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Playlist: Back to School

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/elephipelephi/369212047/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Elephi Pelephi</a>
Image by: Elephi Pelephi 
Curated Playlist

That was fast.

Below are picks chosen by PRX editorial staff. You can see all potential back-to-school pieces by using our search.

This School Year, a Commitment to Mental Health

From Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) | Part of the Substance Abuse & Mental Illness: The Impact on America’s Communities series | 05:23

High school teacher Joe Vulopas has a conversation with his son J.J., a recent high school graduate, about the academic and social pressures young people face today and their work together creating positive mental health environments in schools across the nation.

Vulopas1_small Following the tragic death of high school sophomore Phil Cardin in 2004, English teacher Joe Vulopas worked with students to form Aevidum, a community-based program with the mission of creating positive mental health environments for students. In this segment, Joe has a conversation with his son, J.J., about the day Phil took his life, the academic and social pressures young people face today and how Aevidum creates cultures of mental health advocacy in schools across the nation. David Wilson of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lends his expertise to the discussion.

The Long Game: Texas' Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom

From Trey Kay | 59:01

"Long Game" is a new radio documentary about ongoing culture war battles over education in the Lone Star State.

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For more than a half a century, citizens of the Lone Star State have had intense, emotional battles over what children should and shouldn’t be taught in public school classrooms.   While there have been fights over just about every academic subject, debates over history, evolution, God and country generate the most heat. In many ways, Texans are stuck.  Some believe teachers should lay out relevant facts before students and have them draw their own conclusions. Others believe there should be particular values —perhaps absolute values— added into the mix to help guide students.”  

For “Long Game,” Trey Kay (producer of the Peabody, Murrow and DuPont honored “Great Textbook War”) spent nearly two years gathering interviews and acquiring archival audio in Texas.  During this process, he was present to capture a new controversy that erupted over a Texas-generated curriculum system known as CSCOPE. Tea Party parents were outraged when they discovered there were CSCOPE lessons that equated Boston Tea Party participants to terrorists and encouraged students to design a flag for a new communist country. These parents were also troubled by lessons that taught the fundamental principals of Islam. When they asked to see more of their children’s lessons, they were told that CSCOPE material was protected by a non-disclosure agreement and that parents couldn’t have access.  The controversy reached critical mass after conservative talk show host Glenn Beck began speaking to his national audience about CSCOPE as a form of leftist indoctrination that was running rampant in Texas and could potentially appear in public schools in other states.  After about six months of intense media and political pressure, the lesson plan wing of CSCOPE –used in over 70% of Texas schools – was disbanded.

Kay’s report also examines Texas’ perennial battle over science standards and in particular, how the state chooses to teach all things related to the origins of the universe and theory of evolution.  This fall (2013), the Texas Board of Education is selecting biology textbooks for use by high school students over the next decade. The panel responsible for reviewing submissions from publishers has stirred controversy because a number of its members do not accept evolution and climate change as scientific truth.

 

What people are saying about Long Game :

Compelling journalism and artful storytelling, Trey Kay reports on the deep social divide that affects how students are being taught in classrooms across America. Deeply researched and clearly reported, Long Game examines the characters, issues and social divide over textbooks and curriculum in public schools in Texas. The war over textbooks has become a red-hot battle over testing and curricula in which ideology too often trumps education. No documentary in memory better explains how we got here and what it means. Every parent should listen to this documentary as if their child’s education depended on it – because it does.  

Wayne Slater, Senior Political Writer, The Dallas Morning News and author of “ Bush's Brain : How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential.


Trey Kay has done it once again: The Long Game is scrupulously reported and beautifully produced, a rigorous, fair-minded and illuminating exploration of one of America's fundamental challenges, the ascendant and hysterical conviction that, pace Daniel Moynihan, everyone is entitled to his own facts as well as his own opinion. A compelling and important hour of radio.

