. "Openness" is a radical departure from legacy closed systems, and begins with “openers,” those committed to ensuring that all stakeholders, especially those traditionally far from power, are full participants. The opening process can start in one classroom, one school,...

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Surveillance in school: Invasive technology, junk science

We speak with Albert Fox Cahn and Sarah Roth of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, or S.T.O.P., about the increasing use of surveillance technology to track students. Claiming their technology can predict who will be a threat to themselves or the school, companies market programs that report to school officials on students' keystrokes, words, and behaviors. School officials can provide it to law enforcement or parents.

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Inquiry and interpretation: Learning US history from primary sources

We speak with Lee Schere, Director of Teaching and Learning at the Office of K-16 Initiatives of CUNY about the Debating U.S. History Program, an inquiry-based curriculum and teacher learning program. Students learn that history is not one set of agreed-upon events and interpretations. Though designed for NYC schools, the curriculum is available free to teachers everywhere.

Listen

School district battles: Protecting education from bans

We speak with Mike Gottesman, founder of New Jersey Public Education Coalition (NJPEC), a grassroots organization that educates and activates NJ citizens in school districts to protect the integrity of schools from conservative extremist groups. NJPEC organizes on-the-ground support for community members and provides information for school board candidates, In its first year, the Coalition has grown to1500 members along with subject matter experts and partner organizations.

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Critiquing the “science of reading” movement: Teaching reading is “both/and” 

Lynne Einbender and Susie Rolander, reading and literacy faculty at Bank Street College, talk about supporting children's learning to read and the components of a full-fledged language arts program. One size does not fit all: children with different strengths and experiences have a spectrum of needs.

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“Parents’ rights” campaigns: Targeting school books and curricula

Dr. Melissa Deckman, CEO of PRRI, Public Religion Research Institute, analyzes current “parents' rights" campaigns and their precedents. At a time of demographic change, conservative Christians seek to ban books and curricula that conflict with their educational agenda. Dr. Deckman discusses the use of social media and the importance of where people get their news in shaping these battles. PRRI's polling data show what parents and the...

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Towards the school you want to see: Plan, Act, Reflect, Repeat

We speak with Justin Cohen, whose work focuses on the intersections of education, race, privilege, and public policy. Cohen's recent book is Change Agents: Transforming Schools From the Ground Up. He looks at ways a faculty can systematically improve its school. Knowing the community and having honest and difficult conversations about race are critical.

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Challenging credentialism: An alternative vision of education

We speak with Arlene Goldbard, writer, visual artist, speaker, social activist and consultant, whose most recent book is "In the Camp of Angels of Freedom: What does it mean to be educated?" An autodidact from a working-class background, Arlene challenges "the certainty that academic qualifications are the best measure of ability." She interweaves the stories and portraits of her "angels," her personal story, and...

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Restorative Justice: Cultivating cohesive communities

We speak with Sarah Eblen and Reginald Berry Jr., former middle school teachers and now district coordinators for the restorative justice program in the Kansas City Public Schools. Eighty percent of RJ is community building and 20% conflict resolution. When there is a conflict, the RJ process ensures that everyone — students, teachers, and parents — feels heard. Since the program started, classroom behavior problems have decreased,...

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Intersections: Supporting Black LGBTQIA+ students

We speak with Dr. David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, NBJC, about the challenges faced by Black LGBTQIA+ students. Most young people at this intersection live in the South among other Black people, not in secular, gay-friendly cities like San Francisco or Hollywood.These young people face economic and cultural barriers to accessing mental health services, Dr. Johns explains how, rather than telling these...

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ChatGTP: Cheating optimizer or force for teaching transformation?

We speak with Lev Moscow and Richard Miller, veteran high school teachers, about the panic around the release of chatGPT. The AI tool produces respectable essays that students can pass off as their own. The best teachers already focus on process, and chatGPT could force all schools to change their approach.

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Climate anxiety: a generational plague

We speak with Lian Zeitz, co-founder of the Climate Mental Health Network, which promotes wellness in light of the climate crisis. According to a recent survey, 70% of young people are fearful for their future due to climate change. Teachers can foster wellness by interweaving insights into their curricula, and by instilling habits of hope and resilience. The Climate Mental Health Network prioritizes input from students, working...

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Norman Fruchter on the pioneering alternative high school he and colleagues built in Newark in the 1970s (Encore)

We speak with Norm Fruchter, long-time educational activist and thought leader, about Independence School, an experimental high school where the ideal was that someone walking into a classroom couldn’t tell the teacher from the students. We discuss lessons learned – and perhaps forgotten – about supporting students whose original schools failed them. Among the school’s strengths were authentic, enduring relationships among teachers and students, teaching strategies that...

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Gender and sexually diverse students: Creating comfortable schools (Encore)

We speak with Dr. Elizabeth J. Meyer of the University of Colorado about ensuring that K-12 schools are welcoming and safe for students with non-normative gender identities and expressions. Dr. Meyer found that these students thrive in schools that center student-directed learning and interdisciplinary exploration as opposed to schools that replicate society’s toxic hierarchies. Generally, students are much more...

