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EPISODE 8: Home as a Place for Learning

On Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we present the eighth LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you miss the LIVE show, we post the edited version here by Monday over the weekend.

This week, REINVENTING SCHOOL explores an increasingly common practice--home as a place for learning, and in some cases, as a physical replacement for a physical school facility. It is our belief that many students and parents and teachers will experience much of the coming school year at home. And so, we decided to take a closer look at how this might work. We will address homeschooling, but our experts are prepared to go beyond the usual discussion. Pat Farenga describes himself as a “writer and education activist who addresses academic and general audiences about working with children, not on children, to help them learn.” He carries on the legacy of author and teacher John Holt. Doug Fine takes the concept several steps further, offering a unique approach that combines traditional school coursework with work outdoors at his New Mexico ranch. Diana Ortiz Burns is Director of Operations and Sustainability, Indian Creek School, and a force in the physical reinvention of local facilities used for learning.

Please join us on Thursdays for the live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
 
More about this week's guests:

PF+Portrait.jpg?format=500w&profile=RESIZE_400xPatrick Farenga brings more than 34 years of fieldwork, advocacy, and personal experience (he and his wife unschooled their three daughters) to help parents and children learn in their own ways. Farenga is a writer and education activist who addresses academic and general audiences about working with children, not on children, to help them learn. Farenga worked closely with one of the founders of the modern homeschooling movement, the late author and teacher John Holt, and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS) from 1985 until it stopped in 2001. GWS was the nation’s first periodical about learning without going to school, started by Holt in 1977. Farenga speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world—such as in Colombia, Ireland, France, England, Canada, and Italy—as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows in the United States (The Today Show, Good Morning America) and abroad. Farenga writes about homeschooling and self-directed learning for a number of publications and operates the John Holt/Growing Without Schooling website, www.johnholtgws.com. He is also a founding member of www.alternativestoschool.com. His latest project is Starting to Homeschool with Pat Farenga—http://www.startingtohomeschool.com/—a series of videos, publications, and online support. Farenga’s books include The Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling (Holt, 1998); Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (Perseus, 2003); The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013); and his latest publication, How to Report Unschooling to School Officials (HoltGWS, 2015).
https://www.johnholtgws.com/pat-farenga

 

6275488072?profile=RESIZE_400xDoug Fine is a solar-powered goat herder, comedic investigative journalist, bestselling author, and pioneer voice in regenerative farming, including cannabis/hemp. He has cultivated hemp for food and seed-building in four US states and teaches a Sterling College hemp class in Vermont. In addition, he is an award-winning culture and climate correspondent from five continents (for NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others). His books include American Hemp FarmerHemp Bound, Too High to Fail, Farewell, My Subaru (Boston Globe Bestseller available in two Chinese dialects), Not Really An Alaskan Mountain Man, and First Legal Harvest, a monograph that was printed on hemp paper. Willie Nelson calls Doug’s work “a blueprint for the America of the future.” The Washington Post says, “Fine is a storyteller in the mold of Douglas Adams.” A website of Doug’s print and radio work, United Nations testimony, television appearances and TED Talk is at dougfine.com. Social media: @organiccowboy.
https://www.dougfine.com

 

6275361082?profile=RESIZE_400xDiana Ortiz Burns, FMP, LEED Green Associate, serves as Indian Creek School's Director of Operations and Sustainability. Diana is a Facilities Management Professional and LEED Green Associate, who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Sustainability Studies. Before coming to ICS, Diana served as a Facilities Consultant with The Stone House Group and their working relationship with ICSultimately led her to join our community. Her experience spans facilities, energy and operations management, and LEED Administration. Diana has an extensive list of extracurriculars that has helped her to develop a strong background in program management, including sustainability programming, outreach and education. Diana’s interests outside of school include playing sports, particularly soccer and tennis. She also has a certificate in Sustainable Health and Nutrition and enjoys gardening and cooking.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/schools-have-harder-than-ever-before-conversely-also-diana/

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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EPISODE 7: LEARNING AND TEACHING HOPE

On Thursday, June 18 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we recorded the seventh LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you miss the LIVE show, we post the edited version here by Monday over the weekend.

