Johns Hopkins’ Dr. David Steiner on Teaching Wisdom in Schools

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This week on The Learning Curve, guest cohosts Charlie Chieppo and Alisha Searcy join Dr. David Steiner for a wide-ranging discussion about the importance of education as a means of transmitting enduring wisdom to young people. Dr. Steiner discusses differences in K-12 education between the U.S. and the U.K., explores how schools of education may be contributing to the decline of K-12 education, reflects on the politicization of U.S. history and civics education, and talks about what states, governors, and state legislatures can do to lead systemic academic improvements. Dr. Steiner concludes the interview with a reading from his new book A Nation at Thought: Restoring Wisdom in America’s Schools.

Stories of the Week

Charlie cited a recent Boston Globe story written on the 30th anniversary of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act, and noted that the state knows what works in education and ought to reapply the practices and lessons of that legislation; Alisha discussed a story in The Marshall Project about the restoration of Pell Grant eligibility to about 760,000 people who are currently in America’s jails.

David Steiner is Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University. In 2020, he finished serving as a member of the Maryland State Board of Education and the Maryland Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education. He currently serves on the board of the Relay Graduate School of Education. Most recently, he was appointed to the Practitioner Council at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2009, Dr. Steiner was appointed Commissioner of Education for New York State, in 2005 as the Klara and Larry Silverstein Dean at the Hunter College School of Education, and in 2003 the Director of Education at the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Steiner consults regularly with the federal government, state education leaders, educational reform organizations, and universities. He has addressed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and authored books, book chapters, and more than fifty articles. His most recent book A Nation at Thought: Restoring Wisdom in America’s Schools was published in 2023. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Balliol College, Oxford University, and a PhD in political science from Harvard University.

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Johns Hopkins’ Dr. David Steiner on Teaching Wisdom in K-12 Education

[00:00:00] Charlie Chieppo: Well, hello everybody and welcome to this week’s edition of The Learning Curve. My name is Charlie Chieppo and I’m a guest cohost this week along with my friend Alisha Searcy. Welcome, Alisha.

Alisha Searcy: Thank you, Charlie.

Charlie Chieppo: Good to see you again.

Alisha Searcy: Good to be with you.

[00:00:35] Charlie: This week I am going to be talking a little bit to start out before we get to Dr. David Steiner. My story for the week is about the 30th anniversary of education reform here in Massachusetts. And so, I am going to do my best to make this a very thoughtful and reasoned couple of minutes, but I warn you that it could turn into a rant. But I’ll do my best, I promise. I’m not very good at hiding how steamed I am about this, but anyway, so, there was a Boston Globe article very recently about the 30th anniversary of this landmark Massachusetts education reform law, and I have to say that the comments of some of those that were quoted in the article really made steam come out of my ears. And so, just to back up a little bit for those of you who are not local, this very successful education reform law 30 years ago in Massachusetts mixed a big infusion of new state money deployed in a way that rightfully favored less-affluent districts in return for high standards, charter schools, and more accountability for everybody in the system.

[00:01:37] Charlie: It worked. Massachusetts became the first state ever to score best in the nation in every category, at both levels tested, on tests called NAEP, a national test that’s best known as—or more colloquially known—as the nation’s report card. In 2007, Massachusetts students even tied for best in the world in eighth grade science.

[00:02:01] Charlie: So, fast forward to today: State scores on the nation’s report card have reached a 19-year low. If we look at 2011 to 2019, a period I want to say which is before the pandemic math scores declined here more than in all but 17 states. Our reading scores declined more than in all but 14 states.

[00:02:24] Charlie: So, it made me a little bit crazy when Mark Roosevelt, who is one of the architects of education reform, and a guy I really like and respect said, well, the bill made progress, but then we stagnated. It’s time to take a new look at what work’s best. And I would say to that, the evidence is so clear that it’s not that we need to take a new look at what works best.

