school-discipline

Spare the Rod August 2016

A get-tough attitude prevailed among educators in the 1980s and 1990s, but research shows that zero-tolerance policies don't make schools safer and lead to disproportionate discipline for students of color.
the-one

Stuck at Square One August 2016

A system meant to give college students a better shot at succeeding is actually getting in the way of many, costing them time and money and taking a particular toll on students of color.
Photos: Stephen Smith

Thirsty Planet May 2016

Scientists say most people on Earth will first experience climate change in terms of water -- either too much or too little. This documentary explores some of the most pressing water problems and some innovative solutions by visiting two countries where water issues are critical: India and Israel. A vast and ecologically diverse country, India suffers from water problems found across the globe: flooding, drought, pollution, and lack of access by the poor. In Israel, a combination of cutting-edge technology and sweeping government policy has largely solved the nation's long struggle with water scarcity. But the benefits of abundant water are not shared equally throughout Israel and the West Bank.
(Photos: Jennifer Simonson and Emily Haavik)

Bought and Sold

Advocates for kids are pushing for a new approach to combating underage prostitution: treating young people caught up in sex trafficking as victims, not delinquents. We embed in a police sting, visit a horse ranch for young victims of trafficking in Minnesota, and visit male sex-buyers in Seattle who are trying to change their ways. This documentary examines how police and lawmakers are increasingly turning to a public health approach to help vulnerable young people break free of sex trafficking. And it explores efforts to stop traffickers and buyers.
beyond-blackboard

Beyond the Blackboard September 2015

In the 1940s a British headmaster named Kurt Hahn set up a wilderness school called Outward Bound to teach young men the skills they needed to survive World War II -- skills like leadership, persistence, and working together. Hahn believed these were skills conventional schools should focus on too. Fifty years later, Hahn's ideas about education inspired the founding of a network of public schools in the United States. Students in these schools outperform their peers when it comes to test scores and graduation rates -- and also motivation, academic engagement and problem-solving ability. This documentary explores the "Expeditionary Learning" approach, traces the history of ideas that led to its inception, and investigates what American schools could learn from its success.
boots-to-books

From Boots to Books September 2015

The longest war in American history is drawing to a close. Now, the men and women who served are coming home, and many hope to use higher education to build new, better lives. They have help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a piece of legislation that many advocates say offers more support to returning veterans than any policy since the original GI Bill of 1944. In this documentary, we explore how the first GI Bill revolutionized the lives of millions of young veterans, America’s institutions of higher education, and American society at large. But America’s economic and academic systems have changed, and veterans today are returning to a very different reality than their predecessors.
teaching-teachers

Teaching Teachers August 2015

Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they're on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher. We also visit U.S. schools that are taking a page from Japan and radically rethinking the way they approach the idea of teacher improvement.
living-legacy

The Living Legacy August 2015

Before the civil rights movement, African Americans were largely barred from white-dominated institutions of higher education. And so black Americans, and their white supporters, founded their own schools, which came to be known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCU graduates helped launch the civil rights movement, built the black middle class, and staffed the pulpits of black churches and the halls of almost every black primary school before the 1960s. But after desegregation, some people began to ask whether HBCUs had outlived their purpose. Yet for the students who attend them, HBCUs still play a crucial -- and unique -- role. In this documentary, we hear first-person testimony from students about why they chose an HBCU; and we travel to an HBCU that’s in the process of reinventing itself wholesale.
(Photos: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)

The First Family of Radio November 2014

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, he and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt both used the new medium of radio to reach into American homes like never before. They rallied the nation to combat the Great Depression and fight fascism. The Roosevelts forged an uncommonly personal relationship with the people. This documentary explores how FDR and ER's use of radio revolutionized the way Americans relate to the White House and its occupants.
A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work September 2014

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.