The Best Of Our Knowledge

#1374: “Empire State Education Policy”

So we’re going to start out close to home this week. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently toured the state promoting his legislative plans for the New Year. He spent a lot of that time talking about education…and leaders around the state noticed.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear reaction to education policy changes in the Empire State.

Then it’s off to the UK to hear how scientists are trying to repair defects in DNA with gene splicing…and we’ll spend an Academic Minute learning fertility from a fruit fly.

#1373: “Teaching Politics – Starting From Scratch”

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk again with Dr. Adam Carrington, an assistant professor of politics, and not only put the election in historic perspective, but see how history will talk about our choices.

#1372: “Education Needs Communication”

Let’s start the New Year off with a slogan: education needs communication. Not my best work, but the point is learning to communicate and listen is something many of us need help with.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from the author of a journal article of effective forms of communication.

commu

#1371: “Talking Science With Ira Flatow…Again”

When I was going over segments to replay on the program at the end of the year, I remembered this one from April and remembered what fun I had producing it. Hope you have fun listening again. Back in the early 1970s, a new network called National Public Radio hired a young producer who had two special interests: baseball and science. Since there was little chance of NPR running Mets games he got on the air with that other topic.

#1370: “Let’s Meet Some Cool People Again”

I get to say this every year about this time and it’s still true: you meet the most interesting people when you do a public radio show about knowledge! Today, and next week on the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll look back at a few of my favorite conversations with from this past year with people who are a whole lot smarter than me.

First we’ll hear from Dr. Phyllis Schneck, the Deputy Under-Secretary of Cybersecurity for the US Department of Homeland Security. Then we’ll go back and hear my chat with Jeff Newberry, the Poet in Residence at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia.

Finally we’ll spend an Academic Minute talking to the animals.

#1369: “So You Wanna Be A Teacher”

A lot of new teachers are becoming ex-teachers in a year or two, and that makes it increasingly difficult for the teachers who stay to live a well-rounded life while also being effective in the classroom. Basically, they have to learn to get a life.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll talk to Dave Stuart Jr,  a high school teacher who has written about how teachers can reclaim their lives.

We’ll also hear from a teacher who has a less optimistic view of the profession…and we’ll spend an academic minute finding out how teachers can avoid becoming academic roadkill.

#1368: “Tietz – A 21st Century Textbook”

Just about every school in the US, maybe even the world has some basic items. Chairs and desks and bathrooms with unusual aromas. They also have textbooks. Now, the editor of one of the most respected science textbooks in the world is hoping to revolutionize the way textbooks are put together.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll talk about the latest version of the Tietz Textbook.

#1367: “A Title IX Suprise”

Title IX has been around for a while. It states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance“. Over the 44 years since the law was passed, almost 10 times the number of women and girls are participating in school athletics. The number of coaches is another story. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge: a report on the impact of Title IX on women coaches.

We’ll also meet a couple of friend who met at Bible study and ended up making lots of beer…and we’ll spend an academic minute flirting with disaster.

#1366: “A Substitute’s Story”

Is there a more thankless job in the world than being a substitute teacher? OK, there probably are a lot them but you have to admit walking into a room with 20 to 30 middle school kids looking to make the next 50 minutes of your life miserable doesn’t sound like a party. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to someone who became of substitute and wrote a book about it.

We’ll also hear about a native American woman’s experiences in boarding school, head to Spain to visit a school for bullfighters, and we’ll spend an academic minute hearing about what all the cool kids are probably really not doing.

#1365: “Ireland’s Got A Hamilton Too”

If you ever visit Ireland in October, you may see hundreds of people gather for a walk to a bridge in Dublin that celebrates Ireland’s greatest mathematician. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear William Rowan Hamilton, who vandalized Broom Bridge with an equation…an equation which changed mathematics forever.

