Podcast Episode

Parent voice: Supporting families with special needs

Parent voice: Supporting families with special needs

 
 
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Ellen McHugh, long time activist and Public Advocate Williams’s appointee to the NYC Citywide Council on Special Education, delves into the challenges facing parents of students with special education needs. Ethical relationships among educators, parents, and the students themselves are crucial to these students’ success. Too often educators minimize the importance of parental input even though the law requires that they be equal partners in their children’s educational planning. Remote and hybrid learning has added new obstacles to and opportunities for partnerships between parents and educators.

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Parent voice: Supporting families with special needs

 
 
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Anti-racism: Lessons for the classroom and faculty lounge

Anti-racism: Lessons for the classroom and faculty lounge

 
 
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We speak with Mica Pollock about US vs Hate and Schooltalk. Student anti-racism messaging in any medium can catalyze youth activism. Comments embedded in teachers’ everyday communication can impact students’ lifetime trajectories.

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Anti-racism: Lessons for the classroom and faculty lounge

 
 
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Consumption as ethics: Talking with students about food

Consumption as ethics: Talking with students about food

 
 
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We welcome back Monica Chen of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. She describes the animal-agricultural complex that exploits workers in meatpacking plants and animals in factory farms and devastates communities and the environment. Monica introduces FFAC’s culturally-competent virtual lessons and presentations for students from middle school through university, customized for all subject areas. Students who want to become social justice activists, with food as the hub that connects worker rights, sustainability, and environmental racism can apply to FFAC’s intern program.

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Consumption as ethics: Talking with students about food

 
 
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Busting out of the classroom: Connecting local history to everyday life

Busting out of the classroom: Connecting local history to everyday life

 
 
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Social studies teacher David Edelman and student Raúl Baez speak about their class’s “Virtual Walking Tour of Slavery in New York City” and other projects in which students become teachers. David’s goal is to instill curiosity and encourage students to connect history to their lived experiences. He shares suggestions for virtual teaching and teacher collaboration.

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Busting out of the classroom: Connecting local history to everyday life

 
 
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Food injustice: The corporatization of school meals

Food injustice: The corporatization of school meals

 
 
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We speak with Monica Chen, veteran teacher and executive director of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. Monica tells us how cow’s milk became a staple in school lunches even though most children of color do not have the ability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. She explains how checkoff programs like Got milk? mislead the American public into thinking these are healthy foods for human children.

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Food injustice: The corporatization of school meals

 
 
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Audit culture: The dehumanization of education

Audit culture: The dehumanization of education

 
 
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World renowned educational consultant Bill Stroud talks about schooling within our capitalist culture and the impact that on-line learning will have on teachers’ autonomy and teacher-student relationships. He discusses similarities and differences among classrooms in different countries, the potential impact of the Movement for Black Lives on schools, and what envisioning a different system of schools would look like.

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Audit culture: The dehumanization of education

 
 
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Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 2

Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 2

 
 
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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 at Hofstra University. Part 2 of a two-part series that contains lots of specific strategies for teachers and passion for civics education.

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Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 2

 
 
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Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 1

Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 1

 
 
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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 high school teacher, and Dr. Muriel was Mr. Belen-Morales’ teacher in turn. Now all three are at Hofstra University. Part 1 of a two-part series that contains lots of specific strategies for teachers and passion for civics education.

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Supporting student civic activism: Social studies on steroids – Part 1

 
 
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Police and metal detectors in schools: Student perspectives

Police and metal detectors in schools: Student perspectives

 
 
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Nia Morgan and Anahi Ortiz Fierros of Urban Youth Collaborative describe how police and metal detectors humiliate and traumatize students. The story of the “fork in the backpack” illustrates the system’s absurdity. And while NYC school arrests are down overall, Black and Latinx students are arrested at much higher rates than white students. NYS legislature considers Solutions Not Suspensions Act. Campaigns for police-free schools are taking place around the country.

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Police and metal detectors in schools: Student perspectives

 
 
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*UPDATE* Civics education: A Constitutional right?

*UPDATE* Civics education: A Constitutional right?