This week, REINVENTING SCHOOL addressed a difficult question for students, parents, teachers and administrators: the many aspects of hope in the midst of a very challenging time. Hope is connected to reasonable expectations, optimism, temperament, social action, and more. This required sorting out, so we invited several experts from very different domains for our discussion. MK Asante is a filmmaker, author, and professor at Morgan State University and India's MICA Business School in India. Dr. Lara Jana is a pediatrician, educator, and the author of The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow. Sharon M. Ravitch, Ph.D., is a Professor of Practice at The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and a GIAN Scholar of the Government of India.

Please join us on Thursdays for the live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
 
 
More about this week's guests:
 
6051276280?profile=RESIZE_584xMK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and distinguished professor who the Los Angeles Times calls “One of America’s best storytellers.” He is the author of Buck: A Memoir, praised by Maya Angelou as “A story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.” Buck is a multi-year Washington Post Bestseller and the recipient of numerous literary awards. Buck is currently being adapted into a major motion picture. Asante studied at the University of London, earned a B.A. from Lafayette College, and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is the Host and Co-Executive Producer of While Black with MK Asante, a Snap Original docuseries nominated for a 2020 Critics’ Choice Real TV Award. Asante has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, as well as hundreds of other universities. He has toured in over 50 countries and was awarded the Key to the City of Dallas, Texas. He is featured in A Changing America, a permanent video exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 

6051290477?profile=RESIZE_930xSharon M. Ravitch is a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Dr. Ravitch co-founded Penn’s Inter-American Educational Leadership Network. She serves as the Principal Investigator of a number of multi-year international applied development research initiatives, one in Nicaragua and several in India.  Ravitch has published five books including Applied Research for Sustainable Change: A Guide for Education Leaders (with Nicole Carl, Harvard Education Press, 2019); and School Counseling Principles: Diversity and Multiculturalism (American School Counselor Association Press, 2006). Ravitch is currently completing a book, Building (and Critiquing) Expertise: Framing Research and Professional Development. She has recently begun an ethnographic research project, in collaboration with Kevin Kelley, a 32-year USPS employee, focused on the lived experiences and unique perspectives of urban mail carriers as they relate to the current moment of distrust, community (dis)engagement and organizing, and relational stress and healing in the United States.  Ravitch earned two master’s degrees from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and Education, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in an interdisciplinary program that integrates across the fields of anthropology and education.

 

6051298297?profile=RESIZE_400xPediatrician, educator, health communicator, and award-winning author, Dr. Laura Jana finds connections across disciplines and crystallizes big ideas into far-reaching, real-world applications, with a focus on social impact. Currently an Associate Research Professor at Penn State’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, Dr. Jana was most recently Director of Innovation in Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Jana is an internationally acclaimed speaker invited to present at venues spanning from local, state, and national pediatrics, education, and early education conferences to the US Chamber of Commerce, the TED stage, and the annual meeting of The World Bank. As a translator of ideas and facilitator of dialogue, Dr. Jana is on a mission to unite these worlds in order to change public conversation and understanding about the skills and support needed for our children to succeed and thrive in the 21st Century. Her most recent books, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow and Jumping Into Kindergarten, introduce the fundamentally important concept of QI Skills and convey the powerful role parents, educators, and other caring responsive adults play in children’s healthy development during their foundational first 5 years.
http://www.drlaurajana.com

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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EPISODE 6 - College Behind Bars

On Thursday, June 11 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we presented the sixth LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you missed the LIVE show, we post the edited version here by Monday over the weekend.

Originally, we intended to produce an episode about media's role as an educator, but that was before we started discussing the episode with Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, two names you may recognize from the production credits on numerous Ken Burns documentary series including The Vietnam War, Jazz, Baseball, and The War. And before we knew anything about Jule Hall, currently a program associate with the Ford Foundation's unit for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice.
 
