Category Archives: Episode

Season 4, Episode 12: Do we actually have the right to an education?



Season 4, Episode 12: Do we actually have the right to an education?

The United States prides itself on being the first country to institutionalize and make mandatory free, taxpayer funded public education — but is that education something to which all children in the US actually have a right? The answer’s not as simple as it may seem.

Sources for this episode.

Next episode will post on Oct 22, 2021


Season 4, Episode 10 – Woman with a plan: The story of Helen Parkhurst and Dalton



  Season 4, Episode 10 – Woman with a plan: The story of Helen Parkhurst and Dalton

This episode describes the dynamic career of teacher and school reformer Helen Parkhurst, whose life’s mission was to replace the dull, factory-style structures of American public education with student-centered learning experiences tailored to individual children’s needs. What can we learn from Parkhurst’s experience, especially her famous “Dalton Plan,” that might inform the present moment, where schools may have a chance to re-define themselves post-COVID?

Sources for this episode.

Next episode will post on Sept 17th, 2021


S4E8 – Lost and Found: Addressing COVID “Learning Loss”



S4E8 – Lost and Found: Addressing COVID “Learning Loss”

Schools nationwide are grappling with this Fall’s expected challenges of “learning loss” due to the past year of pandemic-affected learning. But what exactly do we mean by “learning loss,” what are the remedies, and what are the questions we’re not asking but should be?

Sources for this episode.

Next episode will post on Friday, August 20th


S4E7 – Food fight! The surprisingly contentious history of school lunch



S4E7 – Food fight! The surprisingly contentious history of school lunch

Behind the pizza boats and tater tots lies an epic saga of conflict. Grab your tray and settle in as we explore the history of school lunch!

Sources for this episode.

Next episode will post on Aug 6th, 2021


S4E6 – What is the purpose of public education in the USA?



S4E6 – What is the purpose of public education in the USA?

What do we want from public schools, and how does that answer vary depending on whom, in our very divided nation, you ask? In this episode, I use a recent Atlantic article by George Packer, “The Four Americas,” as a frame for looking at how each of those four Americas might envision both the purpose and the future of public education in the USA.

Sources for this episode:

Next episode will post on Friday, July 23


S4E5 – Project Based Learning: Promises and Perils



S4E5 – Project Based Learning: Promises and Perils

Project Based Learning is often touted, yet too infrequently practiced, in US public schools. This episode (our 50th!) addresses the questions of just what is PBL, and what are the advantages – and challenges – of trying to teach and learn in this manner?

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Next episode will post on July 9th


S4E4 – Spare the rod: Corporal punishment in US public schools



S4E4 – Spare the rod: Corporal punishment in US public schools

The USA stands virtually alone among democracies in permitting schools to employ physical violence in disciplining students. This episode explores the history, permutations and present state of affairs of corporal punishment in US schools.

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Next episode will post on Friday, June 25


S4E3 – Let’s talk about sex, maybe?



S4E3 – Let’s talk about sex, maybe?

Whether US public schools should teach sex education, and just what exactly we even mean by that phrase, has been a point of contention since at least the 19th century. This episode recounts some of the major trends, currents and conflicts in the history, and present state, of school sex-ed.

Note: I only marked this episode as “explicit” to avoid any trouble with Apple Podcasts’ flagging algorithm, which might freak out at the word “sex” in the episode title. There are in fact no words in this episode that would be bleeped on daytime television, and no descriptions (explicit or otherwise) of sexual acts. Whether this comes as a relief or a disappointment is entirely up to you.

Click here for sources for this episode.

Next episode will post on June 11th