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Climate education: not just for science class (Encore)

We speak with Dr. Deb L. Morrison, research scientist at the University of Washington School of Education, about centering climate science throughout the K-12 curriculum. Dr. Morrison talks about ClimeTime, a Washington State-funded program that teaches how to engage in climate science and climate justice education across disciplines, and describes nationally-available resources. She emphasizes the...

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Undocumented students: Keeping secrets, navigating obstacles

Dr. Gerardo Mancilla, associate professor in the School of Education at Edgewood College and host of Educators and Immigration podcast, reflects on his experiences as an undocumented student in the ‘90s. We discuss what has changed, and what hasn’t. Overview 00:00-00:40 Intros 00:40-09:15 Experiences as an undocumented student 09:15-12:03 Changes for undocumented students since the...

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Practicing ethics: Case studies (Encore)

We speak with Meira Levinson, Professor of Education at Harvard, about her website justiceinschools.org and books of “hard cases,” designed to help educators and youth workers think about the ethical implications of their decisions. Often, there are no perfect solutions, and  these decisions can have far-reaching consequences in children’s lives. A former teacher herself, Meira would like teachers to be able...

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Recruiting teachers of color: What works

We speak with Elizabeth Steiner, education policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, about diversifying the K-12 teacher workforce. Data consistently shows the benefits, especially to Black and Latiné students, of learning from teachers of color. Ms. Steiner discusses recruitment strategies advocated by teachers of color and other educators and researchers.

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Cultural responsiveness: is music optional?

We speak with Dr. Anne Smith, longtime music teacher in Northern Virginia, about accommodating cultural differences. Dr. Smith created an alternate curriculum for students whose traditions don’t allow secular music-making. We discuss the extent to which parents should be able to influence what their students learn. We also talk about why music and art are treated as lesser (“special”) subjects.

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The purpose of education: Educating for a solutionary future?

We welcome back Zoe Weil, president and co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, to speak about her recent Psychology Today column on the purpose of education. Although the official goal of many school systems is to prepare students for global competition, compassion, cooperation, and creativity are the qualities we should be emphasizing. A generation of solutionaries has a much better chance of creating a sustainable planet...

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Early childhood classes: Crucial (and endangered) developmental support

We talk with Lesley Koplow of the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College and Allison Demas, an instructional coordinator in the NYC Dept. of Education about the recent struggle in NYC to save social worker and IC positions and why these roles are so important for children's emotional and academic development.

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Reimagining the school system: Centering children, families, and teachers

Guest interviewer Lev Moscow joins Jon in conversation with Santiago Taveras, principal of Charter High School for Computer Engineering and Innovation and former deputy chancellor of the NYC Department of Education. Santi talks about false assumptions that school systems make about teachers, students, and parents. He discusses why so much professional development wastes teachers' time, why college for all is a misguided target, and why so much...

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Technology: What’s hype and what helps 

We speak with Dr. Justin Reich, director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, and host of the TeachLab podcast, about education technology. Hailed by some as the great equalizer, the beneficiaries of ed tech tend to be white and affluent. Focused on equity by design, Dr. Reich observes that when teachers learn, they have insufficient opportunities to practice. So he and his colleagues are creating digital clinical...

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Going public: Education scholars as policy advocates

We speak with Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, a founder of Education Deans for Justice and Equity and organizer of the International Conferences on Education and Justice. Dr. Kushimaro describes how education scholars across the country are forming professional communities, both to build their capacity and to speak collectively on issues of public policy, leveraging their research to promote justice and equity. He argues that progressives must cease...

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Looping: It’s all about the relationships

We speak with Dr. Leigh Wedenoja of the Rockefeller Institute of Government about the benefits to students of having a teacher for more than one year. Test scores improve, behavior problems subside, absenteeism decreases. Very few schools have intentional looping policies, but many students have a teacher more than once, especially in middle and high school.

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Descriptive inquiry: Teachers talking about hard subjects

We speak with Dr. Cecelia Traugh and Dr. Cara Furman, co-authors of “Descriptive Inquiry in Teacher Practice: Cultivating Practical Wisdom to Create Democratic Schools.” Descriptive inquiry is a structured, collaborative process in which teachers share and get practical feedback on classroom challenges. Breaking down teachers' isolation, descriptive inquiry encourages non-confrontational conversations about racial and other biases. Teachers benefit not only from the wisdom of their colleagues...

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Holistic education: Joy, wellness, and rigor (Encore)

We speak with Dr. Linda Nathan of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship and the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership about her experience in creating progressive schools. Dr. Nathan says all teachers, no matter their subject areas, should have expertise in teaching reading and students with moderate disabilities. The arts are central to her educational vision. Dr. Nathan talks about how to achieve predictable and collaborative authentic...

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Evolving demographics: Rural schools in transition

We speak with Dr. David Fine, school superintendent in Dover, a mostly white small town in rural Dutchess County, NY, where longtime residents have been joined by other families to create a more diverse and integrated demographic base. Dr. Fine emphasizes inclusivity, building close relationships with families, and encouraging student engagement in conversations across divides. As there are few social service or mental health programs nearby,...