This episode takes a long and careful look at their recent collaboration, College Behind Bars. This four-part series, currently available at no charge to educators and students, raises very big questions about the purpose of education and learning for individuals and for the larger community. It's a project about changing lives, and for that, it answers our original question about the role of media in learning (and, if you like, the role of public media in public learning), but that's only a small part of the big picture. As a rule, communities and nations underestimate the potential of their students and fail to hold everyone to the high standard that they deserve, and desire.
 
Please join us on Thursdays for the live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
 
 
More about this week's guests:
 
5810905288?profile=RESIZE_400xLynn Novick directed and produced College Behind Bars. Novick is an Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been directing and producing films about American history and culture, including The Vietnam War, an immersive, 10-part, 18-hour epic she directed with Ken Burns that aired on PBS in 2017. Novick and Burns have long been creative partners and collaborators and together are responsible for more than 80 hours of programming, including some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS: Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven-part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II. College Behind Bars is the first film she has directed.
5811001874?profile=RESIZE_400xSarah Botstein was the senior producer of College Behind Bars. She has been producing documentaries with Lynn Novick and Ken Burns for over two decades, including The Vietnam War, Prohibition, and The War. Botstein has for more than two decades produced some of the most widely-watched and acclaimed documentaries on PBS. Her work, in collaboration with directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, includes the award-winning epic ten-part series, The Vietnam War (2017), Prohibition (2011), The War (2007) and Jazz (2001). Botstein continues to produce and direct films on the American experience. She is currently directing (along with Burns and Novick) a film that examines the United States' response to the Holocaust and producing a three part-series on Ernest Hemingway and a five-part series on the American Revolution. She will also produce a project on Lyndon Johnson’s life and presidency, scheduled for 2027. In addition to the television broadcasts, Botstein works on digital and education initiatives, in collaboration with PBS Learning Media and WETA-TV. She also helps to produce and curate content for Ken Burns UNUM, a web-based platform employing cutting-edge technology and innovative design to highlight themes in American history.
5811075255?profile=RESIZE_400xJule Hall works as a program associate for the Ford Foundation, developing strategy and analyzing data for grants to advance, gender, racial and ethnic justice. He is the first formerly incarcerated person to be hired full-time by the foundation. Hall was the subject of an article in The New York Times.

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
Read more…
 
This week, we present the first of several big-picture episodes. Here, the basis of all learning is nested in personal curiosity. And, all learning is an individual adventure. That is, you can teach me from morning until night, but I won't learn much unless I am both curious and interested in learning more. Clearly, this small idea runs contrary to the way we have organized the structure of schools because it focuses not on society, but on the individual.
 
Host Howard Blumenthal welcomes Susan Engel, author of one of Howard's favorite books about curiosity, The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood, and Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate Schooll of Education in Australia. As always, we will be joined by two students from the U.S. and elsewhere.
 
Please join us on Thursdays for the live recording, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
 
More about this week's guests:
 
5567522672?profile=RESIZE_400xSusan Engel is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Founding Director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College. She currently serves as the Williams College Gaudino Scholar, a position that creates and promotes opportunities for students to stretch beyond what they are familiar with. She has taught all ages from three-year-olds through college. Her research interests include the development of curiosity, children’s narratives, play, and more generally, teaching and learning. Her current research looks at the development of children’s ideas. Her scholarly work has appeared in journals such as Cognitive Development, Harvard Educational Review, and the American Education Research Journal. She is the author of seven previous books: The Stories Children Tell: Making Sense of the Narratives of Childhood, Context is Everything: The Nature of Memory, Real Kids: Making Sense in Everyday Life, Red Flags or Red Herrings: Predicting Who Your Child Will Become, The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood, The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness (Not Money) Would Transform Our Schools, and most recently, A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student-Run High School, and a New Vision for American Education which she co-wrote with her son Sam. Her writing on education has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, The Huffington Post, and The Boston Globe. Susan is one of the founders of an experimental school in New York State, where she served as an educational advisor for eighteen years. She lives in New Marlborough, Massachusetts with her husband Tom Levin. They have three sons, Jake, Will, and Sam.

