We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

APM Reports: 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.

24 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Kindergartners in an Ohio classroom learning letters. One in five American kids struggles to read, and many of them have dyslexia. But public schools are failing to identify or treat dyslexia, even though there are proven ways to help kids with dyslexia l, Credit: Emily Hanford
(9/11/17) Public schools are denying children with dyslexia proper treatment and often failing to identify them in the first place.

Bought by WGCU and KUNM

  • Added: Sep 13, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Frank Campbell was a teenager when he was sold to keep Georgetown University afloat. He was one of some 272 enslaved people sold by Jesuits in Maryland to plantations in Louisiana., Credit: Ellender Memorial Library, Nicholls State University
(9/4/2017) As more schools begin to confront their participation in slavery, they also consider how to make amends.

Bought by KUER, Iowa Public Radio, KUNM, KSFR, WGCU and more

  • Added: Sep 05, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Teacher Christopher McFadden is a member of The Fellowship, a group in Philadelphia trying to recruit and retain black male teachers. Only 2 percent of teachers in American public schools are black men., Credit: Emily Hanford
(8/28/2017) There may be nothing more important in the educational life of a child than having effective teachers. But the United States is struggl...

Bought by KERA, KUNM, WSKG, Iowa Public Radio, and WDET Detroit Public Radio

  • Added: Aug 28, 2017
  • Length: 52:58
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Alexis Rodriguez, a DACA recipient and math teacher with Teach for America, marched in Los Angeles on Inauguration day, January 20, 2017. , Credit: Andy Vasoyan
(Updated 9/7/2017) This program, newly updated since the DACA announcement, profiles Dreamers and their opponents and examines a key court case and...

Bought by KRCB-FM "Radio 91", RadioFreePalmer, KUAF Public Radio, Moab Public Radio, KUER and more

  • Added: Sep 06, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 10
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)


  • 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