Acclaimed Poet & Former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia on Poetry & Arts Education

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dana Gioia, a poet, writer, and the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Dana discusses why the arts are so pivotal to the intellectual and civic development of America’s K-12 schoolchildren, allowing them to grow spiritually, emotionally, creatively, imaginatively, and even physically. He also explores how some of the specific skills students learn through music, drawing, poetry, and theater go well beyond traditional subjects. Dana explains why he believes the lack of arts education in our schools is a national problem, and addresses some misconceptions about why schools are not offering it. He delves into why poetry has such a profound connection to the human experience, and the many ways in which it builds self-confidence, emotional maturity, and can lead to intellectual transformation. Dana shares stories about learning from his Mexican-American mother to love the arts, teaching students to appreciate poetry at the University of Southern California, and the success of a national contest that he launched at the NEA, Poetry Out Loud. Throughout the interview, he treats listeners to recitations from Shakespeare and Poe, and concludes with a special reading of one of his own sonnets.

Stories of the Week: A new poll finds that 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to return to their classrooms if schools reopen this fall, and in a separate poll of parents, 60 percent will likely pursue homeschooling options. A USA Today series highlights the benefits of high-quality dual-language programs to close achievement gaps among America’s five million English language learners, especially in states with a growing non-native population.

Newsmaker Interview Guest:

Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet and writer. Former California Poet Laureate and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), he was born in Los Angeles of a working-class, Italian- and Mexican-American family. Under Gioia’s direction, NEA’s work included Reading at Risk, To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, Poetry Out Loud, The Big Read, and Shakespeare in American Communities, which brought wide public attention to the importance of reading, drama, and the arts. He has published five full-length collections of verse, most recently 99 Poems: New & Selected (2016), winning the Poets’ Prize as the best new book of the year, while his work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, Poetry, The New York Times Book Review, and The Hudson Review. Gioia has been awarded 10 honorary doctorates, and in 2010 he received the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. He received a B.A. and M.B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. from Harvard in Comparative Literature.

The next episode will air on June 5th, 2020 with guest Jeff Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Newslinks:

Back to school? 1 in 5 teachers are unlikely to return to reopened classrooms this fall, poll says

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/05/26/coronavirus-schools-teachers-poll-ipsos-parents-fall-online/5254729002/

More US schools teach in English and Spanish, but not enough to help Latino kids

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/education/2020/01/06/english-language-learners-benefit-from-dual-language-immersion-bilingual-education/4058632002/

Get Updates on Our Education Research

Recent Episodes

Hoover Institution’s Dr. Eric Hanushek on COVID-19, K-12 Learning Loss, & Economic Impact

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. They discuss his research, cited by The Wall Street Journal, on learning loss due to the pandemic, especially among poor, minority, and rural students, and its impact on skills and earnings.

UK Classics Scholar Kathryn Tempest on Cicero, Brutus, & the Death of Caesar

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Kathryn Tempest, a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton in London, UK, and author of Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome and Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. They discuss the historical, civic, and moral lessons political leaders, educators, and schoolchildren today can learn by studying the Roman Republic and the lives of key figures from that era such as Cicero and Brutus.

Best-Selling, Netflix Author Loung Ung On Surviving Pol Pot’s Killing Fields

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Loung Ung, a human-rights activist; the author of the bestselling books First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, Lucky Child, and Lulu in the Sky; and a co-screenwriter of the 2017 Netflix Original Movie, First They Killed My Father. Ms. Ung shares her experiences living through genocide under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, which resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population. 

American Federation for Children’s Tommy Schultz on School Choice & Edu Federalism

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Tommy Schultz, CEO-elect of the American Federation for Children (AFC). They discuss how COVID-19 school closures have increased the interest in alternatives to public schools, and what AFC's polling shows on shifts in attitudes toward school choice options in both urban and rural communities.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, International Best-Selling Author & Human Rights Activist

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights, Infidel: My Life, and Nomad: From Islam to America - A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. 

WSJ Drama Editor Terry Teachout on Jazz Greats Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald continue our celebration of Black achievements with Terry Teachout, drama critic at The Wall Street Journal, and author of such books as Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.