This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Arthur Levine, a scholar with New York University’s Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, a senior fellow and president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and president emeritus of Columbia University’s Teachers College. He shares the main findings and recommendations of a new book he recently co-authored, The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future. He discusses some of the key issues of academic quality, technology, administration, and cost in American higher education today, before and after COVID-19. He also offers thoughts on the role of teacher preparation programs in delivering better academic outcomes for students of all backgrounds. They explore how schools of education can be reformed to better prepare teachers with both the wide background knowledge and practical experience necessary to boost student achievement, and how they can achieve the stellar reputations enjoyed by law and medical schools. The interview concludes with Dr. Levine reading from his recent book.
This episode also features a shorter interview with Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth, to commemorate her late husband, Civil Rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who would have turned 100 on March 18th, and share her current work to help students recover from trauma.
Stories of the Week: U.S. Education Secretary Cardona will award grants to enhance security measures at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), after 30 have been targeted with bomb threats over the past three months. Intel announced plans to invest $100 million over the next decade into Ohio schools and research collaborations with universities, community colleges and technical educators to develop skilled workers.
Dr. Arthur Levine is Distinguished Scholar of Higher Education at New York University, President Emeritus of Teachers College, Columbia University, and President Emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Levine has written 13 books, including The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future, and published many articles in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico, Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, and Inside Higher Education. He has appeared on many media programs, including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Open Mind, and Fox News. Levine has received a number of awards, including 26 honorary degrees and Carnegie, Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The next episode will air on Weds., March 30th, with John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of George F. Kennan: An American Life.
Tweet of the Week
Wealthy NJ Gov. Phil Murphy sends his own children to exclusive private schools but wants to force low-income black and Hispanic kids to attend some of the worst public schools in the state. Shame. @jasonrileywsj https://t.co/KCKZIudhzv via @WSJOpinion
— Jason Riley (@jasonrileywsj) March 16, 2022
Education Department will provide grants for HBCUs targeted by bomb threats
Intel announces details of plan to invest $100M into education
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Read a Transcript of This Episode
Please excuse typos.
[00:00:00] GR: Hello listeners. This is Gerard Robinson saying hello again from beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia, where a week ago it was snowing. And right now it’s 70 degrees. And we are celebrating the Virginia festival, the book with people from all over the country who are here. And some of these people may one day find themselves on the learning curve.
[00:00:45] But of course, no matter what day it is in Virginia or what day it is in Massachusetts, we cannot have a learning curve without the person who always hits the ball out of the park. When a curve is coming, Ms. Cara.
[00:00:57] Cara: Oh, that you thought about [00:01:00] that one. you know what, I’ve never hit a ball out of the park in my life jar.
[00:01:04] GR: Sure.
[00:01:05] Cara: My eight year old could do it. here, you are celebrating, what did you say? The festival of the book, something, something area. Right. and lovely. And one of, so, but here in Boston, we continue to celebrate of course, St. Patrick’s day, which mm-hmm . I don’t know. I have lived here. Gosh, how long have I lived here now coming up on 17, 18 years.
[00:01:26] And I didn’t even realize that it’s actually a citywide holiday. I went to park my car downtown yesterday and the meters were, I thought, well, there you go. And the bars were packed at noon. I thought, well, this is my city. So you have your festival of the book, and we’ll be here drinking green beer.
[00:01:41] Although I’m not, , I’m drinking lemon water, which is not very exciting Gerard, but gotta keep my head on straight to hit to the park with you today, my friend. So good to hear your voice. As always listeners, we got a couple stories of the week coming at you and mine is it’s like bittersweet because [00:02:00] I’m glad that the education department is doing this, but I’m so sad and actually more than sad.
[00:02:05] It’s I, angry that there’s a reason for this, but this is from the NPR politics desk. I actually listened to it before I read it. And the title is of course education department will provide grants for HBCUs targeted by bomb threats. So for those of you who have been subsumed with. just so much of the other news that is coming at us constantly in a barrage.
[00:02:29] I keep waiting for the good news somewhere. It is, this has just been an ongoing thing for the past happening in recent years, but especially in the past three months that 30, historically black at colleges and universities across the country have been targeted with bomb threats. So I’m consistently amazed that this is still the society that we live in, but you know, these bomb threats were last month was black history month were particularly concentrated in black history month.
[00:02:57] And the quote from the education [00:03:00] department is that these bombs were against HBCUs, particularly concentrated in black history month constitute a uniquely traumatic event, given the history of bombings as a tactic to intimidate and provoke fear in black Americans during the long struggle for civil rights.
[00:03:15] So in a time when. Students everywhere are traumatized by, more things than we can count here. You have students at HBCUs, probably, , wondering day to day if it’s actually going to happen. So, secretary Cardona is going to award some grant money to HBC use. And these awards will range between 50 and $150,000.
[00:03:39] They’re from project serve. And that’s a program that supports schools that have experienced violent or traumatic incidents. So it’s not a ton of money, but it’s something. And I think that it’s in my book, good that the secretary is giving a no to the fact that this is so many things, but one among them traumatizing for students.
