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.

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.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Charter Schools: The Great Scam of Our Time

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In this weeks episode of Education Radio we attempt to answer the question "why is it important to keep public education public, and what role do charter schools play in privatizing education?  Julie Cavanaugh, Lisa Donlan, Pauline Lipman, Brian Jones, William Watkins, Karen Lewis, and Kevin Kumashiro all help us to answer this question.

First we'll hear from Julie Cavanaugh, a special education teacher, activist, and filmmaker in Red Hook Brooklyn about her activism in the fight against charter schools. Julie, along with other members of the Grassroots Education Movement directed, wrote, and is featured in the documentary "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman." Julie helps us understand the myths and realities about charter schools.

Parent, activist, and one of the other filmmakers, Lisa Donlan will than explain the role that money and profit play in the privatization of public schools.

Pauline Lipman
Later in the show, Pauline Lipman, professor, activist, and author of the book The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and the Right to the City helps us to understand how discourses of blame, pathology and choice have been used to garner support for charter schools and further privatize public education.

Teacher, activist, and filmmaker Brian Jones then examines the intersections between racism, classism and the corporate education reform movement. 

William Watkins
Next, University of Illinois Chicago, Professor William Watkins answers our questions about the racism behind the education reform movement, the ways in which corporate education reformers appropriate the language of social justice, and how the education reform movement could lead to the dismantling of universal public education. Dr. Watkins is the editor of The Assault on Public Education, Confronting the Politics of Corporate School Reform.

Karen Lewis
Karen Lewis, current president of the Chicago Teachers Union and nationally board certified teacher, describes some of the troubling impacts of charter schools both in Chicago and across the country.

Kevin Kumashiro
Finally, we speak with Kevin Kumashiro, professor of Asian American Studies and Education at the University of Illinois Chicago and president elect of the National Association of Multicultural Education, about the potential for public education to be used as tool for resistance and liberation.

Dr. Kumashiro's latest book, Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture, takes aim at the current discourse on education reform, paying particular attention to the ways that scapegoating public-school teachers, teachers unions, and teacher education masks the real, systemic problems.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Racism, Class and the Attack on Public Education: A Talk by Brian Jones

In this episode we spend the hour listening to a talk by Brian Jones titled “Still Separate, Still Unequal: Racism, Class and the Attack on Public Education.” He was speaking to a group of teachers and parents in New York City this past February as part of Black History Month.

Brian Jones
Brian has worked as an elementary school teacher in Harlem and is currently a fourth grade public school teacher in Brooklyn, NYC. Brian participated with the Grassroots Education Movement, GEMNYC, to produce the documentary An Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman in 2011. This documentary was a response to the widely publicized film Waiting for Superman, produced by Participant Media, which also produced An Inconvenient Truth. Education Radio episode 5 “Exposing the Myth of Education Reform” from September of last year highlighted Jones’ work on this documentary and can still be heard on our blog.

In his talk, Brian draws connections between attacks on labor and attacks on public schools. He suggests education reformers’ emphasis on test scores, teachers and outcomes is about “excellence” (using their words), but not equity. Brian addresses the increasingly undemocratic process by which these neoliberal reforms are being implemented, and the potential power of true solidarity between parents and teachers.

You can down load mp3s of this program here:
Audioport (podcast)
Internet archive