 

5567529654?profile=RESIZE_400xYong Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He received his master's in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success (2019) What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education (2018), Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All Children (2018),  Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes(2016), Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015), Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World (2014), Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization (2009)and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (2012).
http://zhaolearning.com

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
Read more…
On Thursday, May 14 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we recorded the fourth LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. We are beginning to move toward a regular release schedule: LIVE on Thursdays, edit the video over the weekend to post by Monday, podcast a day or two later.
 
This week, our topic is the employment of teachers and support staff, and the potential for fewer adults per school building. In the U.S., this is a particularly threatening situation because it builds upon decades of unequal treatment, but the size and depth of the global economic catastrophe provide the necessary ingredients for a long-time nightmare. Then again, this is a time of great opportunity to revise, rethink, and reconsider the best uses of available resources, both locally and globally. As with every episode, there is a larger meta layer--in this case, why the jobs exist in the first place, and whether we are providing nearly 2 billion children and teenagers with the best solutions to the problem of learning.
 
Host Howard Blumenthal welcomes Diane Ravitch, New York University Research Professor in the Dept. of Education, author of 12 books including the recent Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Danger to Our Public Schools; Cindy Cisneros, Vice President of Education Programs at the Committee for Economic Development at The Conference Board; and Gavin Dykes, from England, Managing Director of Cellcove, Ltd. and the Chair and Co-Founder of Education Fast Forward (EFF), which brings together leading global experts and change agents from the world of education. As always, we will be joined by two students from the U.S. and elsewhere.
 
Please join us on Thursdays for the live recording, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
 

 

More about this week's guests:
 
5398748268?profile=RESIZE_400xDr. Diane Ravitch is a Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE). Her blog is dianeravitch.net and has received more than 36 million hits. Her extensive background in education and public policy includes a role as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander under George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards. From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. A leading advocate of conservative ideas for fixing America’s education system, including charter schools, standards, accountability, and high-stakes standardized testing, she began to realize that these policies were not working in 2006-2007. She began to criticize them and to criticize the federal law called “No child left behind.” with the publication of the death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education, she became one of the most outspoken critics of ideas she once championed.

 

5398758666?profile=RESIZE_400xCindy Cisneros is Vice President, Education Programs at the Committee for Economic Development (CED). She is responsible for leading the portfolio of education work, which includes early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary, and workforce development. Ms. Cisneros most recently served as Director of Member Practice at Public Education Network (PEN). In this position, she led strategies for improving the capacity of member local education funds across the country to affect policy change, engage the public, and ensure that all children, especially underserved populations, graduate ready for college and career. Prior to her work at PEN, Ms. Cisneros was a Principal Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Her projects at AIR involved leading state technical assistance support and implementation for college and career readiness, including as Director of Stakeholder Engagement for the National High School Center. Before joining AIR, Ms. Cisneros worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Education and Development Center. Her primary responsibilities were to evaluate school district math and science program quality and the role of teacher leaders and to provide technical assistance to urban school districts on administrative leadership practices. Ms. Cisneros received her BA in political science and economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

5398764082?profile=RESIZE_400xGavin Dykes is a Director of the Education World Forum and the Asian Summit on Education and Skills. These are annual meetings for ministers of education and government policymakers. Gavin’s responsibilities include setting the themes for developing the agenda and negotiating the program. In January 2019, 93 Ministers attended the Education World Forum, and more than 100 countries were represented. Gavin is co-founder and chair of Education Fast Forward’s debates. He also serves on Advisory Boards for Ed-Tech organisations including the University of the People and BoClips and is an advisor to the “Educate – Better Edtech Better Learning” Project in London and Lumiar Schools in Brazil. He has worked in consultancy and advisory roles for the OECD, UNESCO, the World Bank, and for governments, agencies and foundations in countries from Ireland to India, and from Jordan to the US.

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
Read more…
UPDATE: The video is now available, and the podcast will be coming soon.
 
 
 
On Thursday, May 14 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we record the third LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. The recording will be available on our website and on YouTube by early next week, and the audio podcast will be available on our website and on popular podcast services.
 
