Mariam Memarsadeghi on Freeing Iran, Civic Ed, & Immigrant Portraits

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Mariam Memarsadeghi, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mariam shares remembrances from her early years spent in the Shah’s Iran, and emigration to the U.S. shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979. They discuss the massive cultural and civic differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its government controlled by religious leaders, and modern liberal democracies like the U.S., with constitutionally limited government, and how this difference is manifested in the treatment of women and political dissidents. Mariam describes Tavaana, an organization she co-founded that is dedicated to a free and open Iran, and how it is using the internet and other means to advance democracy, civic education, and women’s rights in Iran. They also discuss her involvement with “We the People”: The Citizen and the Constitution, a nationwide civics contest for American high school students that is run by the Center for Civic Education. She descibes her experiences as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and one of 43 individuals chosen as a portrait subject for President George W. Bush’s April 2021 book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.

Stories of the Week: From Texas, California and Colorado to Tennessee and Georgia, school districts are using some federal stimulus funding to award “thank you” bonuses to teachers to prevent resignations and boost morale after COVID-19. In New Jersey, one of nine states that have mandated in-person learning, some parents are raising concerns about the poor condition of the schools their children are being forced to return to.

Guest:

Mariam Memarsadeghi is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. She is co-founder of Tavaana, a civil society capacity building and civic education project for the people of Iran. She has over 20 years of international civil society capacity building experience, including three years of post-conflict work in the Balkan region. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar and an advocate for democracy, civic education, internet freedom, and women’s rights, particularly in Islamic contexts. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and other publications. She is a frequent speaker at universities and think tanks worldwide, and has appeared on NPR, the PBS NewsHour, and C-SPAN, as well as other English, Persian, and Arabic language radio and television news programs. Ms. Memarsadeghi serves as a judge for the national finals of the “We the People” competition, a contest assessing knowledge of the Constitution among high school teams across the U.S. She was among the 43 individuals whose portrait President George W. Bush painted for his April, 2021 book, Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants. She was born in Tehran and emigrated to the U.S. shortly after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Guest Co-Host:

Derrell Bradford is the president of 50CAN. In this national role, he recruits and trains local leaders across the 50CAN network for roles as CAN executive directors, fellows, and YouCAN advocates. Derrell frequently contributes to education debates in print, digital, radio and TV media. A native of Baltimore, he attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English.

(The Learning Curve co-host Gerard Robinson is off this week.)

The next episode will air on Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 at 12 pm ET with guest, Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center that supports neighborhood-based initiatives to revitalize low-income communities, as well as author and editor of the May 2021 book, Red, White, and Black.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links:

WSJ: Schools Are Turning Stimulus Funds Into Teacher Bonuses
https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-are-turning-stimulus-funds-into-teacher-bonuses-11626600602?mod=mhp

Hechinger Report: “After a year and a half at home, some parents don’t want their kids returning to run-down schools”

Get new episodes of The Learning Curve in your inbox!

Related Posts

Homeschooling Expert Kerry McDonald on Harvard Law Professor Controversy & COVID

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kerry McDonald, a homeschooling expert and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, on the major lessons we all should be learning from this educational moment, now that COVID has turned most of America’s 50 million schoolchildren and their families into "homeschoolers."

Kaya Henderson, Former Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools, on Leading Urban District Reform

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are happy to be joined by Kaya Henderson, the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. They discuss the historic reforms Henderson oversaw, including increasing enrollment and improved test scores in an urban district that had been one of the lowest performing in the country.

UVA Law Professor Kimberly Robinson On Legal Debate About Education As Federal Right

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Kimberly Robinson, Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Curry School of Education, about her new book, "A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy," and the need for states to establish a “floor of opportunity” to ensure educational equity.

New York Times #1 best-selling author John M. Barry on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic & lessons for COVID-19

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by John M. Barry, author of the #1 New York Times best seller, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.

Ashley Berner of Johns Hopkins on Academic Quality, Educational Pluralism, & the Providence Public Schools

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Ashley Berner, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. 

Christensen Institute Co-founder Michael Horn on Digital Learning & COVID-19

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

The Institute for Justice’s Tim Keller on Espinoza v. Montana DOR & ongoing school choice litigation

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Tim Keller, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing the plaintiffs in the high-profile Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court,.

Stanford Pulitzer Winner David Kennedy on Lessons for COVID-19 from the 1918 Flu Epidemic & Great Depression

/
This week on “The Learning Curve” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Pulitzer-winning historian David Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University.

The Washington Post’s Jay Mathews on schooling during COVID-19 & lessons from teaching great Jaime Escalante

/
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard continue coverage of COVID-19’s impact on K-12 education, joined by Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist.

Ambassador Ray Flynn on Public Leadership During Global Crisis & the Case for Catholic Schools

/
This week on “The Learning Curve” (St. Patrick’s Day edition), Cara and Gerard discuss COVID-19’s ongoing toll on families and K-12 education, and interview Raymond Flynn, former Ambassador to the Vatican and three-term Mayor of Boston, about the world-historical moment presented by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as his advocacy for religious education.