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American RadioWorks: Focus on Education

Series produced by American Public Media

Series image

From preschool to the post-secondary years, this series of documentaries explores the question, "What kinds of education are needed for people and communities to thrive in the 21st century?"

From preschool to the post-secondary years, this series of hour-long documentaries explores the question, "What kinds of education are needed for people and communities to thrive in the 21st century?" Stephen Smith and Emily Hanford pursue meaning behind research in how we learn and teach, and what's being done across the country to strengthen our systems of education.


20 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: A student at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in New York conquers a high ropes course., Credit: Stephen Smith
In the 1940s a British headmaster named Kurt Hahn set up a wilderness school called Outward Bound to teach young men the skills they needed to surv...

Bought by XRAY.fm, WITF, Vermont Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston, KSFR and more


  • Added: Sep 10, 2015
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: A student hangs a flag outside the veteran’s center at Pasadena City College., Credit: Stephen Smith
The GI Bill of 1944 revolutionized the lives of millions of young veterans, America’s institutions of higher education, and American society at lar...

Bought by WHRV, KAZU, KSFR, and WCAI / WNAN


  • Added: Sep 10, 2015
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Teachers in Chicago doing "lesson study," a teacher improvement practice borrowed from Japan., Credit: Emily Hanford
This documentary what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teach...

Bought by Prairie Public and WCAI / WNAN


  • Added: Sep 10, 2015
  • Length: 58:59
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Students at Howard University graduation, class of 2015, Credit: Emily Hanford
Graduates of historically black colleges and universities helped launch the civil rights movement and built the black middle class. But after deseg...

Bought by Georgia Public Broadcasting, WESM 91.3 FM, and WCAI / WNAN


  • Added: Sep 10, 2015
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah., Credit: Photo by Stephen Smith
Schools across the country are trying new ways to teach based on brain science. Teachers say current techniques are failing, but new approaches can...

Bought by WHRV, KUNM, WCAI / WNAN, KPIP-LP, WYSO and more


  • Added: Aug 21, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts., Credit: Photo by Emily Hanford
Vocational education used to prepare some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Now advocates say career and tec...

Bought by WHRV, KUHF, 90.5 WESA, KPIP-LP, WSKG and more


  • Added: Sep 11, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption:  Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test, Credit: Photo by Emily Hanford
New Common Core education standards are surrounded by controversy. Most teachers actually like the Common Core, but they’re worried about all the s...

Bought by WESM 91.3 FM, WNIJ, KPIP-LP, Capital Public Radio, WYSO and more


  • Added: Aug 28, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption:  A graduate and her parents celebrate first-generation college students at Amherst College., Credit: Photo by Suzanne Pekow
Today's college students are more likely to be older, working class, and ethnically diverse than in the past. Colleges must figure out how to serve...

Bought by WESM 91.3 FM, 90.5 WESA, KPIP-LP, WYSO, KUOW and more


  • Added: Sep 08, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Studying for the GED at an adult education school in Washington, D.C., Credit: Emily Hanford
Millions of high school dropouts hope their ticket to a better job is getting a GED. But critics say passing a test is not the same as getting a hi...

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, KPIP-LP, WITF, 90.5 WSNC, WRST-FM Oshkosh and more


  • Added: Sep 06, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Working a math problem at Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina, where each student gets a laptop., Credit: Stephen Smith
Learning with a personal tutor is one of the best ways to learn. But hiring a tutor for every student was never a realistic option, until now. Can ...

Bought by KPIP-LP, KMXT, KOSU, WTIP, and 90.5 WSNC


  • Added: Sep 03, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Gary Hotsfall, a student at Western Governor’s University Washington. WGU is a network of nonprofit online universities., Credit: Stephen Smith
Digital technologies are changing how many Americans go to college - from online courses to robo-tutors. Can these innovations make college cheaper...

Bought by KZYX, KMXT, and KOSU


  • Added: Nov 14, 2012
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption:  YES Prep students at an informational session at the University of Oklahoma. YES Prep is a charter school network that serves a low-income population in Houston, Tex. and focuses on getting all of its students accepted into 4-year colleges. , Credit: YES Prep Public Schools
Why are so many low-income students quitting college, and what leads a few to beat the odds and make it through? (8/30/2012)

Bought by KPIP-LP, KERA, and New Hampshire Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 14, 2012
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: The campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., founded in 1874. , Credit: Steve Woit, courtesy of Macalester College.
The most popular college major in America these days is business. Does it pay to study liberal arts? (9/8/2011)

Bought by WHRV, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, WTIP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, and WUIS


  • Added: Sep 08, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: College students in a Maryland science class. Some professors are abandoning the traditional lecture because research suggests it's not very effective, but lecture classes are still common. , Credit: Emily Hanford
Most college students spend a lot of time listening to lectures. But research shows there are better ways to learn. (9/1/2011)

Bought by KPIP-LP, WTIP, KZYX, WFIU, and WUIS


  • Added: Sep 01, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: A student picks up new job skills at the Tennessee Technology Center in Murfreesboro, a technical school where many people who have quit college go to improve their chances in an increasingly competitive economy. , Credit: Doug Strickland
37 million Americans are college dropouts. What wlll it take to get them back? (8/25/2011)

Bought by WTIP, KWIT, and WUIS


  • Added: Aug 26, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Teacher Joe Curtis working with a student at Hardy Elementary School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Credit: Emily Hanford
Kids need good teachers. It’s something people know instinctively. But experts disagree over how to measure teacher quality. (8/26/2010)

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, KPIP-LP, KMUZ, WTIP, Marfa Public Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Students on their graduation day from Montgomery College, a community college in Maryland. Most young Latinos looking for a way up through higher education choose community college, but a lot of them never make it to graduation day. , Credit: Emily Hanford
Young Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and they are among the least likely to graduate from college. (11/5/2009)

Bought by WESM 91.3 FM, KPIP-LP, KQED, KZYX, Nevada Public Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: A student in a preschool classroom at River Breeze Elementary, a public school in Palatka, Florida. Preschool used to be a radical idea, but now the majority of American children go to preschool. , Credit: Stephen Smith
There’s been a quiet revolution in America’s schools over recent decades. We’ve added an extra grade to a child’s education: Preschool. (10/29/2009)

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, WSKG, KPIP-LP, KMUZ, WSKG and more


  • Added: Mar 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Students take a standardized test at a high school in Greensboro, North Carolina., Credit: Billy Barnes
There’s been a dramatic change in public education over the past 10 years and it’s all about numbers. (9/6/2007)

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, KPIP-LP, WUIS, WTIP, KERA and more


  • Added: Mar 17, 2011
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: A class at the University of Phoenix's Hohokam campus in Arizona. Phoenix is the nation's largest for-profit university and largely serves working adults. , Credit: Brian Pobuda/University of Phoenix
The rapid rise of career-oriented, for-profit colleges and universities has provoked heated debate about the costs, quality and purpose of higher e...

Bought by WTIP


  • Added: Nov 14, 2012
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1