Kurt Andersen, co-founder of Spy Magazine and host of PRI’s Studio 360

 

Nobody knows more about the long, fraught history of the Culture Wars in our schools than Trey Kay. The Long Game is proof that in 2013, more than 50 years after the Gablers began picking apart textbooks at their kitchen table, what happens in Texas still matters to public education. A fascinating listen!

Greg Toppo , USA Today's national K-12 education reporter

Trey Kay has produced our best single account of curriculum controversies in Texas, a longtime battleground for the culture wars in American education. As Kay shows, the current imbroglio over "CSCOPE" has deep roots in Lone Star political and religious history. But it also reflects more recent trends, especially the nationwide movement for standards and accountability. Given their profound cultural and ideological differences, can Americans ever embrace a shared "standard" of education? Listen to Trey Kay, and make up your own mind.

Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of Education and History, New York University and author of Whose America: Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Harvard University Press)

 

Trey Kay provides a deep, richly reported look at longtime culture wars over what can be taught in Texas classrooms. He takes listeners inside Sunday schools, classrooms and the minds of those who believe the teaching of evolution theory and state curriculum materials confuse and mislead students and promote anti-American battles.  Kay goes well behind the superficial headlines about battles over curriculum delivery and textbooks in the Longhorn State, getting his pulse on why ideology continues to dominate education debates.

 

Liz Willen, editor, The Hechinger Report, Teachers College, Columbia University

Stressed-Out Students

From Humankind | 58:59

Ideal for broadcast late-Summer / early- Fall, this new 1-hr. documentary from Humankind examines the epidemic of high anxiety among secondary school students in this era of high-stakes testing and sharply increased competition for the limited pool of slots available at top colleges.

Stressed_students_760w_small Ideal for broadcast late-summer / early fall, this new 1-hr. documentary from Humankind examines the epidemic of high anxiety among secondary school students in this era of high-stakes testing and sharply increased competition for the limited pool of slots available at top colleges. The consequences of elevated stress levels for students include massive cheating (one survey showed 9 of 10 students admit to cheating), high rates of angst and depression, abuse of “study drugs”, etc. We hear from high school students, educators and school counselors, as well as an Ohio Congressman who has emerged as a voice for improving the culture of our schools. Also a look at ways of re-structuring the school day to reduce levels of stress, plus positive coping skills that can help kids navigate this difficult environment. BROADCAST RIGHTS BEGIN AUG 15, 2013.

Class of 2025 Hour-Long Documentary

From Oregon Public Broadcasting | Part of the American Graduate - Class of 2025 series | 54:22

AIR WINDOW OPENS JUNE 4TH
In this hour we're going to hear from parents, teachers and education experts. OPB aims to follow more than 20 members of the class of 2025 through high school. They're in first grade now.

This hour, we'll hear from five of them. We're focusing on these kids from Oregon because their stories reflect where public education is heading.

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AIR WINDOW OPENS JUNE 4TH
In this hour we're going to hear from parents, teachers and education experts.  OPB aims to follow more than 20 members of the class of 2025 through high school. They're in first grade now. 
We'll hear from five of those children. We're focusing on these kids from Oregon because their stories reflect where public education is heading. 

Remaking the Science Fair

From Adam Hochberg | 05:00

Volcanoes fueled by baking soda and vinegar. Carnations dipped in colored water. Those are popular projects at school science fairs, but do they really teach kids anything? Some professional scientists are leading an effort to remake school science fairs. They say that rather than just building models or conducting demonstrations, children as young as eight or ten can develop original science projects and make important discoveries.

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Volcanoes fueled by vinegar and baking soda. Styrofoam planets circling an orange softball. Carnations stuck in colored water. They’re the kind of projects kids make for school science fairs, but do they really have much to do with science?

Some scientists worry that science fairs often teach the wrong lesson. Contestants sometimes are rewarded for producing the most spectacular result – the tallest sunflower or gooiest eruption – instead of designing projects based on scientific inquiry. And many science fair projects merely replicate something that's already known, like the reaction of baking soda and vinegar, instead of striving to discover something new.

