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 25, 2011

We are the 99%: Fighting for the "Public" in Education

In this week’s program, we feature the Occupy Together movement; also referred to as the 99% movement. We share testimony of educators, parents, students, and teacher union organizers who are participating, and we reflect on the time we spent at Occupy locations in New York, Boston and Amherst, Massachusetts. We also explore the deep connections between this movement and the fight for equity in public education.

We are living in a time when banks and corporations responsible for the most recent economic collapse received massive government bailouts, many of which are now thriving more than ever, and corporate profits on a whole are at an all time high. Military spending is higher now than at any point since World War II as a means to build and maintain a much-despised empire abroad, and despite a major recession, the wealthiest Americans have grown even richer. 

Consequently, massive and extensive unemployment is making a bad situation worse for many, especially African Americans and Latinos who are experiencing further declines in employment rates, rising poverty rates, falling homeownership rates, and decreasing health insurance and retirement coverage. Additionally, the overall number of people living in poverty has reached the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available; and the income gap between the top 10 percent and the bottom 90 percent has reached a level higher than any other since 1917, which includes the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. 

Set against this context, we at Education Radio have been inspired by the 99% movement – and see ourselves not as outside of it as neutral bystanders, but as deeply connected to it, with a responsibility to use the platform we have to continue to disrupt the dominant narrative. So a group of us spent a few days down at Occupy Wall Street, observing, participating, and documenting the range of participant voices, specifically those who are invested in public education.

You can download mp3s of this program via the following links:
Program #10 We are the 99% on Internet Archive
Program #10 We are the 99% on Audioport (Podcast)

Also, find out more about the 99% Movement and the Teacher Activist Groups you heard about in this program here:
Occupy Wall Street
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE)
New Jersey Teacher Activist Group
Occupy the Hood 
People of Color Working Group at OWS
Cornel West on Democracy Now
Ira Shor

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unconditional Positive Regard: Can Radical Love Survive Strict Accountability Structures? (Part Two of Two)

The Peck Full Service Community School – which is part of a district under threat of corrective action by the state -- is attempting to create aschool community where engagement, voice, shared decision making, and caringare understood to be central to student achievement. In this second part of a two-part episode, we return toPeck Full Service Community School to examine the complexities of how itadheres to its two core values -- ‘student achievement’ and ‘unconditional positive regard’ -- within thecurrent climate of high-stakes testing and strict accountability structures. As Education Radio has come to know the people and practices of Peck, wefind ourselves raising questions about not only how, but if, school communitiescan be remade to be more human and democratic under the narrowing andoppressive pressures of our current accountability systems.
In this episode we again hear from Paul Hyry-Dermith, Principal of the Peck Full Service Community School, as well as two teachers at Peck, Katie Silva and Justin Cotton. We also spoke with Alan Bloomgarden, a community partner and Peck Access Coordinator.

Use the following links to download this show as an mp3:
Program #9 on Audioport
Program #9 on Internet Archive

Friday, October 7, 2011

Family Voice and Engagement in a High Needs Public School: Radical Caring as School Reform (Part One of Two)

Community schools, wrap around schools, and full service community schools are all names used to describe a growing trend that sees school –community partnerships as a means to address the issues of poverty- homelessness-hunger-lack of health care-that must be attended to before students can be expected to focus on learning.  The connection between poverty and poor school performance is real and well documented. While the neo-liberal discourse dismisses the impact of poverty on student learning and even suggests, in the twisted manipulations of language that mark its narrative, that to attend to a child’s poverty is to somehow diminish the student’s potential, going to school hungry, living with insecurity about shelter, and struggling to meet basic needs like heating, health care, vision and dental care severely impact children as they begin the school day.

For this week's program, Education Radio went to William Peck Full Service Community School in Holyoke Massachusetts to find out how they understand, and practice, what it means to be a full service community school. At Peck, located in Holyoke, one of the poorest communities in Massachusetts, we discovered a school community where discourses of caring, of relationship, and of humanness dominate - and are seen as essential to student achievement. At Peck family engagement equates to voice, decision making, and active participation in the day to day life of the school.

This program features several different voices and perspectives at Peck - we hear from Principal Paul Hyry-Demith, Project Director Megan Harding, Family Engagement Coordinator Maria Luisa Arroyo and teacher Justin Cotton. We also hear from Peck parents and Family Leaders Gloria Aquino and Raphael Torres as well as a Peck student. 

This program is the first part of a two-part series.

To download an mp3 of this show, please follow these links:

For more information about what you hear on this program, please visit the following: