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

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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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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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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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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: 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

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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

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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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pearson's Teacher Performance Assessment: Exposed!

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"From one educator to another, thank you for taking a stand!

In this weeks program, we listen to an episode we originally aired back in March about the development of a national Teacher Performance Assessment, driven by the testing giant, Pearson, Inc. Thanks to a recent story in the New York Times, this topic has gained new relevance and has opened up the discussion to a wider audience. Michael Winerip's article, "New Procedure for Teaching LicenseDraws Protest," appeared in the New York Times on Monday, May 7th. The story featured University of Massachusetts Amherst student teachers and instructors who are refusing to take part in the field test of a Teacher Performance Assessment being implemented by Pearson, Inc., a private company and the largest assessment and testing provider in the United States.

Both our program and the NYTimes article feature teacher educator, and Education Radio producer, Barbara Madeloni and her student teachers explaining what the TPA is and why they are resisting it. After our original broadcast, we heard from teachers and teacher educators from around the country who were also struggling with ways to resist. The article in the Times has, excitingly, further opened the discussion of the privatization of teacher training and resistance to this national audience. Since the story was published, we've received an incredible amount of feedback and comments that have affirmed the work of Barbara and her student teachers. This outcry of parents, teachers, activists and others who have contacted Barbara or commented on the article should remind us all that there are many out there who disagree with the current trend of privatizing public education. And that the act of teacher training cannot and should not be reduced to an assembly-line, Taylorist logic.

A sampling of comments from around the country that were sent to Barbara Madeloni, with identifying information removed, can be found after the jump...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Detracking for Education Equity: A Lecture by Carol Burris

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In this week's program we will be listening to a speech by Dr. Carol Corbett Burris about the negative impacts of tracking and the possibilities and opportunities that exist when schools detrack students.  This speech was delivered as part of the Simmons College/Beacon press Race, Education & Democracy Lectures on March 31, 2012. 

Beginning her career as a Spanish teacher Dr. Burris is now the principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Center School District in suburban Long Island, which has seen a staggering increases in student achievement and the near elimination of the achievement gap as a result of detracking.  Dr Burris received her PhD from Teachers College in 2003 where her award-winning dissertation detailed the positive effects seen on student achievement when her district began detracking math classes.

Dr. Burris recently made headlines with the Open Letter of Concern she co-authored with Wheatley school principal Sean Fenny protesting the use of evaluating teachers and principles by student test scores. As of today over 1400 New York state principals have signed this letter of resistance to neoliberal education reform.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Criminalizing failure: How high stakes testing warps identities, opportunities and communities

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In this week’s program, we take a closer look at how high stakes testing is impacting what happens in classrooms, how teachers see students, how students see themselves, and the kinds of society we are building through how young people are being educated. The impact of high stakes tests is both broadly social and intimately personal. Socially, high stakes testing re-segregates our schools, marginalizes black and brown children, young people who live in poverty and children who do not learn in traditional ways. High stakes testing tells us who we will value, and who we will not value, and makes room for us to criminalize youth, especially black and brown youth, opening the path to the school to prison pipeline. It operates within and builds on white supremacy, and exploits long standing privileges and oppressions. And, as with any dominant discourse, high stakes testing enters our consciousness and begins to structure how we see ourselves, each other, and the kind of world we want to build.

We speak with Linda Christensen, Director of the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis and Clark College, author of Reading, Writing and Rising Up among other books, and editorial board member for Rethinking Schools about how, entering the classroom, even with a curriculum designed to access student voices and knowledge, she discovered that the testing came to stand between her and the students, and her work with students to reclaim their knowledge and stories.
Wayne Au

Linda Christensen
Wayne Au, assistant professor of education at University of Washington Bothell,  and author of Unequal by Design: High stakes testing and the standardization of inequality, talks about how high stakes testing locks some students out of the curriculum and begins a process of devaluing - that changes how students know themselves, how teachers know students, and how society sees young people, especially young people of color.

Joan Grim
Joan Grim, teacher educator in special education at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, helps us to understand how high stakes testing is undermining 40 years of creating more inclusive classrooms by re-segregating both schools and the broader community, diminishing the strength and pleasure of diverse communities, and restricting the opportunities for young people with disabilities within our communities.