[00:02:45] Charlie: What we need to do is actually stop dismantling the law and go back to the success that we had from implementing it. So, let’s go down the list and look at sort of the things that the law did, you know, high standards. Well, we adopted much weaker standards known as Common Core. Many of you are familiar, I’m sure, in 2010, they were implemented in the next year, and that was the year in which the decline really started in Massachusetts. Since then, we’ve also replaced science and history standards with weaker standards. On charter schools, look, the charter advocates in Massachusetts shot themselves in the foot by taking a, a charter expansion initiative to the state ballot in 2016.

[00:03:29] Charlie: Never go to a referendum with an opponent that can turn out endless numbers of people to knock on doors and make calls—like Massachusetts teachers unions can. Nonetheless, if you look at. some of the facts on Massachusetts charter school performance, Stanford University study found that a year in a Boston charter school was similar in terms of academic impact to a year in one of the city’s vaunted exam schools.

[00:03:55] Charlie: The same outfit at Stanford found that Boston charter schools are doing more to narrow achievement gaps than any other group of public schools in the United States. And over a period of years, urban charter schools in Massachusetts were producing scores and outcomes that were on the level and sometimes better than those of some of the wealthiest suburbs in the state.

[00:04:18] Charlie: And it wasn’t just charters that were closing achievement gaps. In 2006, education standards expert E. D. Hirsch said, if you’re a parent of a poor minority student, Massachusetts is the place you want to be because of the impact that we were having. But now chartered growth has stagnated and achievement gaps are once again rising in Massachusetts.

[00:04:40] Charlie: You know, in terms of accountability, Massachusetts eliminated the independent state entity that did comprehensive reviews of all the state’s school districts. And now the push is underway to eliminate MCAS, the state test students have to pass to graduate from high school.

[00:04:57] Charlie: And this kind of boggles my mind, you know, contrary to what you hear if you’re in Massachusetts every day, MCAS requires students to perform at an eighth grade level to graduate from high school and they get multiple attempts starting in 10th grade to pass the test. So, I would simply close by saying, how about if we do this? How about if we take all the attention that we’ve taken over the last 15 years to dismantling this reform and put it back into implementing the reform, which provided unmatched success that we and families, and particularly students across Massachusetts would all be in much better shape. So there, I tried not to rant.

[00:05:39] Alisha: Hear, hear, Charlie. My story is entitled Students Behind Bars Regain Access to College Financial Aid. And this is a piece written by the Marshall Project. So ,it’s very interesting to me to learn — and I’m happy to hear — that since 1994, when the practice was stopped in this country, where individuals who are incarcerated, particularly in prison could no longer have access to Pell Grants. didn’t realize that until I read this article that that stopped in 1994 when the Crime Act was passed. And so, slowly but surely, starting in 2020, the Obama Administration and the Congress started to restore some of these opportunities for inmates.

[00:06:26] Alisha: And so, happy to hear now, of course, because when you think about this mass incarceration problem that we have in this country — I don’t think, I may be slightly off on this, but I believe that the U.S. has the largest incarcerated population in the world. If not, it’s certainly in the top five. So, we really have a problem when it comes to incarceration.

[00:06:49] Alisha: But we know that one of the ways that we can cut down on recidivism is by providing opportunities for education for people. And so, I’m happy to hear that this is now happening. And so, what that means is that there are 30,000 students behind bars right now who will have access to some $130 million in financial aid per year.

[00:07:11] Alisha: And all 760,000 incarcerated people would be newly eligible for aid according to the Department of Education. But all of those people, of course, won’t access it because not every prison has access to higher education. And so, the bottom line is, I think this is really important for this country. I think it’s important for families and communities, people who are coming out of prison, who could be coming out with a college degree, obviously could do wonders for removing families out of poverty, for giving people opportunities to find work and meaningful employment and truly be able to contribute to their community and to society rather than going back to prison. So, kudos to our current administration and to the Congress over the last few years who have restored this. And I’m excited about what’s possible for lots of families who have been impacted by incarceration.