 
 
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Last year we interviewed Mark Santow, one of the plaintiffs suing the State of Rhode Island under the 14th Amendment for failing to provide some students civics curricula and other components of an adequate education. After we revisit our interview, Dr. Santow updates us on the suit and reflects on the lawsuit’s particular relevance at a time of pandemic and the Mobilization for Black Lives.

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*UPDATE* Civics education: A Constitutional right?

 
 
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Too Late For Reform: Abolishing the Police in Schools

Too Late For Reform: Abolishing the Police in Schools

 
 
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Toni Smith-Thompson, Senior Organizer at NY Civil Liberties Union, discusses the importance of replacing police presence in schools with restorative practices. Toni envisions ethical schools, in which all students feel both appreciated by and accountable to school communities, and conflicts are resolved internally. Students returning to school, many of whom will have experienced trauma associated with the pandemic and police violence, will need nurturing, not punitive measures.

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Too Late For Reform: Abolishing the Police in Schools

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

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

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

 
 
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Reimagining college admissions: Performance assessment pilot at CUNY

Reimagining college admissions: Performance assessment pilot at CUNY

 
 
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Dr. Michelle Fine speaks about better alternatives to standardized tests for students to demonstrate college-readiness. NYC’s Consortium Schools, which use Performance Based Assessment Tasks, collaborated with CUNY to open CUNY’s 4-year colleges to more low-income Black and Latinx applicants. Students, especially Black males, did better at college than test score-admitted peers. Dr. Fine gives a passionate call for democratic school cultures based on student initiated work and collaborative revision.

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Reimagining college admissions: Performance assessment pilot at CUNY

 
 
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Students demand equity and inclusion: call for admissions, curriculum, counseling changes

Students demand equity and inclusion: call for admissions, curriculum, counseling changes

 
 
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Manhattan’s Beacon High School students are fighting for racial equity in NYC’s highly segregated school system. Three student activists talk about their experiences in the elite public school, the student-led demonstrations and teach ins, and the Beacon Union of Unions’ comprehensive list of demands.

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Students demand equity and inclusion: call for admissions, curriculum, counseling changes

 
 
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Crises and opportunity: A holistic approach to supporting and empowering youth

Crises and opportunity: A holistic approach to supporting and empowering youth

 
 
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In light of the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted BIPOC, and BLM uprisings, we’re revisiting Jon’s interview with Jason Warwin of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. COVID-19 has devastated Bro/Sis’s community of Black and Brown youth and their families. And despite the pandemic, Bro/Sis staff and members are joining protests to demand systemic change. We’ll check in with Jason and then listen to the interview from last June.

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Crises and opportunity: A holistic approach to supporting and empowering youth

 
 
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Challenging hierarchies: The role of the social justice teacher educator

Challenging hierarchies: The role of the social justice teacher educator

 
 
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Dr. Sherry Deckman speaks about creating classroom environments that challenge cultural and social hierarchies. Teachers need to be aware of the lenses through which they view the world and their students, especially lenses that center Whiteness. She discusses everyday anti-racism for educators and creating humanizing spaces for all students, as well as the isolation that teacher educators of color often feel.

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Challenging hierarchies: The role of the social justice teacher educator

 
 
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Why teach history? Knowing “why” shapes “how”

Why teach history? Knowing “why” shapes “how”

 
 
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Richard Miller, who taught in progressive NYC secondary schools for 28 years, talks about teaching students to think like historians, weighing different sources and drawing their conclusions from evidence. The past gives context to the present, and understanding historiography, or how history is interpreted over time, equips students to view current issues from multiple perspectives.

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Why teach history? Knowing “why” shapes “how”

 
 
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Therapeutic crisis intervention: a consultant’s role in creating an ethical school culture

Therapeutic crisis intervention: a consultant’s role in creating an ethical school culture

 
 
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Misha Thomas, longtime consultant with Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools, discusses how schools can develop trauma-informed systems for resolving behavioral conflicts and crises. He explains that schools should prioritize a culture of trust and authenticity, and establish school wide expectations that crises will be explored in context of students’ lived experiences. As an outside consultant, Misha freely shares with clients his observations on systemic issues.

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Therapeutic crisis intervention: a consultant’s role in creating an ethical school culture

 
 
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The principal as “keeper of the vision”: Fostering and protecting an ethical community

Jill Herman, founding principal of East Side Community H.S, now at Bank Street College, raises essential questions: To whom should a principal be accountable? How can social emotional learning and academics be integrated? What do we mean by an ethical school?

