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62 minutes | 7 hours ago
UPDATE: Moving toward admissions equity and culture change at Manhattan’s Beacon High School
We speak with PTA members 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. Overview 00:00-00:53 Intros 00:53-05:37 What has happened with admissions in NYC and at Beacon since last school year 05:37-15:45 Current status at Beacon; plans for admissions for 2021-22 school year 15:45-18:49 Stakeholder consensus 18:48-19:31 School Leadership Team 19:31-23:00 Need for school culture changes beyond admissions 23:00-23:23 TRANSITION TO ENCORE INTERVIEW WITH BUU STUDENTS 23:23-23:56 Intros 23:56-29:03 Students’ experiences at Beacon 29:03-35:52 Student demands 35:52-38:22 Anti-racist curriculum 38:22-39:33 Teens Take Charge 39:33-41:35 What teachers need to do in making change 41:35-44:42 First Beacon demonstration in Fall 2019 44:42-50:35 December incident, response planning, and sit-in 50:35-54:10 Sit-in’s impact on relationships among students and with teachers 54:10-56:31 Sources of support for students’ June demands to administration 56:31-57:14 Administration’s response 57:14-59:23 Talking with students at other schools 59:23-1:00:18 Connections with Movement for Black Lives 1:00:18-1:00:53 Whites must choose between being racist or anti-racist 1:00:53-01:02:23 Outro Transcript Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear Picture from beaconschool.org
34 minutes | 6 days ago
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 in more restrictive settings. Dr. Baldwin Clark offers recommendations. Overview 00:00-01:00 Intros 01:00-01:54 Racial disparities in special education 01:54-06:41 How White parents/children benefit from social and cultural capital in special education process 06:41-08:59 Parental participation fails to protect Black children from segregation in special education placements 08:59-14:01 Process of mandated parental participation exacerbates/legitimizes racial inequities 14:01-20:22 Racial breakdown of children placed in more or less restrictive special education environments; greater physical segregation of Black children 20:22-21:53 Suspensions and expulsions 21:53-24:13 Recommendations for change 24:13-28:42 Disproportional suspensions of Black youth; biases and stereotypes of Black girls 28:42-29:51 Responsibility of school districts to ensure White middle class students do not get more resources 29:51-32:46 Need to educate White middle-class parents about equitable distribution of resources 32:46-34:15 Outro Transcription Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. References Listen to our first conversation with Dr. Baldwin Clark: “Policing attendance boundaries: Education as private property” Innovations in Equity and Systemic Change (IESC) of NYC Metro Center Soundtrack by Podington Bear
42 minutes | 14 days ago
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 top as well. Parents, teachers, and administrators need to work together to prevent children from benefiting from unearned privilege. Inequality is intrinsically detrimental. Overview 00:00-00:57 Intros 00:57-03:12 Schools are not preparing all students to be lifelong learners 03:12-13:16 Education as property; cultural and social capital 13:16-15:28 Schools as community enterprises 15:28-18:20 “Schooling in Capitalist America;” caste; legacies of slavery 18:20-21:32 Enforcement of school district boundaries 21:32-25:28 School segregation and housing segregation 25:28-28:20 “Bringing up the bottom and bringing down the top”; reducing the relative distance between the bottom and the top 28:20-31:30 Making the gap less consequential 31:30-35:10 What Culver City (CA) is doing to address inequality in a relative way 35:10-37:44 Implications for Black students when “good schools” look like “White schools” 37:44-40:50 Aggressions and microaggressions in predominantly White schools 40:50-42:15 Outro Transcript Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. References Book Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis Dr. Baldwin Clark’s website Dr. Baldwin Clark’s medium
32 minutes | 22 days ago
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 to teaching and learning. Overview 00:00-00:40 Intros 00:40-02:32 English Language Learners (ELs) and how they receive instruction 02:32-03:31 What research shows about language acquisition 03:31-11:46 Legal and ethical aspects of English language instruction; status around the country 11:46-15:00 Challenges facing ELs and ENL teachers during the pandemic and efforts to overcome them 15:00-17:05 Involvement of parents during the pandemic 17:05-17:50 Varying terms/ synonyms for ESL/ESOL/ENL teachers 17:50-18:22 Nashville as an example of a district centering ELs in planning 18:22-21:30 Issues with taking the English language proficiency test during the pandemic 21:30-23:20 English language proficiency tests’ quality 23:20-25:04 Experience with Betsy DeVos’s Education Department 25:04-26:56 Recommendations to Biden Administration 26:56-30:20 Technology and ELs post-pandemic 30:20-31:45 Outro Transcript Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear
40 minutes | a month ago
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 other students. Overview 00:00-00:52 Intros 00:52-01:41 UNIS 01:41-03:25 Anthropological viewpoint 03:25-08:05 Teaching history: Decentering Europe; globalization 08:05-09:26 Priorities as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) 09:26-13:33 Restorative mindset and practices 13:33-15:56 Student DEI committee 15:56-19:40 Students writing curriculum 19:40-23:39 Approaching controversial issues 23:39-27:41 Faculty conversations on curriculum and pedagogy 27:41-30:29 Handling microaggressions 30:29-34:04 Students as ethnographers 34:04-37:51 An ethical environment 37:51-39:30 Outro Transcription Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear Photo facebook.com/UNISNY
37 minutes | a month ago
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 learn from Finland’s education system. Overview 00:00-00:42 Intros 00:42-03:01 What “education and the commercial mindset” means 03:01-05:26 Examples of for-profit and non-profit privatization 05:26-13:57 Effects of privatization 13:57-20:01 What can be done to enable public education to better meet student needs 20:01-21:45 Separation of church and state 21:45-28:37 Potential positive lessons from business; W. Edwards Deming; rejecting value-added measurement 28:37-32:13 Comparison of U.S. and Finnish education systems 32:13-35:27 Key changes that can be made in U.S. education system 35:27-36:50 Outro Transcript Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. References Book Education and the Commercial Mindset by Sam Abrams Book Out of the Crisis by By W. Edwards Deming Book The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. Book Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman Book 110 Livingston Street: Politics and Bureaucracy in the New York City School System (Foundations of Sociology) by David Rogers Book Helping Kids Succeed by Paul Tough Article Alternative Public School Systems by Kenneth B. Clark – Harvard Educational Review (Spring 1968 Edition) Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear
57 minutes | a month ago
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 and bases 40% of teacher evaluation on student test scores. The teachers discuss how to meet standards through project-based learning. This interview is just a joy to listen to! Overview 00:00-00:42 Intro 00:42-02:23 Assignment 02:23-07:01 Projects 07:01-08:08 Student reactions to doing original research 08:08-13:47 “Colored graves” cemetery project 13:47-17:44 Project’s impact on students 17:44-19:50 Effect on understanding North Olmstead and its history 19:50-21:18 Students’ realization of their ability to make change 21:18-23:01 George Floyd’s death and BLM demonstrations 23:01-25:14 Relationships among teachers/students 25:14-27:47 Teachers and students learning together 27:47-29:35 Integrating language arts and social studies in practice 29:35-32:06 Meeting the ELA standards 32:06-36:04 Smooth and effective collaborative teaching 36:04-42:12 Inquiry learning and Ohio’s test-driven system 42:12-43:45 Students’ identifying as readers 43:45-50:27 Dewey on schools’ role in preparing students for democratic citizenship 50:27-55:31 Professional networking: Facing History and Ourselves; Landmark workshops/seminars 55:31-55:49 Rafel as immigrant student 55:49-56:47 Outro Transcription Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. References Media Coverage of the project: on the NYTimes, on Cleveland 19, and on News 5 Cleveland. Watch Rafel talking about the project. Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear Photo news5cleveland.com
36 minutes | 2 months ago
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 an organizer, he encourages coalitions of people resisting different aspects of racial capitalism, including those fighting destruction of the planet and exploitation of other species. Overview 00:00-01:34 Intro 01:34-04:55 Making the shift from a more traditional to a more liberatory school 04:55-08:11 Sustainability after school founder(s) leave 08:11-11:37 Relationships of capital to schools: Now and a century ago 11:37-14:47 Education sovereignty 14:47-18:08 Community land trusts as models for schools 18:08-22:20 Balancing autonomy with accountability 22:20-24:41 Humans’ relationships with other animals: Moving away from anthropocentrism 24:41-28:58 Where the joy is 28:58-34:32 Takeaways: joys, hope, healing, radical possibilities 34:32-35:30 Outro References Listen to the first part of this conversation here. Transcription Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear