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Solving chronic absence: A whole-school approach

We speak with Hedy N. Chang of Attendance Works, who describes the long-term impact on student success of chronic absence in all grades. Framing chronic absence as a truancy issue can increase alienation from school. Distinctions between excused and unexcused absences can unfairly penalize low-income students and students of color. Chronic absence rates may hit 40% this year. Ms. Chang discusses relationship-based strategies for mitigating absenteeism.

Listen

The attack on public education: Will public schools survive? (Encore)

We speak with University of South Carolina law professor Derek Black about the history of education as a core government service and the current wave of voucher laws in red states. Professor Black argues that these will permanently reduce education funding levels and threaten the very existence of public schools. We also talk about the #RedforEd resistance and the need to substantially increase funding for schools with...

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Translanguaging: Inviting the whole child into the classroom

We speak with Dr. Cecilia Espinosa and Dr. Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, co-authors of "Rooted in Strength: Using Translanguaging to Grow Multilingual Readers and Writers." Traditionally, teachers have brought language to students rather than accepting and acknowledging children's entire linguistic repertoires. Communities and families often have fluid language practices; when teachers impose strict separation of languages, they limit students’ creative and critical thought processes.

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Challenging censorship: Student journalists fight back

We speak with Hillary Davis, who runs the New Voices program at the Student Press Law Center, and Sara Fajardo, who experienced censorship firsthand at her high school. School administrators frequently prevent students from publishing articles or posts that might make parents nervous or "damage the school’s reputation." New Voices laws, which students shepherd through state legislatures, aim to guarantee freedom for student journalists.

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School behind bars: Meeting the needs of traumatized kids

We speak with Melissa Svigelj-Smith, graduate fellow at University of California at Santa Cruz, about her experience teaching high school students awaiting case outcomes at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. Meaningful communication with students' schools about records and students' social emotional needs was often very difficult. Ms. Svigelj-Smith talks about the ethical dilemma of wanting to advocate for improved resources for students without wanting more money...

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Students speak up: NYC Youth Agenda

We speak with students Eugenia Bamfo, Alexandra Rouvinetis, and Mukilan Muthukumar, members of the NYC Youth Agenda. Using citywide student survey data, Youth Agenda teams aggregated young people's needs to make recommendations to policymakers in five areas — housing security, food justice, mental health support, economic mobility, and leadership and civic engagement. Among the findings: large numbers of students are unaware of existing youth programs, many don't...

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Why Geoffrey Canada is wrong: Defending schools as democratic spaces

We speak with Dr. Brian Jones, director of the New York Public Library’s Center for Educators and Schools, which provides all sorts of free resources to teachers and school administrators. Public schools, for all their flaws, are centers of power and potential for teachers and parents. As a historian, Dr. Jones draws parallels between Booker T. Washington and Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone. In the...

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Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids (Encore)

Dr. Alan Singer, Dr. Pablo Muriel, and Gates Millennium Scholar Dennis Belen-Morales, three generations of teachers, describe how they center student activism in their project-based social studies and history classes while giving students the tools to pass the NYS Regents exams. Dr. Singer was Dr. Muriel’s professor in college, and Dr. Muriel was Mr. Belen-Morales’ high school teacher and college professor in turn. Now all three are...

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Abolitionist education: Creating liberatory spaces (Encore)

We speak with Swarthmore’s Dr. Edwin Mayorga, who explains how abolitionist classrooms and schools create “freedom as a place” in contrast to racial capitalism. Dr. Mayorga encourages educators to center joy and healing. We also discuss the corporatization of schools that reduces students to their test scores. Schools, as “localized nodes of political power,” should adopt democratic processes that cultivate voice, participation, and collaboration.

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Gender and sexually diverse students: Creating comfortable schools

We speak with Dr. Elizabeth J. Meyer of the University of Colorado about ensuring that K-12 schools are welcoming and safe for students with non-normative gender identities and expressions. Dr. Meyer found that these students thrive in schools that center student-directed learning and interdisciplinary exploration as opposed to schools that replicate society’s toxic hierarchies. Generally, students are much more comfortable talking about issues related to gender diversity...

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Indigenous erasure: The battle for inclusive state standards in South Dakota

Sherry Johnson, tribal education director for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, an Oceti Sakowin treaty tribe, talks about the efforts to have South Dakota’s students learn about Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota history and culture. South Dakota’s right wing governor and her appointees have rejected state standards that include critical thinking and accurate state history, sparking strong resistance.

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Students doing original research: Project-based learning in Ohio (Encore)

We speak with middle school teachers, Debbie Holecko and Claudia Bestor, and their former student, Rafel Alshakergi, about a student-led research project that led to ethical civic engagement. Rafel explains how the experience emboldened her to ask questions and “speak [her] mind.” The project, which got national attention, cut against Ohio’s high-stakes test orientation; many teachers are afraid to do project-based learning because Ohio doesn’t have tenure...

