Citizen Stewart on Changing the K-12 Education Power Structure

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard engage in a candid conversation about education policymaking with Chris Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Brightbeam, known to many by his popular Twitter & blog feeds as “Citizen Stewart.” Chris shares his background as a student, parent, school board member, and longtime activist, and how those experiences have shaped his outlook on the challenges facing school reform. They delve into the obvious and lesser known barriers to changing the status quo, including the lack of involvement among rank-and-file parents in policy decision making and the disproportionate influence of labor unions in politics and the media. Chris voices concerns about the Democratic political candidates’ growing hostility toward ensuring African-American schoolchildren have access to better learning opportunities, and how the focus on class warfare has misdirected attention from the reality of our public schools graduating individuals who cannot participate in the economy. They also discuss the relationship between education and other issues such as criminal justice reform.

Stories of the Week: This week, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, the inspirational icon featured in the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures,” passed away at 101. All schoolchildren should know her story, unacknowledged for so long, of struggle and triumph in the face of race- and gender-based segregation and discrimination. In Ohio, a new plan from the state superintendent would reduce the minimum scores on the graduation assessment so that students could qualify for a diploma if they demonstrate basic competency, rather than proficiency, in math and ELA. What impact will the lower bar have on graduates’ preparedness for options in higher education and employment?

Newsmaker Interview Guest:

Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of BrightBeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. Chris is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, the executive director of the African American Leadership Forum, and an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education where he was radicalized by witnessing the many systemic inequities that hold our children back. Chris blogs and tweets under the name Citizen Stewart. He is based in the Minneapolis area.

The next episode will air on March 6th, with guest, Kevin Chavous, President of Academics, Policy, and Schools with K12, Inc.

Commentary of the Week:
Wall Street Journal: Should All Children Learn to Code by the End of High School?
https://www.wsj.com/articles/should-all-children-learn-to-code-by-the-end-of-high-school-11582513441

Tweet of the week:

News Links:

NBC News: Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician depicted in ‘Hidden Figures,’ dies at 101
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/katherine-johnson-nasa-mathematician-depicted-hidden-figures-dead-101-n1141566

cleveland.com: Ohio graduates won’t have to be “proficient” in math or English, under state superintendent’s plan
https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/02/ohio-graduates-wont-have-to-be-proficient-in-math-or-english-under-state-superintendents-plan.html

Get Updates on Our School Choice Research

Recent Episodes

Award-Winning UK Author & Filmmaker Laurence Rees on the Holocaust, Auschwitz, and Remembrance

/
This week The Learning Curve podcast marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day with guest host Dr. Jay Greene and Laurence Rees, a former head of BBC TV History Programmes, founder, writer, and producer of the award-winning WW2History.com, and author of The Holocaust: A New History. Mr. Rees sheds light on the historical context of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, including the rise of the cultural and political conditions which led to the Holocaust.

D.C.’s Kevin Chavous on National School Choice Week

/
This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard talk with Kevin Chavous, president of Stride K12, Inc. and a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia, on the growing movement toward school choice in education. Chavous discusses recent Supreme Court rulings and the expansion of school choice programs, education savings accounts, and vouchers.

Pulitzer Winner Prof. David Garrow on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

/
https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/chtbl.com/track/G45992/mp3.ricochet.com/2023/01/TLC_DavidGarrow.mp3 This…

Independent Institute’s Dr. Richard Vedder on Higher Education, Skyrocketing Tuitions, & the Student Debt Crisis

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Richard Vedder, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ohio University. He shares analysis on the macro impact of COVID on the U.S. labor market, and the long-term economic prospects of American college students. He reviews insights from his recent book, "Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America."

Columbia’s Prof. Roosevelt Montás on the Great Books & a Liberal Arts Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Professor Roosevelt Montás, Director of the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University, and author of the book, Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation. Professor Montás shares his background as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who attended Columbia, and what inspired his appreciation for the Great Books tradition.

UK’s Prof. Michael Slater on Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, and A Christmas Carol

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Mary Connaughton talk with Prof. Michael Slater, Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the world's foremost expert on Charles Dickens and his works. They discuss some of the main elements of Dickens’ brilliant, prolific, and complicated life, as the 19th century’s most influential, best-selling writer of memorable works, from Oliver Twist to Great Expectations.

Senegal’s Magatte Wade on Education & Economic Freedom in Africa

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Magatte Wade, the founder & CEO of Skin Is Skin and an advocate for African dignity and prosperity. Her forthcoming book is "The Heart of the Cheetah."

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Edu Federalism & School Choice

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," guest co-hosts Denisha Allen and Kerry McDonald talk with Betsy DeVos, a former United States Secretary of Education and the author of the book, Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child. She shares how she became one of the country’s foremost proponents of school choice, educational federalism, and bold changes to K-12 education.

Award Winner Peter Cozzens on Tecumseh, the Indian Wars & the American West

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Peter Cozzens, the award-winning author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West. As National Native American Heritage Month winds down, Mr. Cozzens reviews what our schoolchildren should know about Native Peoples’ innumerable contributions and heart-wrenching experiences.

Award-Winner Nathaniel Philbrick on the Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Nathaniel Philbrick, historian, winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of Mayflower: Voyage, Community, and War. Mr. Philbrick shares what we should know about the actual historical events of the First Thanksgiving in 1621.

Georgia’s Alisha Thomas Searcy on School Choice, Teacher Unions, & Elections

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Alisha Thomas Searcy, the Democratic nominee for Georgia state school superintendent. She shares her experience as a former six-term state legislator and school leader; her recent bid for Georgia’s top education post; and her passion for K-12 education reform.

KaiPod Learning’s Amar Kumar on Homeschooling Pods & Blended Education

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard talk with Amar Kumar, founder and CEO of KaiPod Learning, a network of in-person education centers for online learners and homeschoolers, based in Massachusetts. They discuss how the pandemic dramatically changed parents’ sentiments about their traditional public schools, opening the door to wider private school choice options, including homeschooling, micro schools, and pods.