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63 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
Not for the First Time, Nor the Last
In this final episode of the first season of Ed Trust’s new podcast, EdTrusted, Karin Chenoweth and Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall talk with two educational historians: Dr. James Anderson, professor of history and Dean of the School of Education at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. He is author of the foundational work, Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935, which is central to understanding the educational experience of African Americans in the key years around the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the anti-democratic counter-revolution that followed Reconstruction. Dr. Adam Laats, professor of history at Binghamton University in New York whose research centers on political battles over education, from the Scopes Trial to today. He is author of several books, including his 2015 book, The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education They engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of both the history that students learn in school and the history of the political fights about what students should learn in school. Both historians urged educators to help students face history squarely and learn how to evaluate evidence and weigh facts in making judgments. The current controversy over critical race theory relies on what Laats called a “ginned-up controversy” about what students should learn, not a controversy over what historians think. “If you asked one hundred historians whether race played a key role in American history, there would be no controversy.” However, he added, conservatives only have to show that an idea seems controversial in order to scare teachers and principals away from teaching about it. Anderson warned that an uneducated citizenry unaware of our history makes democracy very fragile and vulnerable to demagogues. And he countered the idea that knowing about slavery and other ugly parts of American history causes people to be less patriotic. “The notion that you can only develop patriotism by manufacturing a history or manufacturing a truth is a very, very false notion. People are more patriotic when they understand the society in which they live and are committed to making it a better society. That is a source of patriotism. This fear that somehow if people know about slavery, about Jim Crow, about the ways in which race has shaped our dominant social institution, that somehow they’d be less patriotic. That is simply a false narrative. That’s a false notion.” He gave as examples the many African American and Native American soldiers who enlisted and fought in the world wars despite the fact that they knew full well that they were not treated as full citizens. Some of the things mentioned in the course of the conversation were: The historian John Blasingame. Harold Rugg’s textbooks used in the 1920s and 1930s. A paper on civics education by Nancy Beadie and Zoe Burkholder. The cults of Jim Jones and David Koresh.
67 minutes | Sep 3, 2021
No Time for Silence
In this sixth episode of Ed Trust’s new podcast, EdTrusted, Ed Trust’s writer-in-residence Karin Chenoweth and P-12 director of practice Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall talk with five students and three superintendents about the accusation that schools are indoctrinating children with “divisive concepts,” which is how state legislators around the country have characterized critical race theory. “We’re talking about culturally responsive teaching. That’s the CRT that we’re focused on, not all that other stuff that people are out here trying to hijack,” said one. Joining Tanji and Karin are: Dr. Mark Bedell, superintendent, Kansas City, Missouri Dr. Luvelle Brown, superintendent, Ithaca, New York Dr. Tricia McManus, superintendent, Winston-Salem Foryth County, North Carolina Avery, a student from Maryland Zoe, a student from Kentucky Zack, a student from Kentucky A third student from Kentucky A student from San Antonio, Texas Please note that we are not providing identifying details for the students. The debates around “critical race theory” have gotten so nasty and vituperative that we did not want in any way to provide an avenue for some to threaten or harm young people. It is notable that Dr. Bedell and Dr. Brown both said they and their families have been threatened because of their outspokenness.
50 minutes | Aug 27, 2021
Educating in an Age of Censorship
In this fifth episode of Ed Trust’s new podcast, EdTrusted, Ed Trust’s writer-in-residence Karin Chenoweth and P-12 director of practice Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall talk with four thoughtful educators and scholars to discuss the cognitive dissonance many White Americans feel when learning about such events in American history as the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 and how that is leading them to try to suppress the teaching of honest history. Joining them are: Thomas Anderson, a middle school teacher from Excel Charter School, just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota Sergio Garcia, principal, Artesia High School, ABC Unified School District, Los Angeles County Kevin Levin, a historian who began his career as a high school teacher in Mobile, Alabama, then taught in Virginia and the Boston area. He is also a scholar of the Civil War — specifically the “Lost Cause” mythology and how it has permeated through American culture through its monuments. He is the author of Searching for Black Confederates and has written for such publications as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Civil War Times. He has trained history and social studies teachers all over the country how to use primary documents in their teaching Shareefa Mason, a master social studies teacher in Dallas, and producer of From the Block documentary
61 minutes | Aug 20, 2021
The Unbearable Discomfort of History
In this fourth episode of Ed Trust’s new podcast, EdTrusted, Ed Trust’s writer-in-residence Karin Chenoweth and director of practice Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall discuss the cognitive dissonance many White Americans feel when learning about such events in American history as the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 and how that is leading them to try to suppress the teaching of honest history. Joining them are: Anneliese Bruner, great granddaughter of Mary Jones Parrish, chronicler of the Tulsa Massacre and author of an afterword to Parrish’s book, The Nation Must Awake (Trinity University Press). Dr. Joel Cooper, professor of psychology, Princeton University, whose research has focused on cognitive dissonance and how it can be resolved. Dr. Glenn Adams, professor of psychology, University of Kansas, who has done research on The Marley Hypothesis, which posits that people’s ability to recognize racism and racist systems is a function of how much history they know. It was so named because of the song, Buffalo Soldier, by Bob Marley and the Wailers, the lyrics of which include: “If you know your history Then you would know where you coming from Then you wouldn’t have to ask me Who the heck do I think I am”
61 minutes | Aug 13, 2021
What are Teachers Teaching?