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National Sex Ed Standards: Equity and expanded comfort zones

We speak with Brittany McBride, Associate Director, Sexuality Education at Advocates for Youth, who partners with schools to provide the complete sex education that all students deserve. Though parents, students, and teachers largely agree on sex ed's importance, few teachers (other than health teachers and PE coaches) have any formal training, and many parents haven’t had sex ed themselves.

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Dismantling bias in schools: A multiyear model

We speak with Dr. John Pascarella, Chief Academic Officer of K-12 Professional Learning at USC Race and Equity Center. The Center works with schools to identify disparate outcomes for students and strategies to eliminate them. Dr. Pascarella discusses the need for educators to stand up against systemic bias as it occurs in daily school life. He points out that we need to be aware that we are...

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Mentors and passages: The power of teen-centric programs

We speak with Al Kurland, longtime leader of out-of-school-time programs in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights. Mr. Kurland founded youth programs that help teens to “rewrite their stories” with the support of adult and peer mentors. He collaborated with other local youth organizations, creating a cluster of empowering and horizon-broadening experiences for students, helping many expand "tunnel vision."

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From Skinner to computer-based education: Can machines teach?

We speak with independent journalist Audrey Watters, author of "Teaching machines: The history of personalized learning," about the origins of teaching machines and the pedagogies that incorporate mechanical devices for teaching and learning. Ms. Watters explains how BF Skinner’s emphasis on behaviorism, in combination with commercial opportunism, has led in some cases to the supplanting of teachers by computer software.

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Radical care: Leading with love

We speak with Dr. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen, associate professor of leadership studies at Lehman College, CUNY, about the importance of school leaders and teachers practicing radical care, including listening with intent and addressing skill gaps with honesty. Dr. Rivera-McCutchen talks about the importance of teachers getting to know the life of the neighborhoods around their schools.

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Efforts to ban books escalate: Tips for resistance

We speak with Dr. Richard Price, associate professor of political science at Weber State University, about recent attempts to ban books, especially those about GLBTQIA+ people and people of color, from classrooms and school libraries across the country. (Spoiler alert: it's not only in red states). Dr. Price offers strategies for teachers, principals, and school districts for responding to book challenges.

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Systemic racism in special education: Parent participation legitimizes inequities (Encore)

We continue our conversation with LaToya Baldwin Clark of UCLA School of Law. Dr. Baldwin Clark explains how the special education system advantages White middle class families. Poor families and families of color tend to lack cultural capital to navigate the system and advocate effectively for their children. While resources flow to White children with special needs, Black children tend to be stigmatized and placed in more...

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Policing attendance boundaries: Education as private property (Encore)

We speak with Dr. LaToya Baldwin Clark, assistant professor at UCLA School of Law. Dr. Baldwin Clark explains how school boundaries are used for racial exclusion. In many cases, schools don’t just reflect, but cause, segregated neighborhoods. Dr. Baldwin Clark argues that closing the education gap isn’t just about bringing up the bottom, but bringing down the top as well. Parents, teachers, and administrators need to work...

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Climate education: not just for science class

We speak with Dr. Deb L. Morrison, research scientist at the University of Washington School of Education, about centering climate science throughout the K-12 curriculum. Dr. Morrison talks about ClimeTime, a Washington State-funded program that teaches how to engage in climate science and climate justice education across disciplines, and describes nationally-available resources.  She emphasizes the importance of integrating society, technology, and science education and says that climate...

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Distortions and fabrications: The state of climate education

We speak with Katie Worth, investigative journalist and author of Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America. Ms. Worth explores what children across the country are taught, or not taught, about climate change. In 24 states, oil and gas company representatives teach children about the wonders of fossil fuels, downplaying or denying their climate impacts. With an eye on sales in Texas, textbooks falsely depict a...

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Doing democracy: School participatory budgeting

We speak with Dr. Danel Schugurensky and Tara Bartlett of Arizona State University and Madison Rock of the Center for the Future of Arizona about school participatory budgeting in Arizona and worldwide. Students, and sometimes parents and school staff, determine how a pool of money will be spent. By participating in democratic, meaningful decision-making, students become acclimated to civic engagement. Trust and other positive elements of...

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Gender Inclusivity: Where Science and Ethics Intersect (Encore)

We speak with high school science teachers and trans men, Sam Long and Lewis Maday-Travis, who have developed resources and trainings to help biology teachers develop gender-inclusive curricula. Science tells us that sexual and gender diversity is both normal and positive.

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Changing school culture: The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM)

We continue our conversation with Dr. David Osher of the American Institutes for Research, delving deeper into the CBAM approach to school culture change. Dr Osher describes a study he and colleagues conducted, following every student who had been suspended in New York City over ten years. The study confirmed that exclusionary suspension has damaging impacts throughout a student’s academic career and beyond and has damaging impact on other students in the...

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The right to thrive: Expanding our definition of equity

We speak with Dr. David Osher of the American Institutes for Research. Dr. Osher explains his view of robust equity, that all people deserve to thrive, and that thriving occurs holistically over the course of a lifetime, and even intergenerationally. People thrive in concert with others.  We discuss the conditions in a school that foster both individual and group thriving, and those that don’t, in particular, exclusionary discipline. This is Part One of a two part interview.

