If You Have a Voice, Use It

Have You Heard road trips to Lawrence, Massachusetts to hear what students have to say…

On a frosty spring Saturday (does New England have any other kind???), Have You Heard co-creator Aaron French and I piled in the car and motored to Lawrence, Massachusetts to spend the day listening to students who, it turns out, have quite a lot to say. These student writing leaders and story tellers, part of an organization called Andover Bread Loaf that I’ve written about here, are determined to write a different future for themselves and their city. You’ll be dazzled by their eloquence… But wait – there’s more! The students also have something to say about the city’s schools, subject to a state takeover five years ago, and widely recognized as a turnaround success story, and a model for struggling districts elsewhere. Except that no one appears to have talked to the students in Lawrence who were being turned around. Working with the Lawrence Youth Council and Elevated Thought, a local arts organization, students surveyed more than 600 of their peers across the city, asking them questions like *what kind of subjects would you like to study?* *how do you like to learn?* and *what opportunities are missing for kids in Lawrence?* Their findings, and the months they spent researching education, inspired this remarkable film called What Is Education? In other words, episode #4 of Have You Heard is a multi-media affair both eye-opening and ear opening.

Don’t forget that sharing is caring, and feel free to send comments to jennifer@haveyouheardblog.com. You can also find the Have You Heard team on Twitter: @EduShyster and @AaronMoFoFrench.

Rebellion in New Orleans

Is it time for a second installment of my new podcast, Have You Heard, already? Indeed it is, and in this episode, we head to New Orleans, where there’s a rebellion brewing against the city’s decade-long experiment with urban education reform. We speak to the unlikely leader of the revolt to find out why residents of the Big Easy say that changes are being made “to them, not with them” and how this uprising could be heading to a city near you.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! Send comments, criticism, cheery greetings and suggested topics for future episodes to jennifer@haveyouheardblog.com.

 

Have You Heard?

The podcast series that I’ve been talking about forever is finally a real thing…

hyh-beacon-imageReader—or make that, listener: the day that really seemed as though it would never arrive is finally here! You can actually listen to the inaugural episode of our new podcast series, Have You Heard, as soon as you finish reading this page. The concept is simple: the debate over public education has been reduced to a stale screaming match. Our hope is that by introducing the kinds of voices that don’t typically make it into the conversation, we can cause a little, well, disruption. In this first episode, we head to Philly to talk to African American parents who are opting their kids out of standardized tests. And that’s just the start. In the coming months, we’ll be heading to New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Boston and beyond—the hottest of the hot spots in the battle to determine the future of our public schools. Now I know what you’re thinking: *Jennifer—you’re broke as you are constantly telling us. Did you re-marry up while we weren’t paying attention?* Well, not exactly… Continue reading →