[00:03:57] The funds can be used to improve security or [00:04:00] increase mental health resources, ARD. I know that you are a graduate of an H B, C U we’ve had graduates of other HBCUs and professors from HBCUs on this program. Um, They are such a vital and important part of the American university system. I think you’ll probably know this statistic, but HBCUs graduate, a large percentage of, children, of color of black children who black students, I should say that attend college in this country.
[00:04:26] And so many of them go on to do such important, wonderful things like yourself. And this is just, like I said, at the outset it’s bittersweet. I’m glad that the education department is in a small way, very small way, recognizing the trauma these students are experiencing, but I’m also just sick to death and tired that.
[00:04:46] This is happening and that we continue to live in a country where this can happen to students, to faculty members. So anyway, gimme some Ray of hope Gerard what do you think?
[00:04:56] GR: Well, for sharing the story and bringing it up. I am a graduate [00:05:00] of H B C U Howard university in Washington, DC. And I received a number of E emails about this for months in part, because there are a group of H B, C U leaders who are part of the H B C U emergency management and wellness consortium.
[00:05:16] And they’ve been meeting for over a year. Independent of this, but to talk about the importance of utilizing resources, both academic, human, and otherwise who are on our campuses to provide support to the nation. In particular, there are a couple of scholars who are at Elizabeth city state university in North Carolina, where they actually offer training in emergency manage.
[00:05:38] And so they’ve taken this as an opportunity to elevate the voice of the consortium and to say, we’re here to help always good to see the us department of education get involved. I’m also sure even , the article, didn’t say this president Biden is a big supporter of HBCUs when, of course, when he was Senator for Delaware, big supporter of Delaware state university.
[00:05:59] So [00:06:00] I’m glad the secretary and leaders in Washington DC are making investments. And I am also aware that The white house initiative on HBCUs. They have a new executive director Dr. Trent, who is also an H B C U graduate Hampton university. She’s also the former secretary of education for Virginia, and she has a lot of experience in education.
[00:06:21] So she’s gonna be the new leader at the white house. And so I’m sure she’s gonna play an important role in this as well. And Cara you’re right. When you think about the fact that HBCUs make up 3% of the higher education institutions in the United States and produce roughly 24% of the engineers almost the equal number of doctors places like Morehouse college, number one, producer of black men, earning P DS places like Dillard.
[00:06:48] Number one pipeline in terms of black schools, sending people to medical school and North Carolina, a T not just H B, C U, but one of the top 20 producers of black engineering students black or white in [00:07:00] the country. So while people try to bomb, we will always rise from the ashes. And we even have a conversation about a,, someone who actually was once bombed Dr.
[00:07:10] Shuttlesworth who will be celebrating a hundredth anniversary today. But thank you for raising that story and shout out again to the H B C U consortium. Let’s support them as well.
[00:07:20] Cara: Absolutely,
[00:07:21] GR: So my story is a little different in the aspect that it is a partnership. Example, I would say between the private sector going to a state and saying we wanna work with you.
[00:07:34] So my article is from the hill and it’s talking about Intel, which is fortune 500 company headquartered in California. They have 79 billion in revenue hundred 21,000 employees. And as you know, Cara businesses need talent. And so when they decide to look at a state, they’re gonna look at a few things.
[00:07:57] Tax breaks. They’re gonna take a look at [00:08:00] cost of living. They’re gonna also look at the people who are there. And so Intel had a number of places to go and they decided they’re gonna go to Ohio to bill two chip manufacturing companies with an investment of 20 billion. So that’s a major in investment.
[00:08:17] And so one of the reasons they said that Intel personnel said they chose the state is because of its great higher education system. As we know many of our listeners. Ohio is one of the states that was created out of the Northwest ordinance of 1787. In that law, it actually has language to support schools and to really push it forward even before then 17 85 north Northwest ordinance also supported it.
[00:08:44] But Ohio has been a major leader in producing scholars and students focused on a number of things in education, but their higher education system, both public and private is one reason that Intel decided to invest. But that’s on the [00:09:00] manufacturing side and keep in mind 7,000. Construction jobs will be created because of this.
[00:09:07] You’re also gonna have 10,000 jobs created as derivatives from the work that’s gonna take place, but you’re also gonna have 3000 jobs where the average salary is $135,000. So that’s a major investment on the for-profit side offense. Well, let’s look at the higher education side of the fence. Intel said we’re also going to invest.
[00:09:27] 100 million to support education programs in the state. And this was good news to governor Mike DeWine of Ohio who had a chance to make an announcement at a community college. And so what they’re gonna do are three things. Number one 50 million will go directly to higher education Institute. Second 50 million will be distributed to educators and science programs nationwide to create a stem curriculum.
[00:09:54] So teachers who are listening this is something for you. If you’re outside of Ohio and third, get this [00:10:00] the national science foundation put in another 50 million to support research initiatives across the country. And as a governor said, You can’t have a strong Ohio without having a strong workforce.
[00:10:12] And you make this happen by using your two year and four year schools. But K12 S got role in this as well. Teachers who work in career and technical education teachers who are teaching stem, even instructors, who are starting to implement engineering, stem, or steam ideas in middle school. Here’s an opportunity for you in both places like Columbus, which is your capital, but also in the rural parts of the state, which we often overlook, particularly the Southern part.