A handful of scientists -- on a mission to stamp out “godforsaken volcanoes” – are leading a nationwide dialog on how science fairs can teach “real science.” They say students as young as 8 or 10 can develop original experiments using things they see every day in their homes or backyards.

Voices include North Carolina State University scientists Rob Dunn and Holly Menninger , Western Carolina University professor Kefyn Catley , and Cora Beth Abel of the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair .

(PRX homepage image from Shutterstock.)

Hacker Scouts

From Jon Kalish | 06:40

The DIY/maker movement is creating formal opportunities for kids who like to make things with their hands.

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Hacker Scouts
From
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20130616_163533_medium_small In recent years the “maker movement” which includes do-it-yourselfers and hi tech hackers has been introducing an even younger generation to the joys of making things with your own hands. Annual Maker Faires, which draw crowds in New York,California and other cities around the country, now include large exhibits geared to children. And slowly adult hacker spaces have been reaching out to young people. What’s more, last year saw the rise of youth groups called Hacker Scouts and DIY Clubs.  Jon Kalish tells us about this grass roots movement that is teaching kids science, technology, engineering and math, hands-on outside the classroom.

Rebuilding Detroit's Schools: A Tale of Two Cities

From Michigan Radio | 59:01

Can Detroit’s schools be fixed? Michigan Radio spent months looking at how New Orleans’ school reform efforts could benefit Detroit and other cities.

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Many urban school systems across the country are struggling.  Detroit's 
education system is in crisis. The Detroit Public School District
consistently falls at the bottom in academic progress among America's large
urban districts. It has the worst high school graduation rate in the
country at 25 percent, operates under an emergency financial manager, and
has a shortage of everything ranging from mandated tutoring services to
toilet paper.

New Orleans' education system was in a comparable state before Hurricane
Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast region in August 2005. However, in the
aftermath of the storm, New Orleans became a laboratory for change by
necessity. School leaders began to consider anew the direction of the
city's low-performing public school system, and took action to improve it.

"Rebuilding Detroit's Schools: A Tale of Two Cities" examined current
educational challenges in Detroit and reform strategies being used in New
Orleans. Michigan Radio reporters Jennifer Guerra and Sarah Hulett spent
months looking at the two school systems and talking with students,
parents, teachers, school administrators, and experts exploring how lessons
learned in New Orleans' school reform efforts could benefit Detroit and
other cities.

The Great Textbook War

From Trey Kay | 58:59

In 1974, Kanawha County was the first battleground in the American culture wars. Controversy erupted over newly-adopted school textbooks. School buildings were hit by dynamite and Molotov cocktails, buses were riddled with bullets and surrounding coal mines were shut down by protesting miners. Textbook supporters thought they would introduce students to new ideas about multiculturalism. Opponents felt the books undermined traditional American values. The controversy extended well beyond the Kanawha Valley. The newly-formed Heritage Foundation found a cause to rally an emerging Christian conservative movement. This documentary tells the story of that local confrontation and the effect that it had on the future of American politics.

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In 1974, Kanawha County was the first battleground in the American culture wars. Controversy erupted over newly-adopted school textbooks. School buildings were hit by dynamite and Molotov cocktails, buses were riddled with bullets and surrounding coal mines were shut down by protesting miners. Textbook supporters thought they would introduce students to new ideas about multiculturalism. Opponents felt the books undermined traditional American values. The controversy extended well beyond the Kanawha Valley. The newly-formed Heritage Foundation found a cause to rally an emerging Christian conservative movement. This documentary tells the story of that local confrontation and the effect that it had on the future of American politics.