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Anna Allanbrook on Brooklyn New School: Centering children, marginalizing tests (Encore)

We speak with Anna Allanbrook, longtime principal of Brooklyn New School (BNS). Learning at BNS is inquiry-based and cross-disciplinary. As well, BNS is known as the “opt-out school” because 95% of families opt out of standardized testing. The school offers no test preparation.

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The People’s Education: Freire, dialogue, and democracy

We continue our conversation with Dr. Carlos Torres, Distinguished Professor at UCLA and Founding Director of the Paulo Freire Institute. Dr. Torres speaks about Freire’s contention that communities should define the work that goes on in schools. He explains Freire’s emphasis on dialogue as integral to education. Whereas Dewey focused on children and the tools to instill democratic values and critical thinking, Freire was most interested in...

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Global citizenship education: Building on the legacy of Paulo Freire

We speak with Carlos Alberto Torres, Distinguished Professor at UCLA. Dr. Torres worked closely with Paulo Freire and now directs the UCLA Paulo Freire Institute. He argues that we need to create a model of ethics education that combines social justice and natural justice, or sustainability. Freire viewed the planet as an oppressed entity. We talk about creating a political culture in our schools that centers peace...

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Engaging young black men in school: What we can learn from art class (Encore)

Dr. Don Siler, a researcher and inservice teacher educator, himself a former high school dropout, discusses how art classrooms invite students to be themselves, to explore their lived experiences, and to work on projects that mean something to them. Student engagement in the art classroom can be leveraged across subject areas by incorporating both the arts and art-based pedagogy throughout the curriculum. Student outcomes improve when we...

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Math literacy: Every student’s right (Part 2)

We continue our conversation with Dr. Terri Bucci of the Mathematics Literacy Initiative at OSU’s Mansfield campus. Dr. Bucci observes that we rarely ask children how they learn best. MLI’s implementation of the Algebra Project changes the classroom culture, giving agency to even the youngest students. “We have to get rid of 'sharecropper education.'" Dr. Bucci talks about the constitutional amendment that Bob Moses envisioned, guaranteeing...

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Math literacy: Every student’s right

We speak with Dr. Terri Bucci of the Mathematics Literacy Initiative at Ohio State University, Mansfield. Beginning in kindergarten, the MLI builds on Bob Moses’s Algebra Project. Like reading and writing literacies, students need to understand the language of math to succeed in today’s world. Through shared experiences and reflections, the MLI makes math accessible and fun. This is Part One of a two-part interview.

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Malign neglect: School systems fail immigrant students

We welcome back Stephanie Carnes, a school social worker who has worked extensively with Central American immigrant students and their families. School systems are designed for homogenous student populations, rather than the diverse reality. Despite new immigrants’ high motivation levels, they often fail for lack of support. School social workers could help design asset-based programs but often aren’t given a seat at the table.

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Leaving students behind: The tyranny of testing

Bob Schaeffer, Executive Director of FairTest, talks about high-stakes standardized tests as barriers to equal opportunity. Fairer college admissions criteria are increasing admissions diversity, but well-funded supporters of high-stakes tests are still resisting replacement of the tests in elementary and secondary schools. Many schools eliminated high-stakes testing during the pandemic, and FairTest supports making high-stakes waivers or repeals permanent.

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Theory meets practice: no magic carrots

We continue our conversation with Dr. Garrett Broad of Fordham University, talking about high school and college students' experiences working with non-profits and about what students know/should learn about food and food justice. Students often join non-profits with unrealistic expectations. There are tensions between keeping the organization afloat and pursuing radical change.There are no silver bullets; entrenched problems have complex solutions.

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Identity vs branding: The power of messiness

Part One of a two-part interview. We speak with Dr. Garrett Broad of Fordham University about social media and how it informs student outlooks. One of Dr. Broad’s key objectives is to help students to be comfortable with the messiness--the fluidity and complexity--of identity and to resist the pressure to be fully formed, branded. High school teachers can help students to understand the factors that shape people's...

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Transitions to adulthood: Supporting teens with mental health issues

We speak with Dr. Marsha Ellison and Evelyn Frankford about assisting students with serious mental health challenges make transitions from high school. These students often don’t receive the supports they want and need, especially finding work or navigating college disability accommodations. Long-term relationships with a knowledgeable adult and positive youth development strategies can make a difference—but require commitments of time and money.

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”No excuses” charter schools: Teaching to the script

We speak with Dr. Joanne Golann of Vanderbilt University, author of "Scripting the Moves: Culture and Control in a No Excuses Charter School.” Corporate-run charter networks instill obedience and conformity above all else, leaving nothing to chance (or creativity). We look at the academic and social outcomes of "no excuses" schools, and the reasons for their lavish funding.

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Disrupting power structures: Organizing youth for equity in schools

We speak with Keith Catone, executive director of CYCLE, the Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education at Roger Williams University. CYCLE helps students, those who are most affected by school policies, to destabilize systemic power hierarchies, and encourages teachers to adopt an "organizing disposition." Through trainings and ongoing support, CYCLE helps community youth organizations to build capacity, alliances, and power to achieve equity-based change.

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The power of happiness: A Buddhist approach to secular education

We speak with Drs. Isabel Nuñez and Jason Goulah, editors of "Hope and Joy in Education: Engaging Daisaku Ikeda across curriculum and context." According to Ikeda, the internationally-famous Buddhist philosopher, education should first and foremost engender happiness and instill habits of global citizenship. Drs. Nuñez and Goulah talk about implications for teachers' classroom practice.

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The Algebra Project: Bob Moses on math literacy as a Civil Right (Encore)

Bob Moses died this week. In memoriam, we repost our interview with him from February 2020. The Algebra Project founder and president--and lead organizer of the famous 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer voting rights campaign--talked about math literacy as an organizing tool to guarantee quality public school education for all children. He described the Algebra Project’s strategies to connect math to students’ life experiences and everyday language.

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Savage inequalities: How school funding intentionally privileges white, wealthy communities (Encore)

Zahava Stadler, Policy Director of EdBuild, explains how housing discrimination and state funding policies disadvantage Black and low-income districts. EdBuild has reported on funding schemes throughout the country, documenting a $23 billion annual funding gap between White districts and districts of color. Ms. Stadler describes how states could allocate education dollars more equitably, benefitting at least 70% of students.

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Teaching differently about being “modern”: Questioning Western mindsets

In our guest episode of Lev Moscow's podcast, A Correction, Professor Walter Mignolo of Duke discusses decoloniality, a radically different way of thinking and teaching which rejects the "naturalness" of racial capitalism and its development. Lev and Dr. Mignolo discuss what this can look like in high school and college classrooms.

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Addressing teachers’ trauma; plus, antiracist teaching in a white classroom

We speak with Shayla Ewing, English and drama teacher in Pekin, Illinois, about supporting teachers experiencing secondary and primary trauma, which the pandemic intensified. We also talk about the how and why of teaching about white privilege in an all-white classroom.

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The attack on public education: Will public schools survive?

We speak with University of South Carolina law professor Derek Black about the history of education as a core government service and the current wave of voucher laws in red states. Professor Black argues that these will permanently reduce education funding levels and threaten the very existence of public schools. We also talk about the #RedforEd resistance and the need to substantially increase funding for schools with...

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Authentic history: Too uncomfortable for white kids?

We speak with Betty Collins, eighth grade teacher in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. Ms. Collins speaks about conservatives' hostility to Critical Race Theory, which looks at the role of systemic racism in US history. We discuss a just-enacted law in Oklahoma that tries to ban teaching history that may make any students "uncomfortable" and how unions and educators are responding.

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Air quality in schools: At the intersection of technology and equity

We speak with Anisa Heming and Corey Metzger of the U.S. Green Building Council and ASHRAE about a new report on schools' efforts around the country to protect against COVID-19 by improving indoor air quality. Like so much else about schools, air quality comes down to resources, in this case, for infrastructure and maintenance. Also, there has been no central source of reliable information for district administrators....

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Holistic education: Joy, wellness, and rigor

We speak with Dr. Linda Nathan of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship and the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership about her experience in creating progressive schools. Dr. Nathan says all teachers, no matter their subject areas, should have expertise in teaching reading and students with moderate disabilities. The arts are central to her educational vision. Dr. Nathan talks about how to achieve predictable and collaborative authentic...

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Black men as teachers: Recruitment, retention, development, empowerment

We speak with Dr. Daman Harris and Dr. Inger Swimpson of Building Our Network of Diversity, the BOND Project, in Montgomery County MD, which provides spaces for Black and Latino men to support one another in their teaching and their lives. Although having Black teachers benefits Black and white children alike, U.S. schools have few Black teachers, and even fewer Black men. BOND works to make...

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Creating antiracist classrooms: Listening and other essential skills

We speak with Dr. Steven Cohen of Tuft's Department of Education about helping teachers to think critically about race and class.. He talks about the importance of listening to students over time, even watching the media they watch, to get a better understanding of their life experiences. He describes how to create fair strategies for resolving conflicts and for grading and he explains how to introduce...

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Critical analysis: not just for students

We speak with Dr. Sam Abrams of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Abrams describes his analyses of statistics released by local and national education systems and widely disseminated by the media. Sometimes the reports are wrong or misleading, which can have serious consequences...

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Building communities of trust: transforming family-school relationships

We talk with Dr. Ann Ishimaru of the University of Washington about correcting the power imbalance between schools and low-income families and families of color. We also discuss “learning loss” and why families of color are much more reluctant than white families to return to in-person learning as the pandemic eases.

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Creative problem solving: Developing solutionary thinkers

We welcome back Zoe Weil, of the Institute for Humane Education, along with Laura Trongard, Oceanside (NY) High School teacher to discuss how teachers are implementing IHE’s Solutionary program. Laura describes how students adopt habits of solutionary thinking in their schoolwork and their lives. Zoe talks about IHE’s new micro-credential program, an online course that prepares teachers to use the solutionary framework. The new edition of...