[00:10:39] Here’s an opportunity for you to, and get ahold of some money and make some things happen. So here’s the recommendation. Number one, every Dean of a college of education, be it public or private four year, two year non-profit or for-profit you need to send an email to your president. And ask her [00:11:00] him or Bart requests that when money comes to the school, that you would like to use that money to endow a professorship at your school of education, focused on stem education.
[00:11:11] And I say this, having to work with universities for decades, it is tough, particularly for public universities to use public money to endow chairs. There are a lot of procurement laws, a lot of state statutes that shape it. But for this one, if you want to make sure you have the next generation of stem workers, they’re gonna have to come through our K12 system and our higher education system.
[00:11:32] So use this money to endow one professorship at minimum, maybe two, and bring in great talent or even elevate the talent you have internally. Number two, if you’re the president of a community college, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to partner with your local business work councils and say, listen, we have money coming in.
[00:11:52] Let’s do either a financial match from the local sector. Or guarantee some of the graduates who will leave your [00:12:00] community college, either with a license with a certificate, maybe an associate’s degree, let’s start working out on guaranteeing jobs or at least internships during the summer or externships, which can last one semester or a year and make sure they’re paid third.
[00:12:15] And this is two, our friends who are in the classroom, I’ve said for years, that one way that we can retain talent and attract talent, particularly in hard to serve stem areas is to start thinking like colleges, superintendents, you should also send a note and let your board know that when the money arrives at the local level, you want to endow chairs also focus on stem and in the summertime allow that teacher, if he or she is interested to work with Intel or to work with companies associated.
[00:12:44] So she or he can actually earn additional money in the summer. The same salary that he or she would earn if they were a full-time employee and then bring that knowledge back to the classroom. So I think this is just a wonderful example of the private sector working with the public sector, but making sure [00:13:00] higher education, isn’t the only one getting money, but that it trickles down to community colleges to K12, but in, they’re also looking for stem curriculum work across the states.
[00:13:10] So Massachusetts opportunity for you,
[00:13:13] Cara: Yeah. Massachusetts, are you listening? We have a lot of great tech companies here, biotech, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that we could do a better job in thinking about the connections between these things jar. I’d like to add one more recommendation to your list if yout of mind.
[00:13:26] And that is superintendents work closely with guidance counselors, with teachers, with parents, cetera, to help kids. Especially those interested in stem and other fields, understand what the career pathways are that are available to them. There should be a great awareness of this to kids as early as high school, so that they can start to think about their future and what it might look like.
[00:13:50] Whether they take the two year, four year path, whether they, go into one of these great new pathways that might not even require a two year or four year college degree [00:14:00] that Intel is offering. And I have to say, Gerard, I just love the idea. And this was president Biden actually talked about this partnership, right about Intel going to Ohio in the state of the union address, which I think he was quite proud of as he should be.
[00:14:13] It’s a re really great opportunity when we think about states and I love that education is at the, for, because what we’re doing here is creating what they’re doing here. I should say, you and I have nothing to do with this creating an ecosystem. Right. That brings all of these things together because in so many places, especially as you mentioned, rural places, kids don’t see in their local community a way to stay in the community, sometimes a way to stay in the state and be able to do the things they wanna do in give back.
[00:14:43] And when industries make investments in communities like this, it’s hopefully a virtuous circle of creating a web of prosperity that as you’ve pointed out, spans from the schools to colleges and universities to the workforce, and that [00:15:00] investment goes right back into the next generation of kids.
[00:15:03] So I really think of this as it’s not just about jobs, it’s about a whole new ecosystem. That’s really hopefully gonna make people healthy, happy, and prosperous in the long run. So that’s a, a great story, ARD. Thank you so much for bringing up. Okay. Our guest today might have a few things to say.
[00:15:23] about both of the topics that we talked about coming up in just a bit. We are gonna be speaking with Arthur Levine. Many of our guests will know him. He is the former president of Columbia teachers college. I’m sure that this is gonna be a fascinating conversation. We’ll be back in just a minute.[00:16:00]
[00:16:15] Listeners. We are privileged to have with us today, Dr. Arthur Levine. He is a distinguished scholar of higher education at New York university president emeritus of teachers, college, Columbia university, and president emeritus of the Woodrow Wilson national fellowship foundation. Many of you know him Levine has written 13 books, including the great upheaval higher or education’s past present and uncertain future and published many articles in publications.
[00:16:41] Such as the wall street journal, the New York times, Washington post Los Angeles, times political Chronicle of higher education ed week and inside higher education, he has appeared on many media programs, including 60 minutes. Fan favorite here, the today show all things considered morning edition, open mind, and [00:17:00] Fox news.
[00:17:00] Levine has received a number of awards, including 26 honorary degrees in Carnegie, Fulbright, Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundation fellowships. He is a member of the American academy of arts and sciences. Dr. Arthur Levine. We are privileged to have you with us today. Thank you for joining us on the learning curve.
[00:17:18] Arthur Levine: I’m very pleased to be with you. Thank you.
[00:17:21] Cara: Well, we wanna dig right in to some of your latest work. So, many of our listeners already know you as a leading voice in higher education, but you’ve recently, co-authored another book called the great upheaval higher education’s past present and certain future.