Edward Brockenbrough
We then speak first with Ed Brockenbrough, assistant professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, about how white supremacy, the institutionalization of systems of power and privilege that advantage white people, manifests in schools, the role of high stakes testing as surveillance,  and the school to prison pipeline.   Erica Meiners, professor of education and women’s studies at Northeastern Illinois University, furthers the connection from high stakes testing, to surveillance, to the school to prison pipeline and, finally, our massive incarceration system.

Erica Meiners (with Tim Scott)
We also hear from educators who are subverting these destructive process in their classrooms, including Linda Christensen, and Monique Redeaux, fifth grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, who talks about her experience within the high stakes testing machine and how she and her students find their voices within it.  We close out the program a spoken word piece from Cadijah Hyacinth, a student from NYC.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Curriculum in Public Schools

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In today’s program we discuss curriculum politics in the public school system, and the role they play in establishing a biased and oppressive curriculum that silences lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people throughout history and today.  We talk with students, educators, and activists who are committed to furthering social justice for the LGBTQ community, and have participated in the movement towards an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum. We also explore ways in which LGBTQ inclusion can be successful, as with the FAIR Education Act, and one example of a high school LGBTQ literature course that is central to the curriculum and highly enrolled. Through these interviews we see just how powerful an LGBTQ curriculum can be for individual students, but also for the kinds of communities we create when we know our histories, learn from our struggles and come to understand the fluidity and inter-sectionality of our identities.

Erica Meiners
We speak with Erica Meiners, Northeastern Illinois University Professor, author of The right to be hostile: Schools, prisons and the making of public enemies, and Queer Activist, about some of the barriers to LGBTQ curriculum including the power of heteronormativity. Kaila Kuban, professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, talks with us about the challenge posed to schools as instruments of obedience when LGBTQ opens up the fluidity of our identities, and Kirsten Helmer, Doctoral candidate of Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, helps us think about both the need for and impediments to LGBTQ inclusive curriculum.
Kirsten Helmer

We then speak with Amherst, Massachusetts teacher Sara Barber-Just about her development and teaching of a Gay and Lesbian literature course.  Next we talk with Katie Russavage and Grace Findlen-Golden, two Massachusetts high school students about what an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum means to them. And finally, we hear from Rachel Harper, teacher and a founding member of the Chicago based organization ChiQueer about the incredible power of the uncertainty opened up by LGBTQ curriculum.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ongoing Sham of Teach for America: Part Two

Tania Kappner
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This is part two of a two part expose. Click here to listen to part one, The Sham of Teach for America

In this second of our two-part exploration of Teach for America, we'll explore TFA's larger goals and connection to corporate education reform. In doing so, we examine TFA's impact on professional teachers and their unions, and their hijacking of a social justice discourse in an effort to manufacture public acquiescence to the imposition of an agenda that ultimately seeks to further consolidate knowledge, wealth and power for a few at the expense of the many.
Karen Lewis
Diane Ravitch

We continue our conversations with many of the people we spoke with in Part One of our program - people who have researched and experienced Teach for America - including Barbara Veltri, Assistant Professor of Education at Northern Arizona State university, TFA corps member mentor, and author of Learning on Other People's Kids: Becoming a Teach for America Teacher; University of Illinois Chicago Professor of Asian American Studies and Education Kevin Kumashiro; Associate Professor of Education at the University of Alabama Philip Kovacs; and education historian Diane Ravitch. Two new voices we hear in this program are the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis; and high school teacher, union activist and civil rights activist with BAMN, Tania Kappner.

We also continue to hear the stories of two people who have had first-hand experience as TFA recruits and corps-members. Jameson Brewer, a traditionally certified teacher and now corps member in Atlanta who is currently finishing his second year. And, Neha Singhal, a former TFA recruit who left TFA after the training when she began to uncover its true agenda. Neha is also a guest host and producer of our TFA programming.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Sham of Teach for America: Part One

Neha Singhal
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This is part one of a two part expose. Click here to listen to part two, The Ongoing Sham of Teach for America

In this week's show, Education Radio continues to disrupt the dominant narrative of corporate education reform by investigating the organization Teach for America (TFA). TFA is one of many insidious examples of how the language of social justice and equity is hijacked and appropriated, and instead employed to further the goals of the neoliberal education reform agenda. This agenda includes a firm belief that education should primarily serve the interests of private profit and as with all neoliberal education reformers, TFA is actively intensifying racial and class inequality, and the destruction of education as an essential public good along with the continued decimation of unions - two institutions that are primary determinants of a democratic society.