#1364: “The Political Classroom”

#1364: “The Political Classroom”

It’s finally over! After two years of non-stop election coverage we can finally take a little break from all the talk about politics and scandals and…whatever. That makes this a perfect time to revisit a book about politics in the classroom. We’ve been hearing about the decline of civics education for years…and one issue keeps arising: is it possible to keep politics out of civics? For that matter, is keeping politics out of the classroom a good idea at all?

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the authors of the book “The Political Classroom” about how keeping politics in the classroom can go a long way towards teaching students how to participate in civics discussions and political life.

And we’ll spend an academic minute talking political accounting.

#1363: “The Synthetic Cadaver Lab”

#1363: “The Synthetic Cadaver Lab”

There are small colleges and universities across the country that have nursing, physical therapy, even pre-med majors that cannot afford to open and maintain a cadaver lab. But there is a way for these students to get the hands-on learning they need. Introducing the SynDaver.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll visit a university anatomy lab and see just how life like these artificial bodies really are.

We’ll also hear how the rise in food allergies in students is changing the job of school nurses, learn about a new center the US Army is opening for children with autism and spend an academic minute finding out if your dad’s mental health can make a difference in yours.

#1362: “Ending Zero Tolerance”

#1362: “Ending Zero Tolerance”

Since the late 1980s, more and more schools around the US have adopted zero tolerance policies towards discipline. Some have said that the policies have made schools safer but critics say the rise in suspensions and expulsions harm more than just the students being punished.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of the new book Ending Zero Tolerance…and why he feels it’s time to completely rethink school discipline.

We’ll also spend an academic minute trying to remember if we ran this Academic Minute segment before.

 

#1361: “In The Shadow Of Liberty”

Here’s a rather obscure name from American history: Billy Lee. He was George Washington’s valet. There’s also Alfred Jackson. He was a faithful servant of Andrew Jackson. The two names you do know have something in common, they were US Presidents. The other two men also have something in common, they were slaves.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we open up the door to history class and talk about the complicated early history of the US…and the people who lived in the shadow of liberty.

We’ll also spend an academic minute passing the buck.

#1360: “Teaching Politics In An ‘Unusual’ Year”

#1360: “Teaching Politics In An ‘Unusual’ Year”

Teaching politics can be an interesting balancing act in the best of times. This year…who the heck knows? Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a professor of politics about exactly how he gets his message to students…and how they get theirs right back to him.

We’ll also hear from a professor who is fascinated by the world of magic and magicians…and thinks you should be too.

And we’ll spend an academic looking talking about how what you read influences what you write.

#1359: “Go South To Freedom”

#1359: “Go South To Freedom”

It’s well known that in the early 1800’s, slaves who escaped captivity used a loosely knit group of safe houses called the Underground Railroad to find safety and freedom in the North. But some found themselves finding freedom in the other direction.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of a book for grade schoolers taken from a family’s oral history called Go South for Freedom.

 

#1358 “ITT Tech Students – What’s Next?”

In early September, the for-profit college ITT Tech suddenly shut down operations and over 50 thousand students were left with no degree, lots of debt and few options.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from the Undersecretary of Education about what’s being done to help the displaced students of ITT Tech.

We’ll also talk to the author of a book on evolution that is aimed at a very specific age group…preschoolers.

 

#1357: “Learning Liberty”

#1357: “Learning Liberty”

Here in the US, freedom’s kind of a big deal. In fact, the founding fathers used the words freedom and liberty a lot while crafting the constitution. Now, over 200 years later, we’re still studying those words and their meaning.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a professor who says that liberty is the lodestar of our governing document.

We’ll also hear about a group of student suing for a better environment, attend the reenactment of a pivotal battle in the War of 1812…and spend an academic minute trying to find some peace and quiet.

 

#1356 “Maria Says Goodbye To Sesame Street”

#1356 “Maria Says Goodbye To Sesame Street”

In 1971, an actress from the Bronx, who had just made her Broadway debut, was offered an audition on a children’s educational television show. It had already been on the air for two years…and it was different.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to actress Sonia Manzano, who retired last year after 44 years of playing Maria on Sesame Street.