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Research in schools (Part 2): Safeguarding the data

We continue our conversation with Marianna Azar, director of NYC Department of Education’s Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). This week, Ms. Azar discusses the potential privacy dangers created by collection and dissemination of research data, strategies to combat them, and the need to strengthen the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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Students as subjects: Ethical considerations of research in schools

We talk with Marianna Azar, Director and Chair of the NYC DOE's Institutional Review Boards. The IRBs review all research proposals conducted through the schools to make sure they are conducted ethically and that the benefits to the students outweigh any burdens. In Part 1 of a 2-part interview, Ms. Azar describes how the IRBs work and their impact on researchers, schools, students and parents. Next week...

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Ethical outreach: a parent coordinator anchors immigrant families

We speak with Herminia (Ita) Saldana, parent coordinator at MS 328, a middle school in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Every public school in NYC has a parent coordinator. Virtually all of the MS 328 students are current English Language Learners or have tested out of ELL status. As parent coordinator, Ita encourages and facilitates parent engagement as both advocate and navigator. She also helps recent immigrant families to...

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Making antiracist change: A template for educational leaders

We speak with Dr. Sarah Diem of University of Missouri and Dr. Anjalé Welton of University of Wisconsin, Madison. They discuss the seemingly neutral "colorevasive" policies that actually reinforce racial inequity. Drs. Diem and Welton present an action protocol for school and district leaders who seek to create antiracist schools.

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Grief and loss: Supporting students, families, and teachers in a pandemic (encore)

As of today, March 31st, 2021, over 550,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. We're reposting our conversation with Cynthia Trapanese former grief counselor, now teacher, who explains that the adults in a school need to grapple with their own losses in order to help children and families.

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Exacerbating inequality: Private money in public schools

We speak with Dr. Sue Winton of York University in Toronto about the effects of private money--much of it from parents- that replaces decreased public funding of schools. Fundraisers and fees for special programs benefit affluent schools and the children who already have the most access to opportunities. Low income parents often feel pressure to donate beyond their means for their children's sake.

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Shared visions: Creating an abolitionist school culture

We continue our conversation with Grace Alli Brandstein, a school improvement and instructional coach supporting struggling high schools in the Bronx. This week, Ms. Brandstein focuses on humane, antiracist education, and explains Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s construct of literacy as identity, skills, intellect, criticality, and joy. She also speaks about the conditions for successful adult learning, giving teachers the training they need to lead one another and the...

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The bigger picture: High school improvement in the Bronx

We speak with Grace Alli Brandstein, an improvement and instructional coach with the New York City Department of Education. Ms. Brandstein works with Bronx high schools that the State has designated as needing support. This is part one of a two part interview. Today, we discuss challenges teachers and students at these schools face, and their everyday achievements. Ms. Brandstein talks about the impacts, both positive and...

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Toward antiracism: The evolution of an undergraduate teacher ed program

We speak with Dr. Marsha Daria of Western Connecticut State University. Dr. Daria teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of Education and Educational Psychology. She explains how in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, the department reconfigured its curriculum to center social justice, equity, and self-reflection. She discusses the department's recruitment initiatives to increase teacher candidate diversity.

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Teaching the “isms”: Students’ lived experiences in context

We speak with Jillian McRae and Sam North, English and history teachers at Ossining (NY) High School, and their student, Alaysha. For 15 years, Sam and Jillian have co-taught a college-level course called "racism, sexism, and classism: a popular approach." They focus on pervasive systems of power, and encourage students to discuss their own experiences of privilege, disadvantage, and intersectionality.

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Antiracist school leadership: Courage and commitment

Dr. Bradley Carpenter, associate professor of educational leadership at Baylor University, speaks about developing and supporting antiracist school principals. Very few leadership prep programs prioritize or embed antiracism principles or practices. A principal committed to centering antiracism needs to have a full equity audit of existing curriculum and practices and to lead faculty members through the emotionally laborious process of examining everyone’s own privileges...

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Early childhood education: It is play, but it is not “babysitting”

We speak with Michele Washington, longtime early childhood lecturer at Lehman College, about expertise at the preschool level. Head Start, pre-K, and 3-K teachers can support children and families in myriad ways once parents or guardians trust them. Cultural humility is essential; teachers need to understand and respect their children's families and communities.

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Student record privacy: Danger looms from police and hackers

We speak with Mark Lieberman, Education Week tech reporter. Pasco County FL schools give the sheriff records of students deemed "destined to a life of crime." NYS Education Department funded facial recognition of school visitors to schools. Hackers hold district data hostage for ransom. We discuss legal and ethical privacy issues in the age of tech, including the dilemmas for teachers if a "D" leads to a...

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Districtwide decisions: Day to day ethical considerations

We speak with Dan Callahan, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education in Peekskill City School District, 45 minutes north of Manhattan. The low-income district in wealthy Westchester is 70% Latino, including many students from immigrant families. We discuss how the district has adapted to rapid demographic changes and schools' role in helping students meet challenges. Mr. Callahan reflects on the decisions he and his staff make that impact...

