55 Strong: Lessons from the West Virginia Teachers Strike

In our latest episode, Have You Heard talks to teachers in West Virginia (lots of them!) about the nine-day walkout that shuttered schools across the state – and what they think teachers in other states can learn from their powerful example. And a special thanks to all of the Mountain State teachers who helped out with this episode, sharing your stories and your insights. We learned a lot and think that listeners will too. Complete transcript available here.

Am I Next? School Shootings and Student Protests

Student strikes and walkouts have led to real political change in the past. Can they force politicians to finally do something about gun violence today? We talk to historian Jon Zimmerman about powerful protests led by previous generations of students, and what made them so effective. And we hear from student leaders who are organizing protests right now, speaking up and walking out of their schools, in order to try to force a change on an issue that affects them so directly.

The Skills Trap

Is there anyone left who doesn’t think the view of higher-education-as-workforce development is all that? Count Have You Heard among the skeptics. In our latest, we hear from Mike Rose, author of Back to School about why tailoring school to a narrow set of workplace skills is such a terrible idea. And we meet a home health aide who went to community college in hopes of earning more money, fell in love with learning, and “spread her wings,” emerging with big goals and even bigger demands for what her community deserves. One of our best episodes to date!

One Year In: Reflections on the DeVos Education Agenda

Has it really been a whole year since VP Mike Pence cast his tie-breaking vote, making Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education? Congrats! You survived – and DeVos remains Trump’s least popular cabinet official. In this episode of Have You Heard, Jennifer and Jack reflect on DeVos’ first year, a task they prepared for by watching, reading, and listening to WAY too many DeVos speeches. (Note: don’t try this at home, or in close proximity to sharp objects). Their top takeaway: after 365 days, DeVos remains misunderstood and misunderestimated. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you will experience the 46 longest seconds of your life – and still have many minutes to go in the episode!

What Gets Taught at Voucher Schools?

Turns out that’s not an easy question to answer. Even as the number of private schools that get taxpayer funds via school vouchers or tax credit scholarships is on the rise, few states keep any kind of tabs on what these schools are actually teaching. We talk to Rebecca Klein, education reporter for the Huffington Post, about her recent series on three popular curricula. As Klein explains, kids on the receiving end of these widely-used lessons are being schooled in an extreme religious and ideological worldview. Oh—and don’t miss Jack’s trip in the time machine to learn how US public schools were made secular in the first place.