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Committed To Fighting For Equity and Access in Public Education

Featuring interviews, testimony and analysis on issues facing public education in the U.S. through voices of teachers, parents, students, community members, education activists and education scholars. Education Radio is committed to exposing the profit driven interests fueling current education policies while addressing issues of true equity and access in public education.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Save Our Schools People's Convention


Download the program here:
Internet Archive
Audioport (podcast)
 
In August 2011, Education Radio released its debut show - filled with the passionate voices and stories of the Save Our Schools National Convention and March held in Washington DC that July, organized by parents, teachers and scholars to speak out against the corporate assault being waged on public schools and teachers. A year later, in August 2012, Save Our Schools convened again in Washington, this time with the purpose of holding a People’s Convention, filled with workshops and discussion about the need for continued action and movement building to preserve and expand public education. Education Radio traveled to this convention to document where SOS has come over the past year, as well as to collect and share additional stories and voices. In today’s show, we’ll share some of what we collected.

Faya Rose Touré
In this documentation of SOS, we hear from Faya Rose Touré (formerly known as Rose Sanders), civil rights activist, attorney and first African American female judge in Alabama. Touré has also been intensely active in education equity, particularly around tracking in Alabama and in visioning how schools can provide a holistic and humane environment for children. She calls for the establishment of a universal core curriculum that tells the truth about our histories and prepares all students to leave school with the critical capacities necessary to realize their full potential. She was a keynote speaker at the Save our Schools People’s Convention.
Deborah Meier

Finally, we hear from two members of the Save Our Schools steering committee, Deborah Meier, a 50 year veteran practitioner and administrator in public education  and Mike Klonsky, DePaul University teacher educator. In our interview with them we learn what the past year of organizing SOS has been like, what SOS stands for, and what their next steps are.  
Mike Klonsky

For more about the voices heard in this program:
Faya Rose Touré (Rose Sanders) on Alternatives to Tracking
Mike Klonsky's Huffington Post blog entries
Deborah Meier @ Bridging Differences on EdWeek.Org

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Won't Back Down": Corporate Education Reform and the Rhetoric of Fiction


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Internet Archive
Audioport

In the past weeks, we have watched with renewed energy and hope as the teachers, parents, students and community members of Chicago have shown us the power of solidarity. Their resistance to the privatization of public education and their demand to reclaim the classroom from hedge fund managers, real estate tycoons, venture philanthropists and their political stooges, is shifting the narrative from one of blaming teachers, students, parents and unions to naming the lies behind corporate ‘reform’ efforts.

This impressive and inspiring ‘actual event’ stands in sharp contrast to the most recent attempt by corporate deformers to manipulate the narrative about schools, teachers, students, parents and where the battle lies in education. Set for release on Sept. 28, Won’t Back Down brought to you by the same people who gave us Waiting for Superman, is selling itself as "inspired by actual events".  In this week’s program, Education Radio unmasks the lie behind that tag line, the Parent Trigger laws that the film alludes to, and the pretense that this films speaks for anyone except corporate profiteers. At the same time, we will explore the actual events of parents and community members who have opposed Parent Trigger laws, their struggles and their solidarity. 


Leonie Haimson
We speak with five women, all activists and parents. First we hear Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters and a founding member of Parents Across America, tell us about the corporate reformers behind the movie.

Lori Friedlander Yuan
Then Caroline Grannen, from Parents Across America talks about parent trigger laws, their genesis, and the uncovering of the astroturf forces behind one attempt to enact the trigger in Compton California.

Rita Solnet from Parents Across America Florida and Testing is Not Teaching, saw the movie and shares its manipulative impact, while also contrasting its fiction with the real story of Florida parent activism to defeat parent trigger legislation Florida. 

Rhoda Rae Gutierrez and her family
We also hear from two Lori Frieidline Yuan about the deceit used by the astroturf Parent Revolution, to get a parent trigger law enacted in Adelante, California. She tells about how the parents were first deceived and then worked to have their voices really heard.

Last, we speak with Rhoda Rae Gutierrez, a Chicago parent, and Program Director at the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education.  She talks abut her experiences supporting Chicago teachers during their strike.

Together, the stories these women tell give us a picture of what real activism looks like, and of the knowledge and strength to be gained when parents join teachers to take down corporate reformers their deceitful and dangerous narratives.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jonathan Kozol: Fire in the Ashes

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Internet Archive
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As we welcome the 2012 school year, and while Chicago teachers are courageously standing up for high quality education for all students, we bring you a moving and inspiring talk by award-winning author and longtime education and civil rights activist Jonathan Kozol. This talk was recorded at the 2012 Save Our Schools People’s Education Convention in Washington DC. 

Kozol begins by focusing on the damaging nature of the current testing mania imposed on children, teachers and schools in the poorest communities; the inequality between rich and poor schools; and how current education reform policies result in the resegregation of black and brown children in our education system and are in effect perpetrating major civil and human rights violations on our most vulnerable children. 

As told in his new book, Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America, Kozol vividly takes us back to the scenes of his prize-winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to many of the children’s lives he graphically documented, sharing the tragedies, struggles and resilient journeys as they grew into adulthood.

