The Learning Curve Podcast

Wednesdays at 12 pm

Join Pioneer every Wednesday for insight and perspective on education, learning trends, school choice, and public policy. Our hosts and guests offer a mix of provocative commentary as they interview school leaders, innovators, bestselling authors, policymakers, and more.

Listeners can find The Learning Curve on iTunes (Apple Podcasts), Stitcher, Spotify, and the Choice Media mobile app. Also find it online at Ricochet and Pioneer Institute. Follow The Learning Curve on:

Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner on Educational Pluralism & Democracy

Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Education Policy director, Dr. Ashley Berner discusses educational pluralism's role in improving K-12 performance, exploring European models and the impact of U.S. school choice programs. Dr. Berner analyzes universal ESAs and vocational-technical schooling, addressing persistent academic struggles and civic knowledge gaps.

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ExcelinEd’s Dr. Cara Candal on National School Choice Week

Dr. Candal delves into the evolving landscape of K-12 education in the U.S., examining the expansion of private school choice programs post- U.S. Supreme Court decisions, changing political dynamics around charter schools, strategies of the national school choice movement in low-performing states, the role of parent-driven models during the pandemic, the significance of voc-tech education, and addressing underperformance and achievement gaps.

NYT Bestseller Jonathan Eig on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jonathan Eig delves into MLK's early spiritual leadership, the influence of Langston Hughes on his speeches, his relationship with his wife, Coretta Scott King, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's challenges. He discusses historic events in Birmingham, Alabama, the March on Washington, MLK's struggles in Chicago, the Poor People's Campaign, and the events leading to his assassination in 1968. Eig underscores the multifaceted aspects of MLK's life and provides insights on drawing lessons for contemporary challenges in race relations and leadership.

Olympic Track Medalist Gabby Thomas

Gabby Thomas, Pioneer Valley native, Harvard alum in neurobiology, and Olympic sprinter, won bronze and silver in Tokyo, she also pursued a master's in epidemiology. She shares her journey excelling both in academics and athletics.

T.J. Stiles on Cornelius Vanderbilt & American Business

T.J. Stiles delves into the life of America’s first tycoon, Cornelius Vanderbilt, exploring his rise to historic wealth in steamboats, shipping, and railroads. He discusses Vanderbilt's legal battles, philanthropy, and enduring legacy, exploring his business competitiveness and wide impact on 19th-century America’s economy.

Carol Zaleski on The Lord of the Rings & Narnia

Prof. Carol Zaleski discusses the literary impact of the Inklings, focusing on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, exploring their lives, works, and enduring moral contributions in today's cultural landscape.

Emily Hanford on Reading Science & K-12 Literacy

Emily Hanford, host of the hit podcast Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong, discusses the science of reading, the long whole language v. phonics debate, the impact of the digital age on learning, and the importance of academic background knowledge for children becoming better readers.