45 minutes | 2 months ago
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 respect. Overview 00:00-00:42 Intros00:42-02:20 Abolitionist education02:20-04:44 “Freedom as a place”04:44-08:03 Critical racial ethnic studies; the Sankofa bird08:03-15:27 Decolonizing education; relationships in the process between colonized and colonizer15:27-22:21 Intersections of race and class22:21-26:27 Racial capitalism’s impact in the classroom26:27-33:20 Kensington Health Sciences Academy (KHSA)33:20-36:16 Teacher as lead inquirer36:16-38:25 Moving at the speed of trust38:25-40:13 Modeling trustworthiness for students40:13-42:55 How did KHSA become a school focused on trust?42:55-44:30 Outro Transcription Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. References Click here to listen to the second part of this conversation. Bettina Love Ruth Wilson Gilmore Decolonization is not a metaphor Clyde Woods Book The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo Book Framing Dropouts by Michelle Fine Credits Soundtrack by Podington Bear Photo twitter.com/khsaphila
29 minutes | 2 months ago
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 another were a source of mutual support. Students who engaged in public policy activism showed improved mental health.
37 minutes | 3 months ago
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.
40 minutes | 3 months ago
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.
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Students leading change: Inclusiveness at an elite school
Stacey Cervellino Thorp and Naima Moffett-Warden teach drama at Manhattan's famed LaGuardia High School, and Abigail Rivera is a senior in the drama studio. Although all LaGuardia students are extraordinarily talented, their families, neighborhoods, and middle schools have vastly different resources. Students and faculty, led by students of color, have won changes and are demanding more steps to make the school more accessible and the curriculum more culturally responsive.
37 minutes | 3 months ago
Teaching economics as political and ethical choices
We welcome back Lev Moscow of the Beacon School to discuss his approach to teaching political economy, which actually applies to any social science. It's not primarily about the numbers but about the human choices behind them. How do we determine who gets paid what and who gets to spend 80,000 hours in a lifetime engaged in meaningful work? Also, how our mantra of continuous economic growth will end life as we know it.
48 minutes | 3 months ago
Education denied: What should reparations look like?
Daarel Burnette II of Education Week delves into the history of Black communities demanding education and school boards conspiring to deprive them of opportunities and resources. We zoom in on Virginia's reparations to Black citizens, now in their 60's, who were excluded from schools when Prince Edward County shut its schools to avoid integration. Mr. Burnette, a “military brat,” theorizes about why children of Black military families do so much better academically than their civilian peers.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Identity-focused classes: Experiments in cultural relevance
We speak with Dr. Emily Penner, who studied the impacts of two programs in which students delved into their respective races, ethnicities, and communities. San Francisco's was designed for academically-struggling students of a range of ethnicities. Oakland's was designed for young Black men across academic achievement levels, as part of the district's "targeted universalism" approach. The results, in both cases, were dramatic.
41 minutes | 4 months ago
Practicing ethics: Case studies
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 to consult with specially trained school ethicists.
51 minutes | 4 months ago
Parent voice: Supporting families with special needs
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.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
Anti-racism: Lessons for the classroom and faculty lounge
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.
27 minutes | 5 months ago
Consumption as ethics: Talking with students about food
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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