This week, our topic is distance learning, a phenomenon that has suddenly captivated the world of school and education. Certainly, under the best of circumstances, with the most clever of professionals and parents, distance learning is an ideal short-term solution for students attempting to learn during this global mess. With second and third waves of coronavirus looming for later this year and 2021, along with the very large number of students for whom distance learning is a poor or otherwise unacceptable solution, there are big questions to be asked about how we learn, what we learn and why we learn.
 
Host Howard Blumenthal welcomes Jessica Piotrowski, Associate Professor at The University of Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, and Director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media (CcaM); Monica Goyette, the Superintendent of Schools for the Mat-Su Borough School District in Palmer, Alaska in the U.S.; and David Weinberger, author of Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We're Thriving in a New World of Possibility, and senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. We will be joined by Aiden, a student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 
Please join us for the live recording, or visit www.reinventing.school early next week to watch the recorded edition.
 
More about this week's guests:
 
5222015872?profile=RESIZE_180x180Dr. Monica Goyette became the Superintendent of Schools for the Mat-Su Borough School District in April, 2017. An Alaska educator since 1998, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences, a Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling, a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership/Curriculum & Instruction. Prior to becoming the Superintendent, Dr. Goyette worked as a counselor, teacher, school principal, executive director, and assistant superintendent of instruction. Dr. Goyette’s teaching and educational leadership experiences have shaped her agenda, which has an unwavering focus on student achievement and success. She looks forward to making learning meaningful and lasting for students; using capital assets resourcefully and wisely; and meeting the needs of students, parents, and employees.
https://www.matsuk12.us/domain/4644
5222025277?profile=RESIZE_180x180Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She is the Director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media (CcaM), the Program Group Leader for Youth & Media Entertainment at ASCoR, and recently completed a 4-year term as the Chair of Children, Adolescents, and the Media division of the International Communication Association – the largest academic division of children and media scholars worldwide. An award-winning scholar, Dr. Piotrowski’s research investigates how youth process and comprehend media content, with specific attention to the potential benefits of media. She is particularly focused on understanding how young users process media content (cognitively, affectively, and physiologically) and the role of individual differences (dispositional, developmental, and social) in the selection and processing of media content. In recent years, she has begun to dive deeply into the topic of digital literacy in childhood and adolescence. Dr. Piotrowski frequently speaks at academic and trade conferences on the role of media in the lives of young people today. Moreover, with a strong belief in forging the divide between academic scholarship and societal practice, Dr. Piotrowski often shares her work in higher education classrooms, at public policy organizations, at children’s media organizations, and with childcare providers both within the Netherlands and worldwide. She is the co-author of the book Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth (Yale University Press, 2017), and regularly publishes in communication, psychology, and education journals.
5222037690?profile=RESIZE_180x180Dr. David Weinberger: In books, articles, posts, classes, and talks, David Weinberger, Ph.D. explores the effect of the technology on ideas. He is a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and was co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, and a journalism fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center. Dr. Weinberger has been a marketing VP and adviser to high tech companies, an adviser to presidential campaigns, and a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department. In four books he has explored the effect of the Internet on knowledge, on how we organize our ideas, on business, and on the core concepts by which we think about our world. His new book, Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We're Thriving in a New World of Possibility (Harvard Business Review Press) argues that AI and the Internet are transforming our understanding of how things happen, enabling us to acknowledge the complexity and unknowability of our world. Dr. Weinberger has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto and lives in the Boston area.
http://www.weinberger.org/David

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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Reinventing School - EPISODE 2

Our second episode for any time / anywhere viewing is now available both here and on YouTube. The audio podcasts will follow very soon--we are completing production on both of them this week. Over the next few weeks, we will settle into a regular schedule: new episodes live 4:00 pm Thursdays US-EDT, on-demand versions of each new episode early the following week, along with the podcasts. For more specific information about days, dates, episodes, and important ideas we discover along the way, www.reinventing.school remains the best place for current information.

The topic for the second episode is: "Paying for School: Today & Tomorrow." I thought we would be discussing school and school district budgets. The conversation grew into a much larger conception of how societies succeed and fail. The core: their investment in education. This is the reason for the ascendency of, for example, South Korea and Finland. Sadly, the United States seems to be moving in the opposite direction (please consider this difficult reality when your state, province, or local district decides to cut budgets and lay off teachers and support staff).