[00:08:02] Charlie: Alisha, thank you for that. You know, one of the things as I listen to you, one of the things that I’m absolutely astonished by is, I understand the desire for people who have done bad things to be punished, but what astonishes me sometimes is that that desire for punishment goes so far that even if it means punishing the rest of society.

Alisha: Right.

[00:08:23] Charlie: People are still intent on this, kind of biblical level punishment and it just does not make sense. But anyway, I think that was very interesting. All right, Alisha, thank you. And coming up after the break is Dr. David Steiner of Johns Hopkins University. We’ll be back in a second.

Charlie: Hello, welcome back. David Steiner is executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and professor of education at Johns Hopkins University. In 2020, he finished serving as a member of the Maryland State Board of Education and the Maryland Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education. He currently serves on the board of the Relay Graduate School of Education. Most recently, he was appointed to the practitioner council at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. In 2009, Dr. Steiner was appointed Commissioner of Education for New York State. In 2005, as the Clara and Larry Silverstein Dean at the Hunter College School of Education. And in 2003, Director of Education at the National Endowment. for the arts. Dr. Steiner consults regularly with the federal government, state education leaders, educational reform organizations, and universities. He has addressed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and authored books, book chapters, and more than 50 articles. His most recent book, A Nation at Thought: Restoring Wisdom in America’s Schools, was published just this year. He holds a BA and MA degrees from Balliol College, Oxford University, and a PhD in political science from Harvard. Dr. Steiner, welcome. It’s great to have you here.

[00:10:20] Dr. David Steiner: Thank you. Delighted to join you.

[00:10:23] Charlie: Well, let’s dive right in. You know, across your career, you’ve been a strong proponent of K-12 education and teacher preparation, ground in the liberal arts, a man, a man after my own heart, and curriculum based on high quality academic content. Your new book is A Nation at Thought, Restoring Wisdom in America’s Schools. Would you share with us some of its key lessons about the importance of education transmitting wisdom to young people?

[00:10:52] David: Let me divide this into a couple of points, if I may. Sure. Chat GPT tells us not unreasonably that wisdom is the ability to make sound judgments that exhibit practical knowledge.

[00:11:05] David: My question is what’s the source of that ability? In my art, in my book, I argue that it’s having one’s mind furnished with the riches of our collective culture, the active recall of science, knowledge, paintings, film, music, poetry. And of course, narratives from fiction and nonfiction, past and present. It’s this material that makes sound judgments, what Aristotle called phronesis, possible.

[00:11:32] David: This material renders us literally more thoughtful. After all, we spend more of our life with ourselves than with anyone else. When we have only our minds as interlocutors, what’s the quality of that private discourse with me and myself? The gift of an education in wisdom, as I see it, is that our inner dialogues are worth having, meaning that we won’t be a bore to ourselves. When our education has provided cognitive riches, aesthetically uplifting experiences, storehouse of ethical narratives worth pondering, then we will find it worth living with ourselves. Otherwise, if education fails, our mind, if I can use this analogy, is like an adolescent’s bedroom. It’s chaotic, it’s full of junk, it’s not a very happy place to live.

[00:12:25] David: Second, in contrast to deep knowledge, what’s “in” today? Well, as you know, it’s growth mindset and grit, critical thinking, social and emotional learning. But the research base for the first, for so-called metacognition skills, is remarkably weak. To be blunt about it, you can’t think critically about nothing in particular. Children need professional mental health support in many cases. And they need effective, supportive teaching, all of them. But rhetoric to the contrary, there really isn’t a new science of social and emotional learning. Finally, in the ELA classrooms of America, in the literature classes, students are told that the key to reading any text is to be a detective.