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The principal as “keeper of the vision”: Fostering and protecting an ethical community

 
 
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Student stories: SEL through writing and sharing lived experiences

Keith Hefner and Betsy Cohen of Youth Communication discuss their 40-year-old organization. Professional editors help students develop personal stories, which are shared with their peers. Writers experience self-reflection, readers develop empathy and gain strength from knowing others’ experiences, and teachers acquire better understanding of their students. Youth Communication also offers curricula and materials for teachers to implement.

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Student stories: SEL through writing and sharing lived experiences

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

Cynthia Trapanese, a teacher who spent 17 years as a pediatric chaplain, observes that we are all grieving right now, and that adults need to be aware of their own feelings of loss in order to help children and families effectively. During this period of isolation, children miss not only extended family, especially grandparents, but also their friends, classrooms, and the details of their school days. The impact of prolonged separation from school will be long-lasting. Cynthia is holding webinars for teachers and parents, and shares tips and resources with us.

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

 
 
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Culturally responsive practice and SEL: Effective professional development and programs

Dr. Heather C. Hill of Harvard Graduate School of Education looks at the research on culturally responsive education and SEL programs. She examines components of successful professional development programs, and how they apply to SEL and CRE. Well-designed curricula give teachers a framework on which to build and perhaps self-reflect. Daily classroom practices that build trust and engagement are important. Even if the professional development is high quality and teachers embrace the strategies, principal leadership and support is critical for learned practices to continue over time.

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Culturally responsive practice and SEL: Effective professional development and programs

 
 
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Vulnerable students’ needs and rights in pandemic: Threats and opportunities

Diana MTK Autin, parent advocacy leader, describes how distance learning fails to meet the needs of many students and exacerbates inequities. She leads several organizations that help parents advocate effectively for their own families and also for systemic change. The pandemic’s impacts are likely to be felt by students for a long time, and unless students’ rights are defended, long-standing legal protections may be weakened with devastating effects.

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Vulnerable students’ needs and rights in pandemic: Threats and opportunities

 
 
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High school sports: Ethical challenges and considerations

Master basketball coach Mark Jerome speaks candidly about social emotional complexities in sports culture and how his own ethical sensitivities have evolved over his decades of playing, coaching, and parenting. Mark describes enormous inequities in schools’ sports resources and discusses bullying and abusive parental behavior, as well as what he loves about basketball.

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High school sports: Ethical challenges and considerations

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

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 broaden the ways in which students get information, process the information, and demonstrate their understanding of the information.

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

 
 
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Text guided literacy: Literature as experience in English class

Dr. Anthony Johnston, associate professor of education at University of St. Joseph, explains text guided literacy as a framework for teaching literature. A former English teacher, Dr. Johnston resists the current emphasis on close reading. Text guided literacy encourages readers to extrapolate from the text, to take the perspective of a fictional or historical character, and to make connections between the text and their own lives. As well, empathy is a catalyst for ethical actions.

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Text guided literacy: Literature as experience in English class

 
 
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Creating a safe haven: Changing lives after school

Jason Garcia of SoBro, a South Bronx community-based organization, describes how after school staff members help young people deal with the effects of trauma. Staff members teach content, guide students through transitions, and help students build long term relationships. SoBro’s youth workers wear many hats — guidance counselor, social worker, referral source — filling in where schools and families lack resources.

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Creating a safe haven: Changing lives after school

 
 
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Teaching as research: Auto-ethnography of a pioneering bilingual teacher educator

Dr. Carmen Mercado, CUNY professor emeritus, talks with us about the importance of self-study, sharing diverse perspectives in class, and reflective writing in her own development and that of her students. She shares her experiences as one of the first bilingual classroom teachers and teacher educators in NYC. Carmen’s book, “Navigating teacher education in complex and uncertain times: connecting communities of practice in a borderless world,” was published in 2019.

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Teaching as research: Auto-ethnography of a pioneering bilingual teacher educator

 
 
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Post-Graduation Planning: Helping students to explore myriad options

Lindsey Dixon, Director of Career Readiness at Urban Assembly, talks about helping students make more informed college and career decisions. The current model is restrictive and outdated, leading to suboptimal outcomes for the majority of students. Hands-on experiences and self-reflection programs can help young people better prepare for fulfilling careers and lives.