 

The Documentary                                                                                                                        More than 40 interviews and archival sound of school board meetings, public debates and news reports bring the story of the Kanawha County textbook wars to life. School board member Alice Moore, who led the opposition to the books, describes what she found objectionable, and more broadly, how she felt traditional family values were under attack. Superintendent Kenneth Underwood recalls that a reasonable conclusion felt impossible after the debate was hijacked by a mob of angry fundamentalist Christians. Reverend Henry Thaxton remembers feeling dismissed and disregarded by an arrogant governing class. English teacher Mildred Holt was excited to teach the works of African American writers, but when the KKK began to protest the books, she felt sure the protest was racially based. Their memories describe the charged political environment of 1974, and show how messy and destructive cultural confrontations can be, particularly in a narrow river valley where there is not much room for retreat.

Host Trey Kay was a 7th grader during the textbook protests. He rode the bus into junior high past a crowd of mothers holding picket signs. Telling the story as both the chronicler and a witness, the documentary has the personal tone of a first-person account. Combined with   exclusive interviews and archival sound of national news coverage, the documentary guides the listener through the tumultuous protests that tore this community apart while setting a new course for conservative religious politics.

 

 

Praise for Documentary

Trey Kay has produced a riveting, surprising and scrupulously fair-minded documentary about a little-known but extremely important early battle in what we now call "the culture wars." I can't imagine a better, faster way to acquire a solid, visceral understanding of the roots and long-simmering ferocity of today's angry populist right than listening to The Great Textbook War.

-Kurt Andersen, host of PRI’s Studio 360

 

Although I've written repeatedly about the famous 1974 Kanawha County fundamentalist uprising against "godless" textbooks, Trey Kay's public radio documentary nonetheless opened my ears to details and incidents I didn't know. Now I understand the mentality of the protesters better. It's a superb program and a valuable addition to West Virginia history.

-Jim Haught, editor of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia’s largest newspaper

 

This program highlights a moment in history when our society had to face some very difficult decisions.  It’s an evocative hour of radio told from a unique perspective that brings you close to this story in an unexpected way.  I was riveted. 

- Abby Goldstein, Program Director, New Hampshire Public Radio

 

I really liked this program!  It was well produced, very interesting, had great tape from the time, a good flow and timely with the link to today’s Tea Party activism.  It hooked me in quickly and told a good story.

- Jacqueline Cincotta, Assistant Program Director, WNYC, New York City

 

 

The Radio Broadcast

The Great Textbook War premiered on West Virginia Public Radio in October 2009 and has had two encore broadcasts.  In addition, New York public radio WNYC will air the documentary this spring, PRI’s Studio 360 has requested a follow-up segment for their program and APM’s American RadioWorks for inclusion in their fall 2010 season.  

Sample Scenes

The Spark                                                                                                                                 

The textbook selection committee introduces a series of new language arts books at the Kanawha County board of education meeting on April 11, 1974. School board member Alice Moore, who has been concerned that liberal teaching methods are watering down the education system, objects to the introduction of the teaching of non-standard English. In particular, she speaks against the teaching of “dialectology,” a method that the book selection committee hoped would diminish the elitism of English classes and encourage an appreciation of language. Alice feared that incorrect grammar would affirm the practice of “ghetto English.” Since the board faced a deadline to adopt the books or lose state funding, Alice moves to accept the books and later delete materials that the board considered unsuitable. 

After the motion passed, Alice’s husband (who had been reviewing the books during the meeting) presents her with a book and says “Look at what you’ve adopted.” She reads a quote from The Autobiography of Malcolm X: “All praise is due to Allah that I moved to Boston when I did. If I hadn't, I'd probably still be a brainwashed black Christian.” Alice, a life-long Christian, finds this passage highly offensive. She notifies the superintendent that she wants all of the books sent to her home so she can begin a personal review of other material.  After her initial review, she objected to passages by Sigmund Freud, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Eldridge Cleaver and others as inappropriate material for children’s textbooks.