We’ll also hear about a competition to build a better robot. The competitors/ Eighth graders from California

And we’ll spend an academic minute using artificial intelligence to make healthy choices. What could possibly go wrong?k

#1355: “Remembering D.A. Henderson”

#1355: “Remembering D.A. Henderson”

We talk a lot about heroes in today’s culture. In fact, the word has lost a little bit of its luster. But the world lost a hero a few weeks ago…someone whose name you may not know. Let’s just say if you woke up this morning and you didn’t have smallpox, thank Dr. D.A. Henderson.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll dip into the archives and replay my interview with Dr. Henderson who passed away last month at the age of 87.

#1354: “The Aviation-Medicine Connection”

#1354: “The Aviation-Medicine Connection”

Traveling by air has never been safer. For years, airlines have put practices and procedures in place that make flying a safe, if not entirely comfortable experience. And a lot of people could learn a thing or two from their efforts. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a pilot who is also a doctor and clinical chemist, about what the world of medicine could learn from the world of aviation.

And since we’re spending some time talking about flying, we’ll spend an academic minute underground talking about caves.

#1353: “Show Me The Jobs”

#1353: “Show Me The Jobs”

They’re moving in. Millions of freshmen are getting ready for their first year of college and one of the big questions on their mind is: “did I pick the right major to help me get a job”? It’s a pretty important question. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to an economist about where the jobs are…or at least where they will be in four years.

We’ll also hear commentary about what it’s like being the smart girl in class, learn about a new data based health care initiative…and spend an academic minute trying to measure your overall health…whatever that means.

#1352: “The Steroid Debate”

#1352: “The Steroid Debate”

If you’re a sports fan, this has to be a great time of year for you. First of all, the Olympics are everywhere. Then there’s the baseball pennant races, College and Pro Football getting underway. Student athletes of all ages from Pee Wee to Division One will be doing their best to be their best on the field. But for athletes of any age or experience level, that sometimes means taking performance enhancing drugs.

#1351: “The Mix ‘N Match Degree”

#1351: “The Mix ‘N Match Degree”

When you stop and think about it, a bachelor’s degree in, well just about anything, is pretty much a one size fits all exercise.  Students take the same classes from the same instructors and take the same exams. But that could be changing. So after talking about degrees in Homeland Security and Gaming in the past two weeks, today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a new customizable business degree program.

We’ll also talk about big data…it’s everywhere.

And we’ll spend an academic minute with the story of the only female governor in the US to die in office.

#1350: “The Gamers’ Degree”

#1350: “The Gamers’ Degree”

You may have noticed that a lot of people are walking around a lot of places playing a certain game on their phones. Although it may seem that this game that shall not be named dropped from the heavens…it actually had to be developed by human beings. And people who can develop such things are in demand. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a new college degree in video game production.

We’ll also talk to a veteran teacher who wrote a book about helicopter parents, special snowflake and other…uh…stuff.

And we’ll spend an academic minute with music that makes us sad…which apparently is a good thing.

#1349: “Leadership and Bachelors and Warm Lines (OH MY!)”

#1349: “Leadership and Bachelors and Warm Lines (OH MY!)”

If you want to get ahead in life, you have to learn to make good decisions. And that should start at an early age. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a program in upstate New York called the Leadership project that is working to help 5th graders make good choices.

We’ll also hear about a new bachelor’s degree in homeland security, find out what a warm line is (hint: it’s kinda like a hot line…only less urgent), and we’ll spend an academic minute learning from our mistakes.

#1348: “Educational Ethics”

#1348: “Educational Ethics”

Being a teacher means mastering quite a few disciplines. Communication, innovation, empathy and you may not have thought of this one…ethics. In fact, educators come across ethical dilemmas almost every day…and how they deal with them affects students in profound ways. Not to mention themselves.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the co-author of a new book on educational ethics.

We’ll also spend an academic minute seeing if lapses in ethics can be blamed on your hormones.