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UPDATE: Moving toward admissions equity and culture change at Manhattan’s Beacon High School

We speak with Beacon PTA members Toni Smith-Thompson and Robin Broshi about NYC’s new requirements and the school's proposed admission plan. Then we listen back to last June's interview with activist students from the Beacon Union of Unions.

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Systemic racism in special education: Parent participation legitimizes inequities

We continue our conversation with LaToya Baldwin Clark of UCLA School of Law. Dr. Baldwin Clark explains how the special education system advantages White middle class families. Poor families and families of color tend to lack cultural capital to navigate the system and advocate effectively for their children. While resources flow to White children with special needs, Black children tend to be stigmatized and placed...

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Policing attendance boundaries: Education as private property

We speak with Dr. LaToya Baldwin Clark, assistant professor at UCLA School of Law. Dr. Baldwin Clark explains how school boundaries are used for racial exclusion. In many cases, schools don’t just reflect, but cause, segregated neighborhoods. Dr. Baldwin Clark argues that closing the education gap isn’t just about bringing up the bottom, but bringing down the...

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Supporting English Learners: pandemic and post-pandemic solutions

We speak with Dr. Julie Sugarman of the Migration Policy Institute about meeting the needs of English Learners. We discuss the meaning and implications of ELs “falling behind” during virtual instruction and difficulties administering upcoming English language proficiency tests. Dr. Sugarman talks about a model for incorporating ELs into planning. She also talks about what is lost (and gained) through technology, given the importance of personal relationships...

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Students as experts: Diversity, equity, and inclusion

We speak with Dr. Judith King-Calnek, United Nations International School’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Since UNIS faculty and students come from all over the world, they draw on one another’s backgrounds and lived experience in presenting and analyzing social issues. Faculty, parents, alumni, and, especially, students are involved in new DEI initiatives. Students are actually writing curriculum, providing feedback, and delivering DEI modules to...

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Dodging responsibility for our children: Reducing learning to test scores

We speak with Samuel E. Abrams of Teachers College, Columbia University. The root problems in K12 education — including poverty-related stress and underpaid and underprepared teachers — are pervasive and expensive to fix. So instead, the U.S. has  adopted a “commercial mindset,” measuring success through standardized test scores and increasingly outsourcing school management to for-profit and nonprofit corporations. Dr. Abrams explains what we can...

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Students doing original research: Project-based learning in Ohio

We speak with middle school teachers, Debbie Holecko and Claudia Bestor, and their former student, Rafel Alshakergi, about a student-led research project that led to ethical civic engagement. Rafel explains how the experience emboldened her to ask questions and “speak [her] mind." The project, which got national attention, cut against Ohio's high-stakes test orientation; many teachers are afraid to do project-based learning because Ohio doesn't have tenure...

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Abolitionist education: Creating liberatory spaces (Part Two)

We continue our conversation with Dr. Edwin Mayorga of Swarthmore College. We discuss the corporatization of schools that reduces students to their test scores. Dr. Mayorga encourages educators to center joy and healing. Schools should be liberatory rather than places that are too often focused on punishment and surveillance. Schools, as "localized nodes of political power,” should adopt democratic processes that cultivate voice, participation, and collaboration. As...

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Abolitionist education: Creating liberatory spaces (Part One)

We speak with Swarthmore's Dr. Edwin Mayorga, who explains how abolitionist classrooms and schools create "freedom as a place" in contrast to racial capitalism. Teachers are the lead inquirers and try to "move at the speed of trust," helping to create classrooms full of joy. Edwin describes Philadelphia's Kensington Health Sciences Academy as a school where teaching and learning are based on establishing relationships of mutual...

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BIPOC and undocumented: A trauma-filled intersection

Dr. Christiana Best, who spent thirty years in the New York City child welfare system before becoming a full-time academic, discusses her personal experience of being left behind in Granada while her mother settled in the US. Dr. Best, now an assistant professor of social work at St. Joseph’s, delves into the difficulties of providing holistic support to immigrant children and families, who are (justifiably) hesitant to...

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The impact of deportation policies on Latinx students’ mental health

Dr. Randy Capps, Director of Research for U.S. Programs at the Migration Policy Institute, surveyed Latinx high school students to see how fear of deportation – of their parents, relatives, friends, or themselves – impacts their mental health. The students, roughly half foreign-born and half US-born, suffered anxiety, depression, and PTSD at significantly higher rates than other students their age. Strong bonds immigrant students formed with one...

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Empowering school counselors to support struggling students

Dr. Mandy Savitz-Romer of Harvard Graduate School of Education sees counselors as schools' academic conscience, the hub for providing holistic support to students. To be effective, they need a seat at the leadership table. Respondents in Savitz-Romer's 1000-counselor survey described obstacles and successes in serving students during the pandemic.

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Holistic history: The African diaspora

Dr. Kim Butler, who leads Rutgers's Africana Studies program, says that while we usually teach history and social studies in discreet, testable units, events are complex and interconnected. Slavery throughout the Americas was central to the development of capitalism. Dr. Butler describes how working class students often can't choose a liberal arts education because they have to focus on getting jobs.

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