With Strings Attached: The Gates Foundation and Venture Philanthropy

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Internet Archive
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In this week's program, we take a closer look at the role of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in funding and promoting corporate education reform. The Gates Foundation is one of a handful of venture philanthropists - along with the Broad and Walton Foundations - who have spent billions of dollars in the last decade to change the face of public education in the United States.

Gates' agenda for reform is essentially identical to that of the U.S. Department of Education, namely increasing the use of high-stakes standardized tests at all levels, standardizing curriculum, creating a de-unionized system of merit-based pay for teachers tied to student test scores, and disinvesting in neighborhood public schools in favor of opening new charter schools.

As we've explored in previous episodes of Education Radio, all of these reforms can be tied to a larger ideology of free-market competition and a corporate agenda of deregulation and privatization, and are actually leading to greater social and economic inequalities. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Arizona Goddam! The Fight for Raza Studies in Tucson


**Please Note: This is a Two Hour Program**

Crystal Terriquez and Pricila Rodriguez
In January 2012, Tucson Unified School District's (TUSD) renowned and highly successful Raza Studies Program, was shut down. The program was finally eliminated after a prolonged, brutal campaign to demonize the students, the teachers and Tucson Arizona’s Mexican American community;  the latest of a long history of cultural genocide enacted against Mexican Americans and indigenous people in the United States. In this two hour program, we look at the history of the struggle for Raza studies, also known as Mexican American Studies, in the Tucson Unified School District and why the program was so meaningful and successful, and we explore why the program was viciously attacked and shut down - by examining the racist narrative and intent of the state and school administrators who are responsible for its destruction. We hear about the devastating impact the shutting down of this program has had on teachers, students and community members in Tucson. 

Jose Gonzalez
There are so many incredibly dedicated people involved in the fight for Raza Studies in Tucson - from those who helped to found and build the program, the many teachers who taught in the program, the students who participated, and the community members and activists who are fighting to reinstate it. We were able to speak to just a few of these many voices, and want to recognize the hard work and varying perspectives of all those with whom we did not speak.

Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith
We talk with four students who are alumni of the program, who share their experiences: Crystal Terriquez, Pricila Rodriguez, Alfred Chavez and Alfonzo Chavez. We also share testimony from a student, Teresa Mejia, who was present when TUSD adminstrators removed books and materials during classes (this testimony is available on activist Brenda Norrell’s blog: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/). We spoke with Mexican American Studies history teacher Jose Gonzalez about the history and the shutting down of the program. 

Human rights activist and University of Arizona professor Raquel Rubio Goldsmith helps us understand the link between what is happening in Tucson today and the Chicano movement of the 1960s. We also speak with University of Illinois Chicago Professor of African American HIstory and Educational Policy Studies David Stovall, who conducted a program evaluation of Ethnic Studies programs in Tucson over the 2006-2007 school year, and hear about his findings from that evaluation. 

We talk to social theorist Joe Feagin, about the way that racism and white supremacy are playing out in this situation. Banned author and poet Martin Espada reflects on the dangers of censorship, how it feels to have his work banned, and shares a poem that speaks to the power that literature can have when used a tool for resistance and emancipation. Finally, we discover the growing local and national resistance movement that gives hope, not only for the future of this program in Tucson, but to the building of solidarity that will help fight this from happening elsewhere. Alfred and Alfonzo Chavez, members of U.N.I.D.O.S., talk with us about Tucson's Freedom Summer, we speak with Tara Mack, Director of the Education for Liberation Network and member of the Teacher Activist Groups, about the No History is Illegal Campaign, and we hear a clip of Tony Diaz talking about Librotraficante. 

Specific examples of this resistance and opportunities to get involved in the fight are listed below:

Save Ethnic Studies   - a website produced by the teachers involved in the struggle. Visit this site to gain a deeper understanding of the issues.
Support the Raza Defense Fund to donate to help two MAS teachers in their lawsuit against incredibly well-funded and vicious opposition.
No History is Illegal - a website produced by Teacher Activist Groups where you can find curriculum based on the banned MAS curriculum to use in your own classroom. 
Librotraficante - a project devoted to fighting back against the censorship and banning of books in Arizona.  
Tucson Freedom Summer  - join the fight to save MAS  - in Tucson - July 2012 

Additional Resources
Tucson’s Maiz-Based Curriculum: MAS-TUSD Profundo by Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodríguez 
The Cambium Audit Report and other related materials
And yet there is more...
Due to time constrants there were several pieces we were unable able to fully explore in our radio show. We have tried to include some of those pieces below in hopes that you will be able to deepen your understanding of the struggle in Tuscon. The following quotes are by several of the authors whose books were boxed up and taken out of classrooms as a part of the ban on ethnic studies:

"I don't take it personally, but what I do see is an ongoing plan, a very deliberate plan and antagonism in the US and Southwest. What is obvious is that it's about more than books. ... When they take out Shakespeare, Paulo Freire or Pulitzer Prize winners, that I can't imagine that they read everything and somehow determined this is a threat to democracy. ... This reminded me of McCarthyism and the red-baiting of writers, except now we are targeting a specific people. I feel we have to start paying attention to this trend. Now we are seeing similar laws (to SB 1070) in Georgia and Alabama. I don't think most of the public east of the Mississippi or the East Coast is aware. We have to make them aware" - Ana Castillo, author of the banned books Loverboys and So Far From God

"The last time a book of mine was outlawed was during the state of emergency in apartheid South Africa in 1986, when the regime there banned the curriculum I’d written, Strangers in Their Own Country, likely because it included excerpts from a speech by then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Confronting massive opposition at home and abroad, the white minority government feared for its life in 1986. It’s worth asking what the school authorities in Arizona fear today."- Bill Bigelow, editor of Rethinking Schools and author of the banned book Rethinking Columbus

Let's get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous. So, in a strange way, I'm pleased that the racist folks of Arizona have officially declared, in banning me alongside Urrea, Baca, and Castillo, that their anti-immigration laws are also anti-Indian. I'm also strangely pleased that the folks of Arizona have officially announced their fear of an educated underclass. You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens? Those brown kids change the world. In the effort to vanish our books, Arizona has actually given them enormous power. Arizona has made our books sacred documents now.” - Sherman Alexie, author of the banned books Ten Little Indians and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Standing Up to Pearson: Speaking Out, Sharing Stories, Growing Resistance


Download mp3s from internet archive and audioport

Some of the 67 UMass students who said no to Pearson with Barbara Madeloni.
Education Radio has been following the developments of the University of Massachusetts student teacher resistance to the Pearson supported Teacher Performance Assessment. The attempt to impose a corporate sponsored standard assessment on pre-service teachers is one more example of the corporatization of public education and the surveillance, silencing and demands for obedience that accompany it. Following our report of March 24, Mike Winerip ran an article that brought the students’ resistance to readers of the New York Times. As we have shared on our blog, the response has been nothing short of astonishing as teachers, teacher educators, parents, students and community members from across the country contacted education radio producer Barbara Madeloni and the students to speak their support and share their own stories of the destructiveness of Pearson and problems with the Teacher Performance Assessment.
Rachel Hoogstraten, Alex Hoyo, Katie Smith, Danielle Nelson

Steven Cohen
In this week’s program, we speak with some of those supporters about why they felt compelled to contact Barbara, how Pearson and/or the TPA are impacting their lives, and how we might further this resistance. Judith Kocik, director of an adult education program and Kip Fonsh, school committee member and director of education for a county jail, explain the devastating impact of Pearson's purchase of the GED.  Parent and community member Alex Pirie talks about his delight that University students are taking a stand against corporatization of the University and teacher educator Steven Cohen, from Tufts University, helps us understand how contrary is the TPA to the needs of developing teachers. We also hear from Ginette Delandshire, from Indiana University Bloomington, who was involved in the first iteration of the teacher performance assessment, her critiques of it, and how these critiques have been ignored.  As well, we speak with some of the UMass students who engaged in the resistance about how they felt about the article, about the response to it, and about how this action will impact their work as teachers.
Alex Pirie

Ginette Delandshere
In developing this program, we discovered more detail about the menacing and destructive reach of the testing giant Pearson and its profiteering on the most marginalized and vulnerable of our community.  And we discovered a broad range of people who are articulate and angry about the neoliberal assault on public education.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Reality of Virtual Schooling



Follow the links below to download this show as a podcast:
Internet Archive
Audioport (podcast) 

In this week's program, we explore the proliferation of virtual schools. Virtual schools offer on-line education to primary and secondary school students without the added expenses associated with brick and mortar structures and unionized teachers and support staff.  

We hear opinions on virtual schools from well-known education scholars Jonathon Kozol and Diane Ravitch. We investigate one such virtual school, the Massachusetts Virtual Academy in Greenfield, Massachusetts. We talk with the superintendent of schools, Susan Hollins, who was the driving force behind the opening of that school in 2010, and we also speak with two Greenfield School Committee members, Maryelen Calderwood and Andrew Blais, who opposed it. Finally, we turn to early childhood education scholar Nancy Carlsson-Paige, who talks about the vitally important social, emotional and cognitive needs of young children that are in danger of not being met by virtual schools.

We also explore K12 Inc., a for-profit publicly traded technology-based education company that touts itself as the largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for primary and secondary students in the United States. It is also one of the fastest growing operators of virtual charter schools worldwide. K-12 Inc. was founded in 1999 by Michael Milken and William J. Bennett, a former Reagan Secretary of Education and Bush senior drug czar.  We take some time to talk about the background of these men, along with several others involved with this company, as a means to expose the insidious nature of companies like K12 Inc. 

To learn more about virtual schools and about what you hear on this program, visit the following links:
Education According to Mike Milken by John Hechinger
Virtual Schools Expand Students' Network by Laura Insensee
Outsourcing Information: The Rise of Virtual Schools by Nancy Hanover
The Massachusetts Virtual Academy
Susan Ohanian on K-12