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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

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 superintentendent of schools, Dr. 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. 
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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis’ Letter to Supporters

Here is the letter that Troy Davis penned to supporters:

I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.
What you can do in his name here and here.

For more information, go to:

Meeting the Needs of Children in the Data Driven Classroom

In the movement for equity in public education what is often missing is a nuanced understanding of what students' lives are like inside the classroom - what are the social, emotional and cognitive impacts of decades of inadequate schooling and damaging education reform policies on students and student learning and what are the potential long term consequences - both on students and for society?

In this weeks program we hear from Nancy Carlsson-Paige, early childhood education scholar and author who talks about what the developmental needs of school-age children are and how they aren't being met by the current system. Instead, young children experience classrooms that are increasingly devoid of things like play, due to policies that promote an individualistic rather than collaborative climate and aggravate the differences between affluent and under-resourced schools. We also hear from Pauline Lipman, a Professor of Policy Studies in the College of Education, University of Illinois-Chicago about what is needed in order to address the challenges facing public education.

Follow the links below to download this show as a podcast:
Education Radio Program #6 on Internet Archive
Education Radio Program #6 on Audioport

And find out more about the voices in this show:
Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Pauline Lipman

Friday, September 16, 2011

Exposing the Mythology of Education Reform

In this week's program we take some time to explore the dominant narrative shaping so-called liberal education reform - how did this narrative evolve, what kinds of messages are being communicated, how does the on-the-ground experience of many teachers and students expose contradictions, and what does it look like to uncover a counter narrative?

Sut Jhally
We hear from media scholar Sut Jhally, as well as teachers Julie
Cavanagh, Alev Dervish & Brian Jones and parent & community member Lisa Donlan: four of the filmmakers of the Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, a critical response to the heavily publicized and corporate backed 2010 film Waiting for Superman, a movie that further propagandizes ongoing education reform efforts that are influencing public perceptions and education policy in the U.S. The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman is just one example of grassroots efforts to deconstruct the myths that are upheld in the dominant discourse in the U.S. around public education.

Follow the links below to download this show as a podcast:
Education Radio Program #5 on Internet Archive
Education Radio Program #5 on Audioport

Follow the links to find out more about the Grassroots Education Movement and about The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.

For further reading on education reform, see Education Radio Producer Tim Scott's paper: A Nation at Risk to Win the Future: The State of Public Education in the U.S.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Education Radio Program 4: Jonathan Kozol: Inequality and Education Reform

Recounting his early days in education, remembering the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and continuing the fight for equality in our nation's public schools, Jonathan Kozol delivers an impassioned and inspiring speech to a group of educators. Take a little time out of your busy day to listen to this tireless activist, educator, author and brilliant raconteur. When it is over you will be inspired to take action, hug a teacher and share his message with loved ones.

Follow the links below to download this show as a podcast:
Education Radio Program #4 on Internet Archive

Next weeks show will focus on the film The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for “Superman.”  This film exposes and interrupts the dominant narrative within the film “Waiting for Superman” which serves as another catalyst for the privatization of public education by hedge fund millionaires and corporate interests. As the filmmakers put it: Public Education is not for sale!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My favorite tweet of the week

Diane Ravitch: 20 years from now, historians will write about this era in education and wonder how and why policymakers lost their way.