The Violence                                                                                                                              After the school board’s adoption of the books, many local fundamentalist preachers organize a protest campaign. Reverend Marvin Horan calls on parents to boycott the school system until the books were removed.  He opens an “Anti-Textbook Headquarters” in the coal mining community where he lives.  At this office, he and his followers develop a plan to get the books out of the schools. One strategy is to have concerned mothers set up picket lines in front of schools. Since many parents adhered to the coal miner union tradition of never crossing a picket line, families are reluctant to send their children into schools.  Many schools  operate at half (and less than half) capacity. 

Coal miner Butch Wills goes to the protest office every night after supper.  “It was a good place to loaf.  I mean, it was what was going on up here.  There was all the national news media ABC, NBC, CBS.” He says that in those meetings Rev. Horan always said, “Whatever we do, no violence.” 

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Rich says that in that office, Horan and some of his followers planned and executed dynamite bombings of two schools to discourage parents from bringing their children to school. The bombs exploded when schools were empty and no one was injured. Rich says he grew concerned that things could escalate when he heard of a plot to wire blasting caps into the gas tanks of cars of parents driving their kids to school. He moved to arrest and indict those involved. Rev. Marvin Horan was ultimately convicted of conspiring violence and sentenced to federal prison.

The Production Team                                                                                                  

Trey Kay (host, producer and reporter) has produced segments for This American LifeMarketplaceWeekend AmericaDay to DayMorning Edition and Studio 360. In 2005, he shared in a Peabody Award for 360’s “American Icons: Moby Dick” show. He was also an associate producer for “News Wars: Secrets, Sources and Spin,” a two-hour report for PBS Frontline. He is a native of Charleston, where he was a junior high school student in 1974. 

Deborah George (editor) has been an NPR editor for over fifteen years. Deb’s work has received numerous awards, including the DuPont-Columbia Gold and Silver Batons, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Casey Award for reporting on children.

Mind the Gap: Why Good Schools are Failing Black Students (54:00 and 59:00)

From Nancy Solomon | 59:01

Suburban schools are doing a good job educating white students, but are not getting the same results with black and Latino students. Winner of a 2010 Peabody Award, this documentary tells the story of a suburban high school that is struggling to close the minority achievement gap.

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Award-winning NPR Reporter Nancy Solomon
takes you inside a school to hear a discussion on race in the classroom.  Listen as students try to explain what went wrong with their education. Join her at the kitchen table with black middle-class parents who thought that a move to the suburbs would ensure school success. Find out how the school's best teachers motivate their students. Be a fly on the wall in the busy dean's office where where kids with discipline problems land.

Two versions are available. The 54-minute version has a music-filled news hole and one-minute music breaks at :19 and :39 for station cutaways. The 59-minute version has additional content to cover the news hole (not music), and the same station breaks at :19 and 39.  The promos have 6-sec music tails for station tag.

A digital media package is available free to all stations that includes a call to action, audio slideshows and links for more information. To preview or to link to: www.nancycsolomon.com

Funded by the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting and free to all stations.

APM Reports: Focus on Education (Series)

Produced by American Public Media

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

Most recent piece in this series:

Hard to Read: How American Schools Fail Kids With Dyslexia

From American Public Media | Part of the APM Reports: Focus on Education series | 54:00

4hardtoread_promo_photo_small There are proven ways to help people with dyslexia learn to read, and a federal law that's supposed to ensure schools provide kids with help. But across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.

Schooled: Teens' Stories About American Public Education

From KUOW | Part of the Curated Youth Radio Programs from KUOW and Generation PRX series | 55:59

How modern education looks to teens. Produced by KUOW from some of the best youth-produced pieces on PRX. Hosted by Amina Al-Sadi, a 20-year-old senior at the University of Washington.

Claudia_200_small Adults in the White House, Congress, think tanks, principals’ offices, teachers’ unions, and other Very Important Positions are fighting over how to educate kids. But what do teenagers think about the education we’re getting?