Conversations surrounding Critical Race Theory and the wave of restrictive education legislation being pushed in many states frames teachers as radical leftists who are indoctrinating children. In this third episode, Ed Trust’s writer in-residence Karin Chenoweth and director of practice Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph.D try to get a handle on what teachers are actually teaching in the classroom. They are joined by: Anne Lutz Fernandez, longtime educator and author of “Schooled;” Anton Schulzki, president of the National Council for the Social Studies; and Nate Bowling, social studies teacher, 2016 Washington teacher of the year, finalist for national teacher of the year, and host of the Nerd Farmer Podcast. The United States has about 3.7 million teachers in roughly 100,000 schools, and more than 13,000 school districts. Our education system is very decentralized, and it’s frankly hard to know what exactly teachers are teaching in every classroom around the nation. However, panelists agreed that by and large teachers more or less represent the views of their communities.
52 minutes | Aug 6, 2021
The Long Arm of the Law
In this second episode of Ed Trust’s new podcast, EdTrusted, Ed Trust’s writer-in-residence Karin Chenoweth and director of practice Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph.D. talk about state legislation seeking to limit what is taught in classrooms with ACLU staff attorney Emerson Sykes and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Dr. Matthew Shaw. According to an analysis by Education Week, roughly half of the states have moved in some way to limit what teachers can teach in the classroom. Some specifically mention critical race theory as something to be forbidden. Others specify how teachers should talk about “meritocracy” and prohibit teachers from causing “discomfort” in their students. Because most of the bills are so “goofily” written, Shaw says, they lend themselves to challenges, particularly on First Amendment grounds. Courts, Shaw and Sykes said, do not look kindly on attempts to prohibit words and limit “discursive freedom.” These issues make the laws ripe for legal challenge by the ACLU and other organizations, Sykes said, but the attack on what is being called critical race theory has activated a massive grassroots campaign. “This movement is a backlash,” said Sykes. “It’s a backlash against the proliferation of anti-racist education and anti-racist discourse in the United States.” Sykes and Shaw help listeners understand the laws that are being proposed and passed in states throughout the country and what the challenges might be to them. EdTrusted is a new podcast from The Education Trust, a national education advocacy organization that works to improve educational opportunities for all children, no matter what their background. In this podcast we will be bringing listeners thoughtful conversations about a wide range of issues. In this first season, we’re tackling a puzzling phenomenon, and that is the accusation that our schools have been suddenly taken over by an ideology dedicated to fostering racial division and making White children feel bad. Many educators have been—understandably—surprised by the accusation that they are trying to harm children and indoctrinate them with what Fox News has called an “anti-white mania.” In this first season examining “The Critical Race Theory That’s Sweeping the Nation,” we hope to provide educators and others with information that they can use to evaluate the attempt to paint teachers as trying to indoctrinate students.
59 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
Going to the Source
EdTrusted is a brand-new podcast from The Education Trust, a national education advocacy organization that works to improve educational opportunities for all children, no matter what their background. In this podcast we will be bringing listeners thoughtful conversations about a wide range of issues. In this first season, we’re tackling a puzzling phenomenon, and that is the accusation that our schools have been suddenly taken over by an ideology dedicated to fostering racial division and making White children feel bad. Many educators have been—understandably—surprised by the accusation that they are trying to harm children and indoctrinate them with what Fox News has called an “anti-white mania.” This season of EdTrusted aims to provide some background knowledge and information that will help educators and advocates respond to what we are calling “The Critical Race Theory Craze That’s Sweeping the Nation.” In this first episode, Ed Trust’s director of practice Dr. Tanji Reed Marshall and writer-in-residence Karin Chenoweth talk with Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, who for many years was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison and helped bring critical race theory to the field of education with her analyses of educational disparity. She also developed the idea of culturally relevant pedagogy, or culturally relevant teaching, which—because it shares the initials CRT—is often mistaken for critical race theory. She is the former president of the American Educational Research Association and the current president of the National Academy of Education. In a far-ranging conversation, Ladson-Billings provides insight into what critical race theory and how it is used in education, but says that those who criticize CRT are not really interested in the topic but are attempting to distract from real issues in order to affect the 2022 and 2022 elections. “If you can’t win on policy, then the first thing you need to do is gin up a culture war.” Ladson-Billings said that one of her challenges as a teacher was confronting the ignorance of incoming college students and, now, reporters. She gave as an example a reporter who was calling from Burlington, Wisconsin. When Ladson-Billings mentioned that it had been a “sundown town,” the reporter did not know what she meant. Once the history of slavery and race is understood, she said, “We’re all implicated. No one is off the hook.” When she was a teacher in Philadelphia, she found that the traditional way of teaching American history was not connecting with students. So she handed students a picture of Fannie Lou Hamer and asked them whether democracy was working for her. That question, Ladson-Billings said, sparked an interest in the question of what democracy was, who it was for, and whether it worked for her mostly working-class Black students. “Now we have a way to think about the broad sweep of democracy.” When Tanji asked how educators should think about culturally relevant teaching in this time, Ladson-Billings said she urges educators to focus on three things. Student learning. “That’s what we get paid to do.” Cultural competence. To enhance student learning, educators need to allow students to bring “their whole self” into the classroom but also provide access to additional cultures “so that you become facile and fluent” in other cultures. That is true for all students. The “so-what factor.” All teachers, she said, eventually come up to the question students ask, “why are we learning this?” And this is where teachers can help students use what they are learning to solve the problems they encounter. She gave as an example a student who complained that only Black students were being punished for wearing hats in a school. The teacher said there was no data to support that statement, and then organized students into research groups. They found, by interviewing students throughout the school that in fact White students were only reprimanded for wearing hats; Black students were punished. The students analyzed the data, wrote a report, and presented it to the principal. Culturally relevant pedagogy, she said, “is not designed to make anyone feel bad about themselves,” Ladson-Billings said. “It’s designed to help kids engage with the work we are trying to do to ensure that they are literate, numerate, and scientifically competent.” Educators, she said, “have to stand up for what is right and what is true. But they also need to know who’s got their back.”
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