[00:17:38] Higher education is something that we Jordan, I always share stories of the week on this program and we talk a lot about higher education and indeed what it’s going through and, how the future of higher education will look, especially for kids like mine and Gerard. Can you talk to us a little bit about the main findings of your book and the recommendations within
[00:17:58] Arthur Levine: Americans going [00:18:00] through a transition. From a national analog industrial economy to a global digital knowledge economy. We’ve only experienced change on this rapidity, this magnitude, and this acceleration once before, which was the industrial revolution.
[00:18:16] And during that period, American higher is transformed and that’s going to happen again because we’re experiencing change at the degree we are. so there’s all content debate about what form that change will take will be disruption. The whole higher education system will disappear. Will it be adaptation, higher education can fix it to else.
[00:18:37] So we decided to look and see what the story was. And we looked in three directions. One was backward and past history. One was forward looking as a dramatic. Demographic economic and technological changes occurring. And the third is sideways looking at other industries that have been forced to change faster than we were, and those [00:19:00] would be movies and music and newspapers.
[00:19:04] when we finished all that, we found they’re going be four major change in higher education. None of it’s on making the first is there’s gonna be a dramatic expansion of new providers and distributors of higher education content. That’s going to create more competition for higher education. It’s gonna reduce cost and it’s going to increase student choice.
[00:19:26] the second thing we found was, you know, we have near universal access to digital technology. Students are going to ask from colleges and university exactly what they’re getting from Netflix. In Amazon, in terms of research universities, the nation desperately needs scientists and research. So those tools survive, but also in smaller numbers.
[00:19:48] And finally, the rest of my education will be disrupted, will be replaced with all the choice and the cornucopia of new providers, and that’s most likely to happen or the institution’s most [00:20:00] at risk of community colleges and regional universities. Those are the general finding our study.
[00:20:07] Cara: It’s really helpful Dr. Levine to have that laid out so clearly, because I think that. What so often lay people here is, two things about higher education. And the first is that something’s gotta change because nobody’s going to be able to afford it anymore. And the second is that when change occurs, it will just be disruption.
[00:20:27] And so to have you define what dis disruption really means in this context, I think is, pretty useful. The kind of disruption can you help me understand that you mentioned the pandemic and you mentioned the pandemic and COVID relief funds in the context of helping to support. Some of these smaller, at least here where I sit, as you, you mentioned in the Northeast, we’ve seen several closures in recent years of schools that, couldn’t afford to stay open due to declining enrollment among other things.
[00:20:56] And that you mentioned that the pandemic will give some of those institutions [00:21:00] a bump for a little while keep them open. But can you talk a little bit more about the other fault lines that the pandemic has really revealed? Not just about the cost of higher education, but also about the quality of an experience that students are actually getting when they pay in many cases, tens of thousands of dollars a year for their college degree,
[00:21:24] Arthur: the pandemic wasn’t an interruption.
[00:21:28] What it really was, was an accelerator. Of things that would’ve happened in higher education anyway, but over a longer period of time, and examples would be some closures. Examples of the online learning examples would be upskilling and reskilling, which were required by the changing markets and all also the competition in the rise of new providers, all that happened because the pandemic that, the pace that it did, but it would’ve happened anyway.
[00:21:59] [00:22:00] And there are certain events, you know, society that serve as accelerators. The 2008, 2009 recession was an extraordinary accelerator. Millions of jobs disappeared when they came back of the millions that required a high school diploma or less. Only 50,000 were restored. 90% of the new jobs that were created required some higher education that was changing to would’ve happened anyway, as we moved to a digital knowledge age, but it moved them faster. It got rid of the old jobs faster and created the new one faster. The pandemic did the same thing to higher education in every other social institution in America.
[00:22:42] Cara: So I’d like to ask you about another institution that I think, well, not a separate institution, but K to 12 education. Which I think many could argue has experienced some of the disruptions that you are describing [00:23:00] in higher education. So for example, we’ve seen in the past couple years, the pandemic, if you, if I like the term accelerator has accelerated, for example, parent demand for program that allow for learning outside of the classroom, that allow for parents to have more choice in the kind of educational experience their children have, whether that’s within the public system, outside of the public system or some hybrid of public and private providers.
[00:23:27] Now as we talk about higher education, one of the main reasons we, this nation produces teachers, in colleges of education, one of which you used to lead and we’ve been struggling , for decades about. What is actually the right way to prepare the future teachers of this country.
[00:23:49] Can you talk a bit about American teacher preparation programs what they look like, your read on how they’ve been doing to prepare America’s teachers and maybe [00:24:00] give us some insight into what you see coming for colleges of education.
[00:24:04] Arthur: about a decade and a half ago, I did a study of America’s education schools and on their teacher education programs, they weren’t nearly as good as they needed to do low in selectivity. Their standards for graduation weren’t high enough. They were disconnected from the schools. They were preparing students in fields.
[00:24:26] We really didn’t need, we didn’t need elementary school teachers. As much as we needed stem teachers for secondary school and they prepared lots of elementary school teachers, they had a curriculum that prepared students for the industrial age. And they also are, I guess, stands out is that they’re preparing people for a low paid profession, certainly low data profession and what the pandemic did was make all that worse.