[00:13:15] David: I’m quoting David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core Standards — to be a detective, to find the main idea to problem in my view is that after the 50th such exercise, apathy is inevitable. And since when, by the way, is a rich novel to be treated as a crime scene to be solved? It sounds fun, but what’s the solution to Tolstoy’s War and Peace?

[00:13:41] David: In general, I would argue that the thin academic gruel we serve up to so many American middle and high schoolers, leave them quite, quite unsurprisingly, deeply bored, and we have the data that supports that judgment. Students know when they’re being taught down to, and we do that to millions every day. Finding the main idea is not a route to wisdom. So, I think we’ll put all of that together, and we are, in my view, rather on the wrong track.

[00:14:16] Charlie: Well, you know, I was particularly taken, just because I hadn’t heard it before, you know, in the past, I’ve certainly heard many of the good arguments that I certainly agree with for knowledge, the importance of having that knowledge base, what I never really thought about or taken into account is that issue of how important it is in terms of our internal life, our internal discussions, you know, and the amount of our education that comes from that. That’s really interesting. going to have to think about that one more. That is a great point. Thank you for that.

[00:14:46] Charlie: I’m very interested in the fact that you’ve had both formative and higher educational experiences in Britain as well as in the United States. So, when you compare the two, Britain and the United States, I’d love if you could talk to us a little bit about some of the respective strengths and weaknesses of schooling that you see in the two countries.

[00:15:05] David: Sure, and this will be a generalization, as you can imagine. To be personal for a moment, my own education was governed by what are called O or ordinary level and A or advanced level exams. Those are taken by children in England between 16 and then at 18. They’re content rich and they’re pretty rigorous.

[00:15:24] David: After a long, long period of drift in which the United Kingdom embraced what were called key stages of education, mostly defined by skills, the recent years of concerted government have seen a partial return to content-based curriculum and tests, obviously something I applaud. This is important, because the humanities in American high schools, students are assessed by tests that are largely skills based, not content based, right? Because we can’t agree on a national curriculum or even a state level curriculum, we’ve got to somehow bypass the fact that kids are exposed to very, very radically different stuff. And so, we try to test them by skills.

[00:16:10] David: This is despite evidence that the skills — like finding the main idea — actually depend on content knowledge. And this has resulted in teachers in America trying in vain to drill students for the American tests, especially the less affluent, on those skills, while the result is that those poor kids do far worse on the skills-based tests than their wealthier peers. So, the American system is actually more regressive than the British. The essential point is that unlike state generated tests in the U.S., we use tests here to evaluate schools and to hold schools and teachers accountable. The United Kingdom, and, by the way, most countries in the world, have a very different system where exams matter to students. The results of high school exit exams in England and many other countries are exactly and directly tied to university entrance, Not like here where it’s the SAT, ACT, GPA, but your end of high school tests are really irrelevant for students.

[00:17:17] Charlie: Do you think that accounts for why say in the U.K. that they have been able to come to some level of agreement about curriculum, which as you referenced, you know, really, it just keeps getting pushed down further and further because the higher up you go, the less able we are to agree on anything?

[00:17:33] David: Well, I think partly it’s because it was a more homogeneous culture, right? I mean, I think our terrific heterogeneity is a problem when it comes to curriculum, right? Because teachers make up their own stuff. But where we could be much better is that in England, and by the way, in other countries, Germany, for example, there’s a far wider array of subjects that students can choose to really study in depth at the high school level.

[00:18:01] David: And then there are assessments in each of those subjects, which count equally for university entry. Why has America decided that geometry, for example, is by definition more important than the study of economics, philosophy, I don’t know, environmental science or graphic design? Why is it that we have a class system of subjects with ELA and math right at the top and so many wonderful domains of human thought and endeavor at the bottom?

[00:18:32] David: And finally, as a whole, the British system goes deeper. Is more narrowly focused that the American, so you specialize in two or three subjects at high school for those A-level exams and by the time you go to college you know quite a lot about them the disadvantage and the advantage of the American system is that you go on studying, forr example, mathematics and science all the way through high school. I gave it up. I gave up math and science when I was 16. So, I know a great deal about —

[00:19:03] Charlie: I did too, but you weren’t supposed to. Right, right.