Once again, our guests for this episode:

  • Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris
  • Donna Cooper is the Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), the Greater Philadelphia region’s leading child advocacy organization that influences elected officials by combining useful research, practical solution-oriented policy recommendations with the mobilization of citizens who advance the organization’s work on behalf of children.
  • Dr. Lisa D. Cook is a Professor in the Department of Economics and at James Madison College at Michigan State University. As a Marshall Scholar, she received a second B.A. from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Dr. Cook earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets, innovation, and economic history.
  • Nik, an eighth-grader from Weston-super-Mer in England
  • Maya and Noah, brother and sister from Mississaugua, outside Toronto, Canada

Be safe, stay healthy, maintain distance, and make the best of the new realities.

HB

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(We recorded this episode today. We're currently preparing the video for on-demand access. It will be available here in a day or two.)
 
On Thursday, May 14 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we record the second episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING.SCHOOL. Last week, the topic was public health and its impact on school schedules. This week, the topic is money--with the economic troubles brought on by the current pandemic, we want to understand how local and global economics intersects with the education of our children. For more about this subject, see our article about "School Bus Economics" about student transportation in the U.S. in the era of the virus.
 
Host Howard Blumenthal welcomes Andreas Scheicher, Director for Education and Skills, and a member of the OECD Senior Management Team in Paris, France; Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth in the U.S.; and Lisa D. Cook, Professor in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University; along with two students from Canada and one from England. Please join us for the live recording, or visit www.reinventing.school early next week to watch the recorded edition. More about this week's guests:

 

4995437078?profile=RESIZE_400xAndreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. As a key member of the OECD Senior Management team, Mr. Schleicher supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. He promotes the work of the Directorate for Education and Skills on a global stage and fosters co-operation both within and outside the OECD. In addition to policy and country reviews, the work of the Directorate includes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES). Before joining the OECD, Mr. Schleicher was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied Physics in Germany and received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”.  He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

 

4995461687?profile=RESIZE_400xDonna Cooper is the Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), the Greater Philadelphia region’s leading child advocacy organization that influences elected officials by combining useful research, practical solution-oriented policy recommendations with the mobilization of citizens who advance the organization’s work on behalf of children. Prior to PCCY, Cooper was a senior fellow at a respected national think tank, the Center for American Progress, where she led the Center’s research on early childhood education, public infrastructure and was a contributing researcher to the Center’s work to reduce the incidence of poverty. Cooper served as the Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2003–2010 where she was responsible for the state’s education, public supports, environmental and health care policy. While in that position, Cooper led the development of the state’s Cover All Kids program which expanded access to affordable health care to nearly every child in the state. Cooper also led the seven-year effort to boost funding for public education that increased K-12 funding by over $2 billion and designed the state’s groundbreaking school funding formula which was enacted in 2008. In that position, she also helped launch the state’s model approach to investments in early childhood education and increased funding to make college affordable for low income and working-class students while creating one of the nation’s best systems to ensure that community college students can easily transfer credits to four-year colleges.

 

4995321655?profile=RESIZE_400xDr. Lisa D. Cook is a Professor in the Department of Economics and at James Madison College at Michigan State University. As a Marshall Scholar, she received a second B.A. from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Dr. Cook earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets, innovation, and economic history. As a Senior Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the 2011-2012 academic year, Dr. Cook worked on the eurozone, financial instruments, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She is currently Director of the American Economic Association Summer Training Program.

 

4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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Reinventing School - EPISODE 1

We're pleased to present our first complete episode for any time / anywhere viewing. We record new episodes at 4:00 pm Thursdays US-EDT. A short time later, we post the hour-long video on YouTube, and also on this web page. We're adding an audio podcast to the mix; when that begins, we'll announce it on this web page. The first episode features:

Ezekiel J. Emanuel,the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and Co-Director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania;

Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO;

Sonja Brookins Santelises, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools;

and West Virginia middle school student Lyric Lee Taylor.