[00:24:53] It encouraged retirements from the part of teachers who found the combination of in school, out of school online, [00:25:00] offline, really difficult masks, no masks that, and what it also did was. Make the teaching profession, less appealing. Enrollment had been going down to head school for quite a while.
[00:25:12] Well, they crashed during the pandemic so that we’re going to have to find ways to prepare teachers. I had to tell you about something that the president of M MIT and I did while I was a widow Wilson. We’ve decided to create the education school of the future, which is to say this would be a school that wasn’t time based students to grasp according to competencies, according to outcomes they passed.
[00:25:39] If you could achieve all the outcome, the day you entered, you’ve receiving diploma, the day you entered, by the way that wouldn’t have been possible. We had to assess all that. And that took while however, The notion was let’s have a curriculum that starts where the student is. Let’s have a student move along in this curriculum and [00:26:00] not in the same pace as everybody else.
[00:26:02] None of us learn in the same way as everybody else. None of us learn at the same pace as everybody else. There are things each of us know and don’t know things. Each us do well and don’t do well. But there a program that picks up all of that. So when the student graduates that student has the skills and knowledge, the competencies to be a teacher in a classroom and everything about this was difficult.
[00:26:28] It difficult figuring out how do you create a timeless education school, which doesn’t have semesters. And when students move according to mastery, how to create a curriculum. It’s mastery based. How do you make this affordable economically? How do you give students a skill to live in a world in which everything is changing quickly, profoundly.
[00:26:53] So we gave them an immersion and design thinking. Don’t ask to them the skills to enter a classroom [00:27:00] today. And we gave them the skills and knowledge to be able to move that classroom into the future. As things around them changed. The name of that graduate school is the high meadow graduate school of education at its located in Cambridge.
[00:27:14] GR: Thank you to Dr. Levine. So I had the honor to attend two schools of education, one at Harvard in one of the university of Virginia. At some point in our formal reading package or through conversations we would talk about books such as ed school, Folies uh, teacher wars, you know, other books that uplifted their profession.
[00:27:34] And when I worked in public policy, at some point we would have conversations about teacher preparation, cuz all of us know how important it is to have the right teacher in the right place in time. From your experience both professional and through the academic lens. What can we do to support the teacher in a way to help deliver the type of academic outcomes.
[00:27:54] One for students across the board.
[00:27:56] Arthur: I wanna tell you about a program we created [00:28:00] at the Wilson foundation. We called the Woodrow Wilson state teaching fellowship. And we went into states and we built a coalition, the governor, the chief state school officer, the state higher education executive officer universities, legislators on both sides of the aisle, schools, unions, and funders.
[00:28:20] And what we did was we picked several universities in that state and it ultimately was in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia. And we picked five or six universities in the state. And what we would do is offer them money. If they were willing to change their program, to create the kind of program today’s teachers truly need.
[00:28:44] And we offered them $500,000 for taking , on that assignment. And when they successfully completed it here to another $500,000, they had to agree to keep the curriculum. After the funding ended, we did one other thing. [00:29:00] We provided fellowships to students to a attend those schools, and we wanted stem teachers, top stem teachers,
[00:29:08] and we taught them. We got extraordinary people to go become stem teachers in each state. And they performed well in their classrooms. When they became teachers, they waiting their programs and they stayed longer than the average teacher. The bottom line here. It’s that it’s doable. What it is, is an active will.
[00:29:31] If states want to improve what they’re doing in teacher education, they can, it doesn’t come cheaply. The state of Indiana after the program ended funded the program to continue at those universities and Woodrow Wilson happily said goodbye. They created, they built it and they sustained it. And the universities we work with, they too sustained the program.
[00:29:55] Were they everything they could have been? No, of course not. But there was [00:30:00] so much better than what we originally found that those universities.
[00:30:03] GR: Let me just follow up with that wonderful example. You identify great teachers to work in stem, and we know that’s a hard to staff sub field with several subjects under it. How did you define the right type of student? Was it a combination of GPA, GRE other scores? Was it the school, the attended undergraduate major?
[00:30:27] What criteria did you use to identify the right students for this program?
[00:30:31] Arthur: That’s a great question. We were inundated with applications to this program, which was really, really pleasing. So the first cut we took was they wrote an essay. they got a set of recommendations and we looked at their grades and test scores.
[00:30:48] And then what we did was we took who remain and we interviewed them all. and what really mattered was there was certainly a threshold they had to cross in terms of academic quality. It was really [00:31:00] motivation. One of the things that everybody knows is you can’t get anybody to teach and stay in a rural school unless they’ve grown up in a rural area.
[00:31:09] It was those kinds of bodies kind of knowledge that enabled us to pick the right people. We really wanted diversity. That was critical to us. Since we were preparing teachers for the high need schools in each of those states in the most understaff subject stem, we wanted to recruit a group of fellows who looked like the school in which they’d be teaching.
[00:31:32] GR: Absolutely. There’s been a big push over the last 15 years in particular, but even longer to diversify , the teaching force because the student body they’re working with across the border are also changing. So you’ve had a chance to, leave one of the top education schools in the country teach education is one part of it.
