This episode of the Old Mole is hosted by Frann Michel, and features discussions of uses and misuses of media representations--of Gaza (including failures of the mainstream media and the power of visual images), of public education (including misleading stories about charter schools and what makes learning possible) , and of science-fictional futures. The episode includes musical clips from M1 All Stars, Barbara Dane, and Michael Franti & Spearhead:
Bill Resnick continues his conversation with Gwen Sullivan and Elizabeth Thiel of the Portland Association of Teachers. They discuss the importance of teachers' academic freedom to design classes tailored to the needs of their diverse students, as well as the importance of making sure that funding allocated to education is actually spent on classroom learning. They dispel common misconceptions about charter schools and public schools, and describe what professional development should mean, and what it often means in practice. The discussion concludes with the recognition that to improve education we need to end poverty and inequality, and that this will entail teachers coordinating with other unions and other movements.
17:47 minutes (8.14 MB)
Portland's teachers recently won a contract with the School Board enabling them to turn more of their attention to their work. Two leaders of the Portland Association of Teachers Gwen Sullivan and Elizabeth Thiel talk with the Old Mole's Bill Resnick about how this came about with help from students and their families. Part 2 of this interview, in which Gwen and Elizabeth discuss how Portland's teachers will be able to use their improved position to better educate children, will be aired on next week's Old Mole. 23:54 minutes (16.41 MB)
Jeff Kropf is a conservative who served in the Oregon legislature between 1999 and 2007. While there, he helped pass the Charter Schools Act, a piece of legislation based on language from the free market, limited government advocating American Legislative Exchange Council. But Mr. Kropf, who is now a co-founder of Oregon Connections Academy, an online charter school says many former democrats in the legislature helped pass that law. And he says Governor Kitzhaber's administration is experimenting with blended schooling that combines forms of public education and charter schooling. Don Merrill talks with Mr. Kropf about the positives and negatives of alternative education for Oregon's kids. 29:32 minutes (27.04 MB)
Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a civil rights pioneer. He led the NAACP in the early 90s and he was the director of the Million Man March. He is involved in a number of self empowerment initiatives including a collaboration with media mogul Russell Simmons to use hip hop as a way for youth to transmit experiential messages to the larger community. Mr. Chavis was recently elevated to the position of president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Don Merrill sat down with Mr. Chavis to talk about his newest job to once again help energize and educate not just black communities but all communities. 29:56 minutes (27.4 MB)
Joe Clement hosts this episode about neoliberal education in the Chinese context, the latest season of Orange is the New Black, We Are BRAVE (a reproductive rights & justice project aimed at serving women of color), and a proposed Communist Party of Cascadia. 55:07 minutes (22.08 MB)
Bill Resnick talks with Yong Zhao about high-stakes testing and related neoliberal education paradigms in China, and why there is resistance to it. They consider the danger of narrowing education with definitions of success tied to tests and quantifiable methods.