[00:19:09] David: I know a lot about Henry VIII, but I don’t know a lot about calculus. Right. So that’s a trade-off. But the link between high school assessments and the future that you faced, OK, you know, your university entrance — that missing link is terribly damaging to American students.

[00:19:27] Charlie: That’s a great point. I want to move on to then to another question on a topic that is important, you know, that I pay a lot of attention to largely because I don’t understand why we do this the way we do, but for many decades, teacher preparation programs have operated far removed from other traditional academic departments and within these teacher preparation programs, there’s often a hostility to the liberal arts, to STEM education, the focus on knowledge. Could you talk about the prevailing intellectual currents within teacher education and some of the ways in which schools of education may have contributed to America’s K-12 educational decline?

[00:20:07] David: Yeah, sure. This has been a passion for many years, or going back to when I was dean at a very large school of education in New York City, Hunter College. You know, it’s been said that the portion of 125th Street in New York City that divides Teachers College Columbia from Columbia University proper is quote the widest street in the world. As David Laboree, Stanford, and others have demonstrated, teacher training here — it began well enough, right?

[00:20:35] David: Providing basic content knowledge and a full year of clinical experience. What happened as far as we can tell is that schools of education wanted to elevate their stature to match colleges of arts and sciences, with the result, the professors would be promoted right on academic publications rather than knowing anything about effective teaching.

[00:20:57] David: In addition, the impact of John Dewey and his fellow Progressives — Dewey was a great philosopher, but not, in my view, a master teacher of teaching, he and his Progressives left teacher training, embracing the education “of the whole child.” And more importantly, of theories of learning that have a damaged effective education in my judgment for over a century. Let me give you current example. Almost half of the schools of education in the United States still today fail to teach the basic science of reading, despite an avalanche of evidence that’s been with us for two decades, that the alternative whole-language approach has been an abject failure. Most especially, by the way, for underprivileged students. As far as clinical preparation is concerned, only a small minority of future teachers in America get more than a single semester of it.

[00:21:53] David: And the way we supervise that semester is a catastrophe. What we do is we send out an adjunct professor from the ed school with a clipboard. We have a harried mentor teacher from the school. Neither of these adults is trained, right, in the effective instruction of new teachers, and neither of them are normed on common perceptions or standards.

[00:22:16] David: So, the poor young would-be teacher is bombarded by two adults who are untrained to teach him or her, and who’ve had no norming. That’s what we call professional preparation. Compare that to medicine and you, you know where we are.

[00:22:33] Charlie: What could possibly go wrong?

David: Indeed.

[00:22:37] Alisha: Well, we’ve learned quite a bit, Dr. Steiner. Thank you so much for this. You mentioned reading. So, I want to talk for a second about where we need to go in this country. A decade after Race to the Top and even before the massive learning loss during COVID, NAEP reading and math results in two-thirds of the states have declined, including high-performing states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. What would you like to see, and please help us, what would you like to see states, governors, and state legislatures do to lead systemic academic improvements?

[00:23:11] David: Well, we have, what, six minutes for this question. So, let’s plunge in. It’s a, I’m afraid it’s quite a list, but I’ll try and make it short. First, in pre-K, we’ve got to learn what has and hasn’t worked with Head Start and benefit from international best practices to create both scale and quality control. We have neither. And we should not be promoting children into third grade when they can’t read. Mississippi is the most improved reading performance state in the country, and one of the things they did was absolutely try to ensure that by the time a child is seven going on eight, they can read.

[00:23:51] David: Otherwise, don’t let them keep going. Second, stop the teaching and testing overemphasis on so-called skills, what I talked about earlier, and focus on rich content and conceptual understanding. Third, let’s replace the isolation of one teacher/one classroom — the last profession that works this way — with team teaching under the guidance of properly compensated master teachers, perhaps 100 children with subject matters, special needs teachers, English language learners, and student teachers.