[00:31:53] Research is another one of the digs that people make against education schools [00:32:00] is that we don’t have enough rigor in terms of academic research, the number of articles and peer review journals. I don’t buy it cause I know that in fact we do, but what did you do to recruit and retain some of the best and brightest scholars in the country?
[00:32:14] Who’ve dedicated their life to teach in the next generation of teachers
[00:32:18] Arthur: in terms of recruiting faculty. That hasn’t been the difficulty, the research issue that you raised is a real one, but not for the reason that you raised it. When teacher education came to the American university, which was in the late 19th century and early 20th century, what it was made to do was to look like arts sciences, it diminished the emphasis on practice.
[00:32:45] It diminished the emphasis on working with schools and in fact took it, its emphasis, the research focus that arts and science colleges have and what that did was twist what education school were about. Those subjects [00:33:00] that engaged in research rather than practice were the most important. What mattered truly.
[00:33:06] was not connections with the schools, but connections to journals we took and teacher education became the bottom of the heap. What we ended up doing in essence was crowning in the search crowning graduate education and diminishing teacher education. The university made teacher education schools do that, and they followed suit.
[00:33:30] There needs to be a commitment now to prepare teacher educators and teacher education schools that can work with their local school districts. What’s also true. These are too many universities of treated ed schools and teacher education as a catch cow. And I know of several instances in which ed schools were made to lower their admission standards to get their moments out.
[00:33:57] GR: Understandable last [00:34:00] question. And since you mentioned arts and science, I wanna talk about American law and medical schools that enjoy stellar reputations within the higher education establishment. And even in our , wider society. Could you discuss how these professional schools achieve their high academic status?
[00:34:15] does some key lessons from them that we can learn across the boards as relates to, reforming ed schools, but also the whole idea of accreditation and what that means for quality?
[00:34:25] Arthur: Yes. In 1910, the Carnegie foundation for the advance of teaching created something called they did a study of medical schools in the United States.
[00:34:38] Many of which were butcher shops. They were just horrible and. Man named Abraham fluster visited every medical school in the United States and Canada, and then wrote a report for the Carnegie foundation. That report was widely disseminated. That report changed in nature of medical education in the United [00:35:00] States, appoint to two models in 1910 ones with Johns Hopkins.
[00:35:05] And the other was Harvard. We took the ingredients that were necessary to create a good teacher, a good doctor, and said those needed to be requirements in every school. And they got adopted. Now, how could that possibly have happened? And the answer is the study was a set up. It was a prestigious foundation that had been asked by accreditors states.
[00:35:31] In the American medical association to do a real study of what this was like. And we release a report, which was then widely adopted by accreditors states and funders. That combination changed medical education America. And it’s what I talked about earlier. If coalitions and resources that make it possible to change education, any state can do it.
[00:35:59] [00:36:00] I know for example, Wyoming, which has only one teacher education program, one university, one at school is in the midst of doing many of the things we’ve talked about so far, it’s an exciting experiment to watch.
[00:36:14] GR: Well, I appreciate the lessons from history the identification of particular universities and schools of education that have decided to become a pioneer. Thanks also for the entrepreneurial approach that you worked out with. M I T I, in fact, I’m personally gonna look into that more because I’m interested in the future of edge schools.
[00:36:33] If you wouldn’t mind left up to you, we’d love for you to read something from your latest book. I’m sure all of us would glean some good wisdom from it.
[00:36:42] Arthur: Henry Adams sign of a family that produced two presidents attended Harvard and the midnight 19th century. He lamented the fact that he received an 18th century education that failed to prepare him for a world PLS into the 20th century.
[00:36:59] [00:37:00] Adams went to college at a time in which the classical college was dying. And the university of Valent forum, the models that would guide the future had not yet been created. There was a time, much like the present, an age of continuity and experimentation. We know a transformation is to come. The present cannot be sustained.
[00:37:29] GR: Thank you, Dr. Levine for the reading. And we look forward to conversations in the future with you about to not only the future of higher education, but the future of ideas, institutions. And I really like what you said about coalitions. We cannot as silos try to figure all this out. It’s gonna take a lot of helping hands coming together.
[00:37:51] Thank you for joining
[00:37:51] Arthur: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed talking with you.[00:38:00]
[00:38:15] GR: So Cara, my tweet of the week is from Jason Riley from wall street journal. He’s been a guest here on our show and his tweet is from March 16th 21 2, and it says wealthy New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy sends his own children to exclusive. Private schools, but wants to force low income black and Hispanic kids to attend some of the worst public schools in the state shame.
[00:38:38] As someone who has supported parental choice, both public and private going all the way back to 1991 I have seen this level of hypocrisy across the board. So Jason, thank you for keeping comments like this on the front burner. And guess what? It’s just not Democrats doing it. It’s Republicans as well.
[00:38:56] So Jason thank you for the tweet.
[00:38:59] Cara: It’s also [00:39:00] your local parents who send their kids to fancy private schools. And then question why anybody else should have a choice. So it’s, it’s systemic. Jason is amazing Gerard and we always thank him for his work. All right, now, Gerard, I’m gonna tell you.
[00:39:14] Who next week’s guest is, but also coming up after this, we have a treat. We’re gonna spend a couple minutes with friend of the show, wonderful human being Sephira Shuttlesworth. And so I know that you’ve got a couple of questions with her, but listeners before that, let me tell you that I hope you do join us again next week.