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Post-Graduation Planning: Helping students to explore myriad options

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

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

 
 
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Centering SEL for social and economic mobility

David Adams is Director of Social Emotional Learning at NYC’s Urban Assembly, a network of schools that does not screen students. David focuses on the intersection of academic and technical skills, social-emotional competencies, and career development to create social/economic mobility. Students must have a relationship with the teacher or the content for optimal learning. Perspective-taking is central to ethical development. Schools have to “know their ‘why’” and be able to explain it in plain language.

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Centering SEL for social and economic mobility

 
 
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The Algebra Project: Bob Moses on math literacy as a civil right – Part 2

The Algebra Project founder and president–and lead organizer of the famous 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer voting rights campaign–talks about math literacy as an organizing tool to guarantee quality public school education for all children. Bob Moses describes the Algebra Project’s strategies to connect math to students’ life experiences and everyday language. The interview is divided into two episodes.

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The Algebra Project: Bob Moses on math literacy as a civil right – Part 2

 
 
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The Algebra Project: Bob Moses on math literacy as a civil right – Part 1

The Algebra Project founder and president–and lead organizer of the famous 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer voting rights campaign–talks about math literacy as an organizing tool to guarantee quality public school education for all children. Bob Moses describes the Algebra Project’s strategies to connect math to students’ life experiences and everyday language. The interview is divided into two episodes.

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The Algebra Project: Bob Moses on math literacy as a civil right – Part 1

 
 
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Navigating college and career pathways: Self-knowledge, preparation, and parameters

Maud Abeel, nationally-recognized education consultant, focuses on college and career readiness for middle and high school students, including “match and fit.” The earlier the students begin to think about postsecondary options, the better. There are myriad resources for students and their families, many of them free and online. Maud discusses cohorts, groups of high school classmates who enter college together and support one another, increasing their likelihood of success. She also talks about obstacles and dilemmas counselors face, including overwhelming caseloads.

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Navigating college and career pathways: Self-knowledge, preparation, and parameters

 
 
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Black and Latinx students, institutional racism, and the carceral continuum

Dr. Carla Shedd, associate professor of sociology and urban education at The Graduate Center, CUNY, studies the interactions with institutions of low-income Black and Latinx students and how institutional racism impacts children from even before birth. Children who attend integrated schools have sharper awareness of inequities than their counterparts in segregated schools and communities. The “carceral continuum” is more comprehensive than the “school to prison pipeline” and comprises all encounters with institutions. Carla also talks about professionals’ ethical responsibilities and responses and how to create safe spaces.

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Black and Latinx students, institutional racism, and the carceral continuum

 
 
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The Algebra Project: Math Literacy and Empowerment

Kate Belin teaches math at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, a progressive public school in the Bronx, where she implements the Algebra Project, an initiative that connects math to students’ lived experiences. We talk about the synergy between the Algebra Project and Fannie Lou, both of which have their roots in the history of the civil rights movement.

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The Algebra Project: Math Literacy and Empowerment

 
 
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NYC schools: still separate and unequal

Student activists Coco Rhum and Hebh Jamal describe what real integration of NYC schools would look like and how to achieve it. Bringing sharp analysis and insight from their experiences as leaders in IntegrateNYC and Teens Take Charge, they were interviewed by Lev Moscow on our sister podcast, acorrectionpodcast.com.

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NYC schools: still separate and unequal

 
 
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Advice for Secondary School Teachers

This is an encore. 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.

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Advice for Secondary School Teachers

 
 
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Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

We speak with New York State Regent Luis O. Reyes on the evolution of multilingual education in New York, beginning with the ASPIRA Consent Decree that in 1974 established bilingual education as an entitlement for Puerto Rican and other Latinx students. NY is gradually transitioning to bicultural and bi-literate education. The Regents’ Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework represents the way forward.

