Podcast Episodes

Willie Carver Image

America’s culture wars are driving great teachers out of the classroom, exacerbating a shortage that has reached critical levels in most states. The story of Willie Carver, an extraordinary English and French high school teacher from Kentucky, is especially tragic. He was selected as the state’s teacher of the year in 2022 and honored recently with 49 other outstanding teachers at the White House. He was beloved by his students and colleagues. 

But…

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Story added: 2022-09-18
naim madyun

na'im madyun reads a short story about a second grader named Ellis and her friend Coolidge, who prayed that their 3rd grade teacher WOULDN'T be the aging Mrs. Nimble.  The prayer wasn't answered, but by the end of the year, with Mrs. Nimble as their teacher, they offered another prayer -- that she wouldn't retire. It's an ode to teachers, madyun says--one that provides insight into the journey that led him to become a teacher himself. 

Story added: 2022-02-22
Julie w sign

Julie Hasson and Ken Futernick discuss some of the powerful lessons learned from the teacher stories she writes about in her new book, Safe, Seen, and Stretched - the Remarkable Ways Teachers Shape Students' Lives

Julie shares an inspiring story about her own teacher, Mrs. Russell, who, Julie says, laid the foundation for everything she has achieved. 

Julie also tells the story of an engineering student who recalled what it…

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Story added: 2022-01-11
History and Civics Image

Guests representing diverse political perspectives find some common ground on these controversial questions:

  • What does high-quality history and civics education look like in a democratic society?
  • What should teachers, particularly those who teach history and civics, be teaching our children?
  • Do new state laws, like…
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Story added: 2021-10-27
Hess Image from YT

Is it appropriate – even a good thing in this time of intense political division -- for social studies teachers to bring politics, current events, and highly controversial issues into the classroom?  

Diana Hess is a former social studies teacher, now Dean of the College of Education at the University of Wisconsin, and a nationally recognized expert on civic education. Drawing upon extensive research on classroom practices, she argues that in a…

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Story added: 2021-10-12
Fremont Image

A junior high school teacher, her school principal, and a teacher educator weigh in on critical questions about history and civics education in the era of fake news, social media, and heightened political pressure. 

  • What does high-quality history and civics education for younger students look like and how can it help protect our democracy?
  • Why should teachers promote civic mindedness and not just facts about how government…
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Story added: 2021-10-11
Fake news and Hoaxes Image

The explosion of fake news, "hoaxes," and social media make it increasingly difficult for students to tell the difference between fact and fiction. And today's students, like the rest of us, can easily fall victim to "motivated reasoning" -- the tendency to believe what they want to believe, not what the evidence points to.

The educators in this episode discuss the challenges this poses for educators and for our democracy. They also recommend…

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Story added: 2021-09-28
Funding Panel Image

Panelists on this episode argue that inadequate and inequitable funding of our public schools pose a dire threat to American democracy. That's because students in under-resourced schools, those who tend to be poor and people of color, are less able to participate in the democratic process. Panelist Derek Black, author of Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and The Assault on American Democracy, claims the assault by those who want to dismantle public education…

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Story added: 2021-09-20
Geoff Prentiss Image

Geoff Prentiss attributes much of his success as an architect to his "enigmatic" college professor of design, Leslie Laskey, with whom he stayed connected for nearly 50 years. "Frightening" is how Prentiss described his first class with Laskey, but he was intimidating because "he wanted you to be open to things you didn't know."

"He was a great teacher," Prentiss says, "because he focused on the the big picture, which is about awareness and perception…

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Story added: 2021-08-31
Texas TS image

In June 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill (HB 3979) that restricts what teachers can do in public school classrooms. 

  • Teachers can no longer be required to participate in training about race or sex stereotyping.
  • Teachers can longer promote the idea that racism or sexism in America is, or has ever been, systemic. 
  • It requires teachers who discuss current events to “explore the topic from contending…
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Story added: 2021-08-25
Civic Engagement Image

Three civic education experts -- Joseph Kahne, Alejandra Frausto, and Eve Vankley express their concerns about the current state of American democracy and explain how real-world civic engagement in schools prepares young people, regardless of their political orientation, to work together in finding the common good and to participate meaningfully in democratic life. 

They also address efforts by some public officials to limit civic engagement and…

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Story added: 2021-08-19
Berkowitz and Bell Image

This episode is part of our series on what schools can do to help save our democracy. Guests include Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz, McDonnell Professor of Character Education at the Center for Character Education and Citizenship at the University of Missouri at St. Louis; and Dr. Kashina Bell, Deputy Superintendent for the School District of University City in St. Louis, Missouri. Both talk about character education -- what it looks like, how it's done, and…

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Story added: 2021-07-25
Bruce Stewart Picture

Bruce Stewart is a life-long educator who dedicated his career to social justice and high-quality education for all. As a history teacher and guidance counselor at Walter Hines Page Senior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, he led the effort to desegregate the school 1963. Stewart became a Quaker educator and later served as Head of School at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. from 1998 to 2009. 

In this episode, Jennifer Futernick, a…

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Story added: 2021-06-20
David Berliner Image

David Berliner, one of this country's preeminent education scholars, tells the story of a teacher named Jennifer, whose classroom he visited many years ago. "I like visiting classrooms," Berliner says, "in part because they are so difficult to understand. It is an enormous intellectual challenge to make sense of teachers and students with curriculum materials in a classroom setting...[Observing teachers] is a bit like trying to study what comes out the end of a funnel–…

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Story added: 2021-05-10
Peter at White House

Peter Boykin, a history teacher in Detroit, Michigan, recounts the amazing story of his great-great grandfather named Johnson Chestnut Whittaker who was born into slavery in 1858 and was the subject of a book and TV movie titled, Assault at West Point. Whittaker would later become a teacher and a principal, which inspired Boykin to become an educator himself over a century later. 

Takia Maxxwell, one of Boykin's former students, also pays tribute…

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Story added: 2021-05-06
Teach Plus Image

Three of America's finest teachers -- Justin Johnson from Illinois, Eric Hale from Texas, and Juliana Urtubey from Nevada -- were selected to represent their respective states as Teachers of the Year, in part because of their extraordinary influence as teacher leaders. Each one is also a policy fellow for Teach Plus, an organization that empowers teachers to take on leadership roles with education policy and practice. Teach Plus…

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Story added: 2021-04-30
Dino Luna Picture

Dino Luna was about to become a pilot but switched careers after accidentally falling in love with teaching. Now a veteran educator, Luna reflects on what it takes to be of service to his colleagues as an instructional coach. He also shares a touching story about a former 5th grade student who took time, years later, to tell him about the profound effect he had on her life. Turns out it was just a few kind words of encouragement. "You never know what simple thing you…

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Story added: 2021-04-27
Malik Boykin Image

Malik Boykin (aka Malik Starx) is an accomplished musician and a professor of psychology at Brown University where he teaches a course on stigma and prejudice. Boykin shares two transformational teacher stories--the first from second grade when he was sent to the principal's office for raising questions…

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Story added: 2021-03-25