[00:24:29] David: Fourth, we need a new school calendar that compresses the endless summer holiday so that we reduce the learning melt that happens, particularly for underprivileged. We also need to expand the list of subjects in high school that can count for children’s futures. Those are specifics, but there are systemic problems, which I’ll quickly go into.

[00:24:51] David: The three pillars of our system, how we prepare teachers, what we test, and the materials they teach are the product of three different industries that exist in their own bubble. Teachers are given a curriculum to teach that they’ve never or barely seen before, or they’re told to make it up, like DJs asked to create a playlist of materials.

[00:25:14] David: Our ELA tests don’t actually evaluate what students read. And that means that between the test teaching skills and teachers making up materials or pulling it off Pinterest or Google, the quality of your child’s education is, frankly, a matter of random luck. As a whole, our system is siloed and incoherent.

[00:25:38] David: What we should be doing is prepare teachers to teach high quality curriculum and then test that curriculum. This is by far the most common practice across the world. We need knowledge-based standards. We need to insist on high-quality, content-rich materials, provide assessments that teach mastery of those materials, attract a diverse teaching core, and provide a full year of clinical preparation for all future teachers.

[00:26:07] David: And finally, I have to say this, although it’s not going to make me very popular, we haven’t been telling the truth to ourselves. We’ve assumed that 20 years of rising high school GPAs and graduation rates, with somewhat stronger fourth grade reading, and higher numbers of Americans graduating from college, means that American schooling is doing something right.

[00:26:30] David: But actually, it isn’t. What we’ve had instead is steady grade inflation, both at high schools and institutions of higher education. That’s why high school GPA still predicts college results. All we’ve done is lied to ourselves, as the recent eighth grade NAEP results so clearly show. While our students are getting ever more A’s and ever more graduating, they’re doing no better, in fact, than they did two or even three decades ago. We simply now count as success what we once considered failure. We need to start telling the truth.

[00:27:08] Alisha: So, my mouth is wide open. I literally want to take this, just this portion that you answered and send it to every superintendent across the country, but certainly in Georgia where I live. Thank you for that very thorough answer, very, very helpful and gives so much insight on what we need to be doing now we just need to do it. So, our final question, U. S. history and civics education are the wellspring of our democratic way of life. But now those subjects are often bitterly politicized, and the recent NAEP civics results were well beyond disappointing. How should schools of all types provide meaningful civic knowledge and capacities right here and right now?

[00:27:52] David: Oh, I wish I had a magic wand. But let’s start with the fact that brute facts situated in simple narratives are education theories notwithstanding, very attractive to very young children, whose minds are just eager sponges of knowledge. That’s the time to teach them the basic information about our republic.

[00:28:14] David: Checker Finn, by the way, suggested that the 100 questions asked of immigrants seeking to be naturalized as U.S. citizens is a very useful touchstone of the knowledge required. On the other hand, it’s no use demanding that middle and high school students simply memorize bland data, but those students, I think civics education needs to be embedded into interdisciplinary contextual learning across the curriculum, by the way, including mathematical statistics.

[00:28:42] David: And taught through the use of primary documents, which are much, much more interesting than textbooks, multiple media, and opportunities for public involvement. For example, school level, public debate and presentations, oral argument before the school board, research letters to public officials. Of course, the contemporary culture wars are, as you mentioned, the elephants in the civics education room. What is acceptable for you in Boston is probably legislatively prohibited in Florida. The polarization that’s increasingly pressing us into two nations, leaving teachers, by the way, in what the Greeks call Mithoria, no man’s land is really creating a fraught situation.