Together with host Howard Blumenthal, they discuss the next 12 months of school, both in the U.S and worldwide. Guest biographies appear in the article below.

 

 

 

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School Bus Economics

(Tomorrow, we produce Episode 2: Paying for School Today and Tomorrow. I wrote this article to prepare for that episode.)

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More than most countries, the United States relies upon school buses for student transportation. There’s a fleet of nearly a half-million buses assigned to the job. Other countries rely, to varying degrees, upon a combination of school and public transportation for students, but many of the ideas in this article apply worldwide.

In the U.S., there are about 480,000 active school buses. Estimates vary, but they seem to carry between 1/3 and 1/2 of public school students and many private school students as well. Many of these buses travel multiple routes per day. This is a story about economics and the surprising impact of transportation on school budgets in the Corona and post-Corona era.

Basically, there are four types of school buses. Type A and Type B are smaller buses, Type D is very large (similar to a public transit bus), and Type C (“conventional”) is the model you most often see on the road. A Type C bus can seat as many as 75-80 students, but sitting three-across on a bench seat is neither fun nor suitable for the current era. It’s more comfortable to sit two-per-bench; assume 13 benches on each side of the bus, or 52 students sitting two-by-two.

Now, change your thinking. Two-by-two no longer works. Not at all. A bus that carried 52 students in 2019 could carry 26 students in 2020, but that would place students in every bus seat. I suspect they will require more space between them; alternating rows may be safer. That would reduce the carriage to 13 students per trip.

If students do not attend school every day, but instead adhere to a Monday-Wednesday (group A) and Tuesday-Thursday (group B) schedule, there will be continued chaos for parents and continued struggles with conducting school at home, but this approach would cut the need for bus transportation in half. If 26 students are traveling by bus, that could work, but if 13 students are traveling on those buses, we’ll need twice as many vehicles, and twice as many drivers (there is a continuing problem with driver shortages, so this will not be easy from a budget and recruitment perspective).

Typically, it takes about 30 minutes to clean a school bus. The treatment requires two passes, first to clean, then to disinfect. I’m guessing this occurred once or twice a day, but now, it must be done every time the bus is used. If a single bus does three runs, in each direction, that’s six cleanings per day—and the cleanings must be more intensive than before, probably requiring an inspection before the next run can begin. If those cleanings require, say, 60 minutes to do the job properly, that’s a full-time job for one person to clean one bus per day. If the cleanings can be done, safely, in 30 minutes per day, that’s still 240,000 new jobs for people who clean buses. It also messes with school schedules (which will probably be revamped anyway), and with 8-hour driver shifts (which will result in greater expense). If we pay each cleaning person $20 per hour (because the work is hazardous and because the lives of our children are at stake), and they work for 30 hours per week (4 days x 6 hours, plus organizational chores), that’s $600 per week, plus (I hope) 25% taxes and benefits, for a total of $750 per week for, say, 40 weeks in the school year, multiplied by 240,000 people. The annual expense would be $7.2 billion in the U.S.

If we really do need twice as many school buses, and a good used bus costs about $40K, that’s 450,000 buses x $40K, or $18,000,000,000 ($18 billion, a capital investment in 10-15 years of service). We also need twice as many drivers, at perhaps $50K per year per driver including taxes and benefits, or $22,500,000,000 ($22.5 billion annually). And we haven’t yet budgeted for fuel and maintenance.

In many countries, students travel to school on public buses and trains. Daily schedules are enhanced during to-from school hours. These vehicles would require a similar regimen, made more complicated by the lack of control—it’s not only students who travel these routes, but it’s also adults who may be less likely to submit to rigid rules.

Are people in the U.S. prepared to spend $50 billion within the next 12 months for safety in school busing? Even though the benefit is provided to half (or perhaps a third) of school children? Even if my numbers are wildly incorrect—and I hope you will offer corrections in the comments box below—they may be indicative of a broader scope of thinking about school economics.