Wendy Kopp
In this first part of our two-part series on TFA, we challenge the claims that TFA makes to support its mission by taking a closer look at TFA recruitment, training, its impact on teacher education, its approach to diversity, and the impossibility of the TFA model to create spaces for authentic teaching and learning.

We speak to a variety of people who have researched and experienced Teach for America, including Barbara Veltri, Assistant Professor of Education at Northern Arizona State university, TFA corps member mentor, and author of Learning on Other People's Kids: Becoming a Teach for America Teacher. We hear from University of Illinois Chicago Professor of Asian American Studies and Education Kevin Kumashiro on TFA's impact on teacher education, and Associate Professor of Education at the University of Alabama Philip Kovacs, who has investigated TFA's research, and from education historian Diane Ravitch. We also hear what TFA founder Wendy Kopp has to say about their mission and philosophy. We close the show by hearing from CUNY professor and leading proponent of critical pedagogy Ira Shor, who talks about the importance of creating spaces for authentic teaching and learning.

Throughout the show we also listen to the stories of two people who have had first-hand experience as TFA recruits and corps-members. Jameson Brewer is a traditionally certified teacher and now corps member in Atlanta who is currently finishing his second year. And, Neha Singhal, a former TFA recruit who left TFA after the training when she began to uncover its true agenda. Neha is also a guest host and producer of our program this week.

Ira Shor
In next week's continuation of our programming on TFA, we'll explore TFA’s connection to corporate education reform, its impact on professional teachers and their unions, and TFA's hijacking of a social justice discourse to promote policies that are, in actuality, upholding and furthering inequality rather than challenging it.

For additional information that expands this critique of TFA, see the following links:
A dialogue between two TFA corps members (one of which is Jameson Brewer, featured on this program)
Philip Kovacs on TFA research
Teach for America, The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders by Andrew Hartman
Looking Past the Spin: Teach for America by Barbara Miner
Why I Did TFA and Why You Shouldn't by Gary Rubenstein
Why TFA is Not Welcome in My Classroom by Mark Naisson

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Winners and Losers: Naming and Reframing Education Reform

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In the first segment of this week's show, we feature a keynote talk given by Kevin Kumashiro, at the 3rd annual NYCoRE Conference. The conference was titled "Education is a Right! Not Just for the Rich or White!" and took place in New York City during March 2012.
Kevin Kumashiro

In his talk, Kumashiro examines various problems within current education reform policies as well as four ways we can push back against education reform and reimagine change in public education. Kumashiro is a professor of Asian American Studies and Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the current president-elect of the National Association for Multicultural Education. His most recent book is titled Bad Teacher: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture.

William Watkins
In the second segment, Education Radio producers Barbara Madeloni, Dani O'Brian and Tim Scott speak with William Watkins, a former high school teacher and a Professor of Curriculum & Instruction at the Univ. of Illinois Chicago College of Education. We spoke with professor Watkins, who is the editor of the 2011 book titled The Assault on Public Education: Confronting the Politics of Corporate School Reform. According to Pauline Lipman, one of the books contributors, "The purpose of the book is to try to get at what is behind the assault and what are the implications for public education, for democracy, for equity and justice - and what we can do about it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Teacher Performance Assessment: A Money Grab for Pearson

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This week on Education Radio we speak with Education Radio producer Barbara Madeloni and two students from the teacher education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is on the faculty, Amy Lanham and Rachel Hoogstraten, about their experiences coming to understand and resist the incursion of privatizing forces on teacher education. Barbara, Amy and Rachel tell the story of the push for the development of a national teacher performance assessment (TPA) for student teachers, the infiltration of Pearson Inc into the distribution and scoring of the assessment, and the implications of these for public teacher education, teacher development, privacy and confidentiality, and how we understand what it means to teach. Their story reminds us that, as educators with a commitment to social justice, it is our responsibility to understand the neoliberal agenda, name it when we see it at work, educate each other about how it insinuates itself into our institutions and discourses, and stand together in solidarity to resist.

Amy Lanham is a doctoral student in English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.Rachel Hoogstraten is working toward her M.Ed in English education at the University of Massachusett Amherst. Both Amy and Rachel are completing their student teaching practicum in the University of Massachusetts Amherst licensure program in secondary education.

Barbara Madeloni is a senior lecturer in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a member of the Education Radio collective.