#1347: “Finding NEEMO”

#1347: “Finding NEEMO”

If you want to train someone for a mission to the International Space Station here on Earth, you have to find a place that can be…space station-y. To do that, NASA is going off shore. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a scientist who is taking part in this year’s edition of Project NEEMO. We’ll also hear how students can stay smart over the summer…and spend an academic minute checking out the size of the galaxy.

#1346: “Political Science And Brexit”

#1346: “Political Science And Brexit”

There are some events that a whole lot of us get up for. Sports fans love the Super Bowl and the World Series and the World Cup. Movie fans wait for the newest sequel or big blockbuster. Most of us pay close attention to the elections. But for a political scientist…nothing this year will come close to Brexit!

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a political science professor who is also an expert on European politics about the ins and outs and squiggles yet to come about the UK’s recent vote.

We’ll also spend an academic minute looking for what we really want in a politician, virtue, vice or something in between.

#1345: “Know Your Audience”

#1345: “Know Your Audience”

Know your audience. That’s something that writers and performers are told all the time. It’s also important for teachers to not only know your audience, but to also know how to talk to them. It’s called culturally tailored education, and it’s an approach that’s being used around the country to bring important information about health to a racially diverse population. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the director of one of these programs in western New York State.

We’ll also spend an academic minute learning what academics do when they are not academic-ing.

#1344: “The Cyber Secretary”

#1344: “The Cyber Secretary”

Remember when you got your first computer and had to make up a password for the first time? That was your introduction to the world of cybersecurity. That world has gotten a lot larger. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a homeland security official about cybersecurity in and out of schools.

We’ll also hear about NY State’s trans gender bathroom policy…or lack thereof, find out if the water in the state’s schools is safe to drink…and spend an academic minute longing for your smart phone.

#1343: “Pushout – The Criminalization Of Black Girls In Schools”

#1343: “Pushout – The Criminalization Of Black Girls In Schools”

They always tell me not to start the show with number and I try to obey. But these numbers are pretty stark.  African American girls make up 16 percent of the school population in the US…but they are a third of all school related arrests in the country. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a leader in the fight for justice for black girls in school.

We’ll also spend an academic minute looking at what the change in US-Cuban relations means for race relations on the island.

 

#1342: “History Class: Abe Lincoln – Self Made Politician”

#1342: “History Class: Abe Lincoln – Self Made Politician”

It’s been a while since we rang the bell and invited you into history class here at TBOOK University, and given the current atmosphere in the political world, why not talk about one of the most revered politicians in American history.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, Sidney Blumenthal talks about the first volume in his massive new project exploring the history of the man who some consider the greatest President of the United States.

We’ll also spend an academic minute debating whether you can actually call someone the greatest, when whole populations weren’t allowed to participate.

#1341: “Transgender Classrooms”

#1341: “Transgender Classrooms”

Unless you’ve taken up residence under the proverbial rock you’ve heard that the rights of transgender students has become a huge topic of discussion and controversy over the past couple of months…especially when it comes to schools. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a school in western New York where the students produced a tribute to a transgender classmate.

Then it’s off to the west coast, where a bay area high school is making history with a groundbreaking LGBT course.

We’ll also hear about a college in Vermont that is calling it quits, and spend an academic minute learning about teamwork!

#1340: “Virtual Reality Use In Education”

#1340: “Virtual Reality Use In Education”

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll see how virtual reality is saving lives today…and training students to save more in the future.

Then we’ll head to northern New York where several schools are practicing something called restorative justice. And we’ll also spend an academic minute learning all about the dump…or the landfill, whichever floats your boat.

#1339: “Reading Reconsidered”

#1339: “Reading Reconsidered”

Reading is the core of the Common Core. For the most part, education cannot begin without a student first learning how to read.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the co-author of the new book Reading Reconsidered, which looks at the power of reading and how it is being taught on all levels…or at least, maybe, how it should be.