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Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

 
 
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Gender Inclusivity: Where Science and Ethics Intersect

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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Gender Inclusivity: Where Science and Ethics Intersect

 
 
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Emotionally Responsive Education: “inviting and containing”

Margaret Blachly of Bank Street’s Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice describes how to fit materials, curriculum, and relationships together to create an emotionally safe classroom. Emphasizing the importance of a deep understanding of child development, she tells how important it is to know each child’s “story.” Margaret shares what she’s learned as a dual-language and special ed teacher and gives advice to new kindergarten teachers. Reflecting on Dewey’s Education and Experience, she talks about the ethical dimensions of teaching and the connections between the classroom and the larger society.

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Emotionally Responsive Education: “inviting and containing”

 
 
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Post-traumatic growth and resilience: Creating safe environments for Central American immigrant children

This is an encore. Our conversation with Stephanie Carnes about Central American immigrant youth was one of our most popular. Enjoy it with our wishes for a safe and happy holiday.

Stephanie Carnes is a trauma-focused bilingual school social worker in a large public high school in New York’s Hudson Valley. Stephanie worked as the lead clinician in a federally-funded shelter program for unaccompanied children from Central America and as a consultant she challenges the districts and agencies with whom she works to re-envision the meaning of an inclusive community. We talk about the necessity to normalize mental health care, how to create safe environments for immigrant children in American schools, and the power of their resilience.

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Post-traumatic growth and resilience: Creating safe environments for Central American immigrant children

 
 
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Special education: How students and their teachers are shortchanged

Jia Lee, NYC special education teacher and union activist, talks about the unfairness of the Fair Funding Formula, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the tendency of schools to re-traumatize vulnerable students. She also highlights the contrast between NYC Chancellor Carranza’s call for more culturally responsive classrooms and the City’s newly-mandated MAP tests, and the gap between what the United Federation of Teachers does and what it could do.

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Special education: How students and their teachers are shortchanged

 
 
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Reframing masculinity: Stopping violence against women and girls

Quentin Walcott (“Q”), a leading NYC and international anti-violence educator and activist, creates programs that help transform men and boys — even batterers — into activists against violence. He focuses on the intersections of violence — race, class, and gender — and its impact on marginalized communities. Q is Co-Executive Director of CONNECT, a nonprofit that approaches domestic violence systemically and holistically, including in school- and after-school programs. CONNECT helps males reassess their perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood. While perpetrators need to be held accountable, so do institutions and public leaders.

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Reframing masculinity: Stopping violence against women and girls

 
 
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Ed schools as allies to new teachers of color

Dr. Harriet (“Niki”) Fayne of Lehman College School of Education describes strategies to support new teachers and “second stage” teacher-leaders. She discusses ways to attract teacher candidates, reduce early-years attrition, and help teachers grow while staying in the classroom. Lehman builds ethics into leadership training and maintains long-term relationships with its graduates and the schools they teach in.

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Ed schools as allies to new teachers of color

 
 
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Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

We speak with Paula Rogovin, who taught kindergarten and first grade in NYC public schools for 44 years. Paula empowered the youngest students to become researchers and activists. She encourages students to ask questions (“anything goes”) and research is interdisciplinary, comprising literature, social studies, art, music, and science. Cultural relevance evolves organically from the research. When students discover injustices, Paula encourages them to channel their anger to become agents of change. Paula’s advice for new teachers, “Teach what you are required to teach, and stretch it.”

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Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

 
 
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José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

We speak with José Luis Jiménez, principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, PS 290, in Queens. A queer educator of color, he came out to his students during Pride Month in 2017. If a community is truly welcoming to all, he thought, “you don’t “check a part of yourself at the door.” José encourages his…

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José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

 
 
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Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

We speak with Dr. Kiersten Greene, Associate Professor of Literacy Education at SUNY New Paltz, about classroom internet use. Electronic tech’s transformational possibilities can go unfulfilled as schools buy and use tools and materials without evaluating whether they are effective or meet teachers’ needs. Huge funding sources like New York’s Smart Schools bond issue fund…

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Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

 
 
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Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

We speak with Dr. Ujju Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at the New School’s Schools of Public Engagement. Dr. Aggarwal explains how neoliberalism, with its emphasis on individual choice, includes a “right to exclude” and perpetuates discriminatory school admissions, not only to some charter schools but also to district schools and programs, describing in particular the experiences of parents in Manhattan’s District…

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Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

 
 
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