[00:29:27] David: There are resources that try to respond, offering materials in civics and guidance for teachers to nurture thoughtful development of civics knowledge while trying to keep them away from creating parental ire, though that’s hardly easy these days. For example, the Educating for American Democracy resource is one of many that’s really pretty good. It’s focused on how we can help students become engaged citizens who sustain civil disagreement in a tolerant way and helps them to pursue civic action that’s informed and responsible. But the truth is that we’re creating a really fraught context for our teachers. The pressure to avoid controversy is simply producing bland and trivial content — propaganda from the left or the right, in my view, simply isn’t worthy of a participatory democracy.

[00:30:20] Alisha: Boom. That’s a drop mic moment. Thank you very much, Dr. Steiner. Thank you for being with us. Charlie and I have learned a lot and I can speak for myself. I’m fascinated by particularly the comparisons of education systems here and the U.K. and just the things that, frankly, we know we need to do and as Charlie said earlier, we know what works, we just haven’t been implementing those things. So, thank you so much for being with us. But before we let you go, we have to hear you read a paragraph from your latest book.

[00:30:52] David: You’re most kind. So here we go. Other animals reproduce, hunt, build homes, communicate, remember, and experience emotions as we do. But only human beings can think reflectively about their choices, their actions, and the trajectories of their lives. Without a well-developed capacity for such thoughtfulness, a life of eudaimonia isn’t possible. A life lived at the mercy of instincts, of unfiltered emotion, is the life of a human puppet, directed by chance and circumstance. The most fundamental purpose of education is thus to nurture our capacities to think. Education is the means by which our most human capabilities are transformed from innate potential to a life in which we can interrogate experience so as to learn and integrate into further action. The research that informs this book has raised perennial questions about what’s helpful or what’s ineffective in one or another educational strategy, but our root pedagogical failure and the most pernicious that we are not educating our children to be thoughtful about the purposes of life and how best to pursue them. Thank you.

[00:32:05] Charlie: Thank you, Dr. Steiner. That was great. I will join Alisha and just saying how much I’ve learned in a short time, appreciate it very much.

[00:32:13] David: You’re most kind. Thank you both of you.

[00:32:43] Alisha: Wow, Charlie, that was a great interview. I learned a lot. It’s time for us now to move on to the Tweet of the Week. And this one focuses on a superintendent in Mississippi who raised grad rates in his rural high poverty district. Love this article. And one of the things that resonated with me as a former superintendent of a small district similar to his, he’s talking about all the things that we know work. Relationships with students, having mentors, relationships with families, understanding the needs of students, and getting it done by any means necessary, even when there are challenges that kids come to school with. And so, kudos to this superintendent who’s doing great work. He’s moved their graduation rate — I believe it’s from 83 percent to 97 percent. And so that’s the kind of work that we need to see happening across the country. It’s possible. We can do this.

[00:33:36] Charlie: That’s right. And, to a certain degree, I don’t want to overstate it, but a certain, to a certain degree, we know many of the things that we have to do to make it happen as well, and it’s just a matter of implementing it. So that is a really inspiring story. I’m glad you mentioned that one. I am really looking forward to next week. I will be listening in because we’ll be covering A topic that is of great interest to me. And it’s all about me. But Tamara Payne, who with her late father, Les Payne, is the Pulitzer Prize winning co-author of The Dead Arising, The Life of Malcolm X, which is really, I think, one of the most amazing American stories that we have. Malcolm X led just a fascinating life. So, I will certainly be listening into that. Well, thanks Alisha. As always, it’s a pleasure to get to spend this time with you and do this together. So, I hope to be able to do it again.

[00:34:29] Alisha: Absolutely. And I’m looking forward to this interview as well That’s coming up because I’ll be co-hosting again.

[00:34:35] Charlie: So, now I’m even more certain to be listening. So that’s great.

Alisha: It’s good to be with you, Charlie.

[00:34:39] Charlie: Good to be with you. And thank you all for joining us, and hope you’ll join us again on The Learning Curve next week.

Tweet of the Week