The weekly ARW podcast covers education issues, focusing on how K-12 and higher education are changing in the 21st century.

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Wikipedia’s Bum Rap

Wikipedia has gotten a lot of flak over the years for being inaccurate and untrustworthy. But in 2010, Wikimedia, the global movement behind Wikipedia, began recruiting professors from major U.S. universities to assign the work of editing Wikipedia articles to their students.
Image: Us and Them podcast.

A Visit From the Church Lady

Back in the 1960s, the Supreme Court declared it was unconstitutional for public schools to sponsor organized prayer and bible readings, but today there are still groups who say religious lessons belong in public school programs.
Image: Abdo Publishing

Teaching Black Lives Matter

In November, a new social studies book about the Black Lives Matter movement will be available for middle school and high school students nationwide. While no one has had a chance to read the book yet, the idea is stirring controversy and curiosity.

Beyond the Blackboard

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.

From Boots to Books

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

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.

The Living Legacy

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.
Producer Emily Hanford recording in a preschool classroom in Palatka, Florida  Photo by Stephen Smith

From the Archives: Early Lessons

Head Start got its start 50 years ago. Our documentary, "Early Lessons," by Emily Hanford, profiles the program that inspired the creation of Head Start.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, during the college affordability bus tour, Aug. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Henninger High School in Syracuse, New York, during the college affordability bus tour, Aug. 22, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Goodbye, College Ratings (For Now)

The Obama administration recently declared that it would no longer pursue a college ratings system based on accessibility, affordability and student success. And college presidents everywhere breathed a sigh of relief.
Image: Sweet Briar College web site

Sweet Briar Returns

Sweet Briar College was about to close after struggling with dwindling enrollment and other problems. An alumni group raised more than 20 million dollars in pledges to keep the doors open, but the school's survival is still deeply in doubt.