[00:39:31] And every week, next week on the learning curve, we are gonna be speaking with John Lewis Gaddis. He is professor of military and Naval history at Yale university and the pulitzer prize winning author of George F Kennan, An American Life. So Gerard we are gonna cut to one more treat of a conversation.
[00:39:53] I know you’re looking forward to it as much as I am, but let me say goodbye to you. Now, my friend have a great week. We’ll talk soon.
[00:40:33] GR: Hello listeners. Welcome back to The Learning Curve. Today is March 18th, 2022. It’s just not any day. In fact, it is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Reverend Shuttlesworth. Many of you know him as a civil rights icon. As an educator and as someone who helped change the face of American politics and policy in many unique ways and to talk about his life, [00:41:00] to talk about the role she played in helping do that, but also the work that she’s doing right now to address a different type of trauma in the United States.
[00:41:09] I want to welcome Dr. Sephira Shuttlesworth to the show.
[00:41:13] Sephira Shuttlesworth: Well, hello, good afternoon. And thank you for having me on. And yes, as you said today, would’ve been the 100th birthday of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. And if our listeners aren’t familiar with him, I invite you to Google him.
[00:41:28] He was an extraordinary American who to heart for humankind. And he spent the balance of his life trying to leave the world better than he found it. I am sitting here today thinking back over our time together. Fred and I were friends for 20 years, and then we were married for the last five years of his life.
[00:41:51] And, oh my gosh, what uh, ride? That was he was an extraordinary man who had some large ideas about what we could [00:42:00] do as human beings and what. Kind of work we could do together and how we could heal this land together. And the word together itself was huge. In his mind, someone asked me just the other day, what was his purpose?
[00:42:13] What was his motivating factor. And I said, love, it was good, old fashion love. And he would tell you to love the neighbor as you love yourself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you the golden rule. And as a young man, he said, he recognized that there was work that he needed to be doing, that he was called to do a special kind of work, and the Lord prepared him for that work.
[00:42:39] And as you will see, if you look further into his life, you’ll see where he was bombed and beaten and all of that. But at the end of the day he was able to be around to see our first black president to be elected to the United States. And so he got a lot of his just desserts before he transitioned on over to heaven.[00:43:00]
[00:43:00] GR: Well, speaking of the bombing, Cara and I earlier during show, her story of the week was about HBCUs that have had a number of bomb threats over the past several months. And the us department of education is investing money to help address that. And I mentioned, because I know of a story that you shared when we were on a panel together in Boston one time.
[00:43:21] I said, you know, black people have been bombed a lot. Yes. Even, just across the board. Would you mind sharing with our readers who were listening about the story of your husband? Him being bombed and walking out in the words he shared after he had come up from it.
[00:43:39] Sephira: It was his same favorite story to tell, but yes, basically Christmas night of 1957, I believe it was, he had preached, it was a funny, he had preached that day and he was lying in his bed sitting, talking to one of his deacons.
[00:43:55] He was in the bed, the deacon was sitting and talking and A bomb went off [00:44:00] and he said he knew what it was. He knew it was meant for him. And as the dust settled, he found himself lying on the mattress in a hole in the floor. So he was on the ground, the mattress was on the ground. And so he said he emerged, he got up and shook.
[00:44:16] The dynamite dust, blew the dynamite dust out of his nose. And he grabbed his coat, which was hanging on a wall now that it was leaning at a 45 degree angle. And so he got his coat and he put it on. He emerged from the back of the house. And by this time a big group of people had gathered and the front of the house and was trying to get to their pastor.
[00:44:35] And of course the police were there. The police were already there. And they were holding the crowd back. And so when he emerged around from the back of the house, people were gasping and went on. And he said he saw a big police officer standing there. He stood much taller than he did. And he said, the police officer looked at him and he rubbed his eyes as if there was an apparition.
[00:44:55] And he said, as I took one step forward, he’d take two steps back. [00:45:00] He said, so finally I stopped moving. He said, and I was standing there and he said, the police officer said to me Reverend, he says I know these people and I didn’t think they’d go this far, but if you don’t mind, I have some advice for you.
[00:45:13] And that is if I were, I’d get outta town as quickly as possible. And so Fred responded to him, he says, well, you’re not me. And you go back and tell your clan brethren that if the Lord could save me from this right here, I am here for the duration and the war has just begun. It was his favorite story to tell
[00:45:34] GR: well, thank you for telling it to our listeners.
[00:45:37] Absolutely. We are dealing with a lot of trauma today in the United States. A lot of it driven by challenges associated with COVID. It’s impacted students, teachers, families impacted businesses. You, as a leader, you as an educator yourself, you decided not just to talk about, about it, but to do something about it.
[00:45:55] So I’d love for you to share with us. what’s taking place with your new trauma program that you’re affiliated [00:46:00] with.
[00:46:00] Sephira: I will do that. You know, it all started with I had COVID December of 2020, I was diagnosed with COVID along with five other family members, including my 95 year old mother.
[00:46:12] And so of course, you know, when you get that diagnosis, you just, I don’t know, my mind just went into fight, fight. We’re fighting, we’re fighting this. And so fight we did. And we all emerged we lived and that was the thrill of it all. But the young man who was responsible for us getting it, who was a friend of my sisters, he had gone over and they were playing cards.
