The Learning Curve Podcast

Wednesdays at 12 pm

The Learning Curve is where you’ll find straight talk about the nation’s hottest education stories—news and opinion from the schoolyard to the campaign trail. Cohosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal serve up provocative commentary and 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:

Ashley Soifer on Microschools, Pods, & Homeschooling

This week on The Learning Curve, Ashley Soifer, Chief Innovation Officer of the National Microschooling Center discusses these innovative schooling options, in which families and innovators are using a wide array of education choices that offer parents flexibility and greater control over how, where, what, and when their children learn.

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About Our Cohosts

 Cara Stillings Candal, Ed.D. is Managing Director for Policy at ExcelinEd. Cara has spent the last 10 years working in education policy as a Senior Fellow with both Pioneer Institute and the Center for Education Reform. She was also a founding team member of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) and a research assistant professor at Boston University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Development. Cara has authored/edited more than 25 papers and three books on education policy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Indiana University, a Masters of Arts in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and a Doctorate of Education from Boston University. Cara is the author most recently of Pioneer Institute’s book, The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation.

Gerard Robinson is a Fellow of Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Charlottesville, Virginia. ASCF uses basic and applied research to educate the public and key societal leadership groups about the nature and challenges of late-modern society and conducts inquiry into humane and democratic responses to these challenges. Previously, he was Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity, in Washington, D.C. Robinson is a fellow with AEI, and was Secretary of Education in Virginia and Commissioner of Education in Florida. Gerard tweets at @gerard_924.

Browse all episodes below:

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

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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.