#1338: “Women, The Church And Higher Education”

If you spent any of your school years at all in a Catholic school, then you probably spent some time being taught by nuns. Over the years, more and more Catholic schools are turning to lay teachers as fewer women are called to a religious vocation. But there is at least one college in the northeast that is still run by someone called “sister”, not “mister”

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear a conversation with Sister Mary Reap, the President of Elms College in the Berkshires.

We’ll also hear about student in New York State college holding a good old fashioned sit-in…and we’ll spend an academic minute annoying women.

#1337: “The ‘Stronger Nation’ Report”

#1337: “The ‘Stronger Nation’ Report”

Every year, the Lumina Foundation, a national organization that monitors post-secondary education and works towards increasing the number of Americans with college degrees releases a report on just how many students have gotten that piece of paper. The report for 2016 has just been released.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the president of the Lumina Foundation about their goals, and how they plan to get there.

We’ll also head to the capital of Rwanda and meet a teacher changing lives through technology…and we’ll spend an academic minute with scientists saving lives through technology.

#1336: “Talking Science With Ira Flatow”

#1336: “Talking Science With Ira Flatow”

Back in the early 1970s, a new network called National Public Radio hired a young producer out of college who had two special interests: baseball and science. And since the network didn’t plan on doing much sports coverage, he finally got on the air with that other topic.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, I sit down with Ira Flatow, the person who founded NPR’s Science Unit and the host of the weekly public radio program Science Friday.

We’ll also spend an academic minute with the millions of cells in your body that don’t really belong to your body…your microbiome.

#1335: “Spectrum of Kindness”

#1335: “Spectrum of Kindness”

So how should we tackle the subject of autism, as a health or medical issue or as an education issue? You could make an argument for either. April is Autism Awareness Month…and we’re going to look at it as something people live with. And there are stories about all of those lives.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the President and CEO of the Hospital for Special Care in Connecticut about their program called “Spectrum of Kindness”, which hopes to tell as many of those stores as possible.

Then it’s off to sea to talk to the chief scientist of the expedition that found the wreck of the Titanic…and we’ll spend an academic minute with a word we’re hearing a lot during this election season: gerrymandering.

#1334: Defending Darwin – Evolution Education In The US

#1334: Defending Darwin – Evolution Education In The US

It always strikes us as a little odd when someone talks about either believing or not believing in evolution. While we understand the theological arguments, and trust me we’re not getting into one today, the current scientific evidence shows evolution to be a fact, not a belief system. But still, about half the population of the US says they don’t believe that…and an article last year in Orion Magazine points to school systems as being the number one culprit.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of that article about the need for improving evolution education in the US.

And we’ll spend an academic minute with some people who might not have evolved all that much after all.

#1333: 30 Million Words

#1333: 30 Million Words

Over the years we’ve heard about the importance of reading to our children from a very young age. Now, there’s research to show that just talking to children from the moment of birth can help their brains develop…and the number of words is extremely important.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about the 30 Million Words Initiative, and how poverty may be affecting the way some parents speak to their children.

Then it’s off the Maine where we’ll meet a teacher whose specialty is guns…and we’ll also spend an academic minute with another consequence of poverty…lack of self-control.

#1332: “Destination Imagination”

#1332: “Destination Imagination”

More schools around the country are emphasizing STEM education to help students get a head start in a world that is rapidly becoming more technology driven. But with all that science and math…is there any room for creativity?

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about a group where imagination is the key to the destination.

Then we’ll hear about some nursing students who are helping new refugees in the US navigate the health care system…and we’ll also spend an academic minute with Baby Boomers who are having a little too much fun.

#1331: “The Song of the Stars”

#1331: “The Song of the Stars”

Space is hot. Yes, I do in fact know that outer space is icy cold… but here on planet earth, shows about the planets and exploration of the universe are turning some astrophysicists into rock stars. Well now there’s one who would rather be a star in interpretive dance. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to an astrophysicist who is putting together a multimedia presentation that’s out of this world.

Then we’ll hear about a unique program in Massachusetts that is helping high school students get a good start to the day.

And we’ll also spend an academic minute with a bunch of hungry college kids.