[00:46:36] And so she and her been got it and passed it off to the rest of us. And he was, gone in like five days. And so in the midst of it, when, , you’ve been diagnosed and the person you got it from is dead. Now that just. Exacerbates the fear and the stress associated with having the disease. And so then you just kick it into as high gear as possible.
[00:46:59] [00:47:00] For us, we started doing all kinds of research and eating things like sea Mo stuff that I don’t even know what it is, but , you know, we found out that those things, what you had to do with build your immune system. And so we worked hard , to build that immune system and to keep each other going and motivate each other.
[00:47:18] I’d go over and stand at my mother’s window, look through , her bedroom window and talk to her through the window because I wanted to make sure that she was fighting also. And so in my downtime, and I was thinking about, you know, what, this is just too much to ask almost of people, and I want to do something.
[00:47:37] I’m gonna make it out of this. And then the question becomes, how can I help others? What can I do? And I thought about the people in my profession, and I said to somebody, you know, Second in line to the first responders who I have the utmost respect for are the educators. I said, you know, I don’t know if anybody’s thinking about the educator.
[00:47:57] School is hard. It was [00:48:00] hard before the pandemic ever showed up. We had our struggles and I used to say, when I was reading schools, John Q, that has no notion of what it is we deal with in a day’s time. And so now add the stress of not knowing if you’re gonna be in school next week or not. You Sunday night, we’re gonna get that phone call.
[00:48:19] We don’t know what we’re doing. I don’t know if I’m supposed to report. If I’ve got little children, who’s gonna watch my child, all of the mountain stress. And then the children, I have a 12 year old grandson and , he’d come home sometimes go gram. So and so wasn’t wearing their mask today and he was standing too close to me.
[00:48:37] I, children are afraid. They don’t even know how to tell you that they’re afraid and they have every right to be afraid and fear and stress. If you carry it long enough, it becomes trauma. So I decided I need to find out who knows something about managing trauma. We need to help people with the trauma [00:49:00] that has been exacerbated by this pandemic.
[00:49:02] So I went in search and I found something called brain stimulated wellness, and it is a protocol whereby we teach the brain to respond before the mind can react to stress. When the mind reacts toque, we can get into all kinds of trouble, all kinds of places we didn’t intend to be. And we’ve got enough evidence of that, but we can teach the brain.
[00:49:25] If we know the different parts of the brain and how they respond, we can teach the brain and give it a set of event to choose from a set of techniques to choose from so that we can take down the stress and the trauma. And the, good thing about this program is there’s even a blood test. If you wanna see whether or not your stress level has been taken down, you can have your blood drawn.
[00:49:50] Have it looked at under a black field and. It will show you that while you’re stressed, your cells are [00:50:00] all different sizes and they’re jumbled up and they’re not moving in the direction they’re supposed to. In any of that, you can just see that they are out of order. And then you use the hand technique, what we call the hand technique, which is simply you take one hand and fold it over the other in a certain way that opens up the channels of your brain.
[00:50:22] So that wellness can get in and then you draw the blood again, look at it under the very scope. And what you’ll see is perfectly round, beautifully red and white cells, one red, one white, one red, one white, where they’re supposed to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And so it is fascinating work.
[00:50:44] This program has been in existence for over 20 years, largely in Canada and a few other places around the world. And they’ve won all kinds of Awards because not only is it a program about trauma, but we’re also looking at [00:51:00] how to help communities heal economically because our economics have gotten all skewed throughout this, pandemic also, but we can help businesses to lower their insurance costs.
[00:51:13] We can schools to get some of the things that they’ve always needed and needed more of by having a second income in place. And we can talk all about that as to anybody is interested, but here’s what I wanna close with. We have a program a series of videos called closing the door to suicide. I’m gonna say that again, closing the door to suicide because the trauma and stress by now has mounted in such ways that there are a lot of people who are considering.
[00:51:47] Just because of what we’ve been through. They’re considering making the pain stop but that’s not the best way we want you to think about who you will [00:52:00] harm if you take that. So anybody who is hearing my voice and who knows somebody who needs to hear this www dot, closing the door to suicide.com to date, we’ve had over 283,000 people to log on and to the information that is there, you’ll find videos that speak to teachers.
[00:52:27] And there’s one that speaks to college students and one that speaks to first responders. And so you just click on whichever one resonates with you and listen to that. As many times as you feel like you need to listen to it so that you can breathe to date. We have not had anybody out of 234,000 plus people to commit suicide.
[00:52:54] So basically what I’m here to do is to save lives. I’m more working with [00:53:00] the program that helps you to gain wellness while you’re here and to save your life in the event that you were thinking about not being here.
[00:53:11] GR: Well, Dr. Shuttlesworth, thank you so much. First of all, for your commitment to education across the board.
[00:53:17] Thank you for sharing the great work you’re doing with this program, but also thank you for keeping alive, literally and figuratively through your life, through your words and through your action. At a point in American history, we don’t see enough examples of this. You’re a living example of it. So thank you for being a friend to The Learning Curve.
[00:53:36] Sephira: absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on take care.