This hour, we take you back to school – public high school, to be precise.

Teenagers share our stories, in our words.

We dissect school standards that are too hard, or too easy. We get educated in an unequal public school system, and make decisions for what comes next after high school.

Stories in the program:

1. Amon "AJ" Frazier, 'Promotion In Doubt' WNYC's Radio Rookies http://www.prx.org/pieces/46796-promotion-in-doubt

Amon 'AJ' Frazier was trying to get through eighth grade when New York City's Department of Education made it harder to move up to the next grade. AJ wasn't sure he could pass, but as he found out, the new standards were more flexible than they seemed. AJ created this story for WNYC's "Radio Rookies" when he was 14 years old.

2. Libby Donovan, 'These Kids Didn't Want To Be There, And I Did' (Orig. 'I Was a Slacker in the Top Ten'), Blunt Youth Radio Project http://www.prx.org/pieces/46381-i-was-a-slacker-in-the-top-10

Many American high schools put students in 'tracks' based on academic achievement. But at South Portland High School in Maine, students of all abilities were mixed together in the classroom. Libby Donovan was not pleased. She made this story when she was 19, for the Blunt Youth Radio Project.

3. Amanda Wells, 'The Night I Met Jonathan Kozol,' KRCB Voice of Youth http://www.prx.org/pieces/18445-the-night-i-met-jonathan-kozol

Let's go on a field trip with Amanda Wells, age 17. She saw Jonathan Kozol speak at Sonoma State University in 2005. Kozol has documented and criticized "the restoration of apartheid schooling in America." Amanda asks how she — a white girl — could help end racial separation. She made this story for KRCB Voice of Youth.

4. Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan, 'Where Were You Fifth Period?,' Curie Youth Radio http://www.prx.org/pieces/10160-where-were-you-fifth-period

Time for a quiz. Why do students cut class? Is it because: A.Their pants are wet. B. They're tired. C. They got engaged on lunch break.

Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan get answers from students at Curie High School on the Southwest Side of Chicago. They made this story for Curie Youth Radio.

5. Sam Pearson, 'Sam Drops Out,' Youth Media Project http://www.prx.org/pieces/46483-sam-drops-out

Sam Pearson was a student at Monte Del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, NM. He didn't want to be in high school anymore. So he dropped out. Sam made this story in 2010 when he was 17 years old, for the Youth Media Project in Santa Fe.

6. Caitlin Garing, 'Life After High School,' Alaska Teen Media Institute http://www.prx.org/pieces/4662-think-piece-on-life-after-high-school

More than a third of public high school graduates don't go to college. One anxious mother doesn't know what her son plans to do. So she hires a hard–boiled private detective to find out. Caitlin Garing was a senior in high school when she created this noir–inspired radio play for the Alaska Teen Media Institute.

7. Lena Eckert–Erdheim, 'Making It Out Of High School' Youth Noise Network http://www.prx.org/pieces/17755-making-it-out-of-high-school

Lena Eckert–Erdheim asked fellow seniors at Durham School of the Arts what they planned to do after high school. Go to college or become a hobo? Hmm, tough choice. Lena made this story for Youth Noise Network (YNN) at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. YNN is now part of SpiritHouse. (Lena went to college.)

8. Tirhas Kibrzghi, 'Students Vs. SATs' WAMU's Youth Voices http://www.prx.org/pieces/26721-students-vs-sats

Each year, the SAT test strikes fear into the hearts of about 1.5 million high school students. Colleges use SAT scores to make admissions decisions, but many high school students say the test carries too much weight. WAMU's Youth Voices reporter Tirhas Kibrzghi takes us inside a testing center near Washington, DC.

9. Claudia Villa, 'The Kids Who Got Out: My Graduation Day' KRCB Voice of Youth http://www.prx.org/pieces/11654-the-kids-who-got-out-my-graduation-day

We spend graduation day with Claudia Villa. She went to the Clean and Sober school for kids with substance abuse issues, and graduated with teen moms, probation camp kids, and the rest of Sonoma County's Alternative Ed class of 2006. Claudia made this story when she was 18 years old for KRCB Voice of Youth.