Why focus on school buses? In the U.S., school transportation seems to account for about 5% of budgets, and it’s likely to increase. I suspect there is a similar line of thinking to be applied to teachers and to support personnel. For teachers, a Monday-Wednesday / Tuesday-Thursday split schedule might result in no additional effort (seems unlikely, but let’s go with that assumption), but the students working at home on those alternate days will require support. Ideally, there would be teachers in the classroom and teachers available to assist with home instruction, or, at least support staff. If we take the time to run the numbers—an exercise many districts and government agencies are beginning to pursue—it seems likely that Randi Weingarten’s initial estimate of a 20-25% increase would be correct.

For districts and government agencies who believe that this is the time for cutting school budgets, there is rethinking to be done. And reinvention.

--Howard Blumenthal 

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Gjerdingen - Flickr: Blue Bird School Bus - Creative Commons license

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I'm pleased to announce a new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, "REINVENTING.SCHOOL," being held live on Thursdays at 4:00 pm US-EDT and hosted by Howard Blumenthal. Howard's guests this week are Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former Obama White House Health Policy Adviser, and Vice Provost of Global Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania.

ABOUT HOWARD:

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Howard Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari and other companies.

THIS WEEK'S GUESTS:

randi.jpeg Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for students, their families and communities. The AFT and its members advance these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through members’ work.

Z%2BEmanuel%2Bheadshot.pngEzekiel J. Emanuel is the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and Co-Director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. From January 2009 to January 2011, Dr. Emanuel served as a Special Advisor on Health Policy to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and National Economic Council.  Prior to that he was the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health from 1997 to August of 2011. Dr. Emanuel received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Harvard University. He has published over 300 articles mainly on health care reform, research ethics, and end of life care.  He has also authored or edited 15 books. He is working on a book entitled Which Country Has the World’s Best Health Care? Dr. Emanuel is the most widely cited bioethicist in history.<

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Sonja Brookins Santelises is the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. Previously, she served as the vice president for K-12 policy and practice at The Education Trust, providing strategic direction for the organization’s K-12 research, practice, and policy work. Before joining The Education Trust, Sonja was the chief academic officer for Baltimore City Public Schools. Sonja came to Baltimore City Schools from Boston, where she served as assistant superintendent for pilot schools and assistant superintendent for teaching and learning/professional development.

Sonja began her career in education as director of professional development and teacher placement with Teach for America, New York, followed by stints at a year-round school in Brooklyn where she was a founder, teacher, and curriculum specialist. She holds a bachelor of arts from Brown University, a master of arts in education administration from Columbia University, and a doctor of education in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard.

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Welcome to Reinventing.School

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By my count, roughly one in three of earth’s 7.8 billion people are children or teenagers, and roughly half of them are enrolled in school. Enrollment, attendance, and completion rates continue to increase, but an almost unimaginable change has occurred. Now, more than a billion young people, and a hundred million teachers and other professionals, must think differently about learning, school, and education.

This is a problem for every individual student and family, for communities and schools and school districts, for colleges and universities, and for the public good. Reinvention must occur in real-time, in the midst of an international economic mess, with deep unknowns about public health, safety, and our pandemic future.

We cannot stop in order to develop, test, and perfect a plan. We must continue to provide an education to well over a billion people, and we cannot rely upon parents, grandparents, and siblings to carry much of the load. There is no single solution because every student is unique, and available resources vary widely. And yet, we must make it work. Every stakeholder must develop his, her, or their own solution.

Reinventing.School provides a structure, a means to think clearly and see the big picture. It is a place where experts gather to address real-world plans, timelines, and possible solutions to extraordinarily challenging problems. It is a new weekly web television series, live on Zoom Thursdays at 4 PM (eastern time), available on-demand a day later on Vimeo and YouTube.

We’ve started this blog to provide information about every Reinventing.School episode, every guest, related links to books and articles and other videos, and occasional written commentary. This is our web headquarters for Reinventing.School, and we hope you will find it useful.

It’s exciting to begin this new adventure. Thank you for joining us on the journey. Please tell your family, friends, and colleagues that a new game has begun and that our intended outcome is a big win for every student on earth.

-Howard

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ABOUT THE SHOW

Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.