Loving math and mime

From Ari Daniel | 10:54

Tim Chartier has found a way to fuse his two great loves: math and mime. (It's a fusion that's almost as unlikely as wanting to do a radio story about it.) He and his wife strive to have their audiences become a part of the world that they're creating on stage, and in so doing, the math becomes at once understandable and unforgettable.

Mm02_small Tim Chartier has found a way to fuse his two great loves: math and mime. (It's a fusion that's almost as unlikely as wanting to do a radio story about it.) He and his wife strive to have their audiences become a part of the world that they're creating on stage, and in so doing, the math becomes at once understandable and unforgettable.

Curiosity and Other Riddles [30:00 AND 20:00 versions]

From Cambridge Science Fest Crew | 30:18

If you could understand one thing about how the world works, what would it be? We asked budding school-age scientists what they want to know -- and then we took those questions to some of the brightest scientists in Cambridge. After taking a stab at the questions, we asked the scientists what big unanswered questions THEY most wanted to understand, and took those sometimes cosmic and often existential questions back to the kids, for answers. Both 30 and 20-minute versions are available below.

Investigating_kids_small This half-hour program is about embracing curiosity, discovery, and the common human quest to understand our environment.  We started out by asking school-age kids what they were curious about -- then we took those questions to some of the brightest scientists in Cambridge.  After taking a stab at the questions, we asked the scientists what big unanswered questions THEY most wanted to understand, and took those sometimes cosmic and often existential questions back to the kids, for answers.  This program was produced in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival, and aired on 4/29/2010 on WMBR in Cambridge, MA.  Learn more about the producers at AriDanielShapiro.com and NeighborhoodRadio.org.

Scientists Featured:
MIT Synthetic Neurobiologist, Ed Boyden; Harvard Molecular Geneticist, George Church; Harvard Science Historian, Peter Galison; Harvard Coginitive Neuroscientist, Marc Hauser; Harvard Evolutionary Geneticist, Pardis Sabeti; and MIT Social Cognitive Neuroscientist, Rebecca Saxe.

Nick's Diary: Home School to High School

From Radio Diaries | Part of the Teenage Diaries series | 17:48

Fifteen-year-old Nick shares a turbulent year in his life, growing up and trying to make friends. This touching account will take you back to the drama of high school.

Td_nick_001_l_small Nick chronicles a turbulent year in his life. He’s 15 years old and hates school, but somehow he must learn to make friends.

“If you could give me any advice or give me some potion that would make people my age start liking me, or, I don’t know… I just need to know how to socialize or I’m gonna go nuts. As a child I was really happy, and I was really enthusiastic about everything I did; about cello, about my writing, about drawing, about school, friends, about everything. And since the beginning of Junior High, since I’ve gotten older, I’m not as idealistic as I used to be. I think I see life more as it is now and I’m not as dreamy and creative as I used to be. But, maybe it’s just still in my brain, in storage.” 

This story is part of the Teenage Diaries series  produced by Radio Diaries for NPR. Since 1996, Executive Producer Joe Richman has been giving tape recorders to young people around the country to document their lives. 

Subscribe to the Radio Diaries Podcast: http://www.radiodiaries.org/podcast

Untouchable Music School

From World Vision Report | Part of the Stories from the World Vision Report series | 06:01

The Merasi are a group of Untouchables, the lowest caste in India. They've been singing and playing music for higher caste patrons for the past 2,000 years. The songs are mystical, and mesmerizing. And they're in danger of dying out. Now, there’s an effort to keep them alive. Independent producer Adam Pogoff has this commentary.

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If you air this piece, please include a back announce saying "This piece originally aired on the World Vision Report." or "This piece came to us from the World Vision Report."