The Best Of Our Knowledge | WAMC

The Best Of Our Knowledge

Fridays, 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Produced and hosted by radio veteran Bob Barrett, this show examines education from the classroom to state education departments. Bob interviews various educators about the subjects they teach, and will, every now and again, throw in a surprise, like speaking to the family behind "Dracula."

Twitter: @TBOOKnowledge

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American colleges and universities are sometimes called ivory towers, self-contained communities with high minded ideals. But they are still run by people, and people can be pretty awful sometimes. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a pair of researchers who say there are growing cracks in higher ed’s ivory tower.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with parity in the potty.

UAlbany

A celebrated educator who once led the University at Albany, New York passed away this month. She also co-hosted this program for about a decade. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we remember Dr. Karen Hitchcock.

You can find some of Dr. Hitchcock's commentaries for WAMC here.

We’ll also have a conversation about freedom of speech on campus with the president of a college in Massachusetts…and we’ll spend an Academic Minute trying to define meat.

A pair of researchers traveled the country to find an innovative high school that engaged their students. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn what they found and how they say the U.S. school system can be remade.

We’ll also look at the future of common core and spend an Academic Minute with adults and kids and their thoughts on religion.

One of the biggest challenges a new doctor faces comes right at the beginning: medical school. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about continuing education with a doctor who changed from a traditional to an alternative approach.

We’ll also meet the new leader of a literacy program, grow a summer school garden, and spend an Academic Minute at the farmer’s market.

The longtime president of a northern New York university is calling it quits and looking back on the changes he’s worked through. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, an exit interview from SUNY Plattsburgh.

For those of you keeping score at home, we’re celebrating a little anniversary today. This is the 1500th edition of The Best of Our Knowledge. That's over 28 years of TBOOK fun! To celebrate, we’re looking back in our archives, and up to the sky. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk with Dr. Paul Sutter about cosmic voids, a whole lot of nothing in space.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute exploring hundreds of small planets.

The SAT will soon feature a new score, your adversity index. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about what this means for college admissions.

We’ll also learn about school based health centers, talk to some robots with vision and spend an Academic Minute preventing someone from hacking into your DNA.

We hear a lot about young people achieving early success. But is that putting pressure on all the non-prodigies out there. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about students who are late bloomers.

We’ll also find some free meals for kids in summer and spend an Academic Minute looking for affordable child care.

I think we can agree that working for social change takes passion, and Bettina Love has that and more. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to Dr. Love about abolitionist teaching, both in and out of the classroom.

We’ll also open up a time capsule and spend an Academic Minute with women in politics.

James Minichello AASA for Education Writers Association

One of the president’s most controversial appointments to his cabinet has become one of his longest tenured. Next time on the Best of Our Knowledge, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute making a decision. I’m Bob Barrett…that’s this week on The Best of Our Knowledge.

After decades of visiting and evaluating schools across the country, one education researcher has some ideas. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about preparing yesterday’s schools for tomorrow’s students.

We’ll also get into the debate over school start times, and spend an Academic Minute getting some tech into the classroom.

alz dot com

Dementia can take a life of learning and memories and toss them away forever. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about dementia with the Alzheimer’s Association and a physician who became a caregiver.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with the science of learning.

University of Florida

Teachers around the world looking for new ways to reach more students have found one…right on their lap tops. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how a Florida university is planning to use SKYPE in the Classroom.

We’ll also learn some history about Notre Dame Cathedral, and spend an Academic Minute running out of scientists.

teacher on trial dot com

The longest and most expensive trial in the history of the state of Georgia had nothing to do with robbery, rape or murder. It involved teachers, erasers and a whole lot of history. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to one of the teachers convicted in the scandal.

Follow Shani's appeal at teacher on trial dot com.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute becoming political consumers.

Early this year, Jordan Taylor Hill traveled to Senegal and Guinea to expand his musical training. It wasn’t the first time his passion for drumming took him to West Africa. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear his story.

We’ll also hear about a foreign student trying to navigate dating in the US, and spend an Academic Minute searching for long lost languages.

Is academic freedom under attack in American colleges and universities?

Next time on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about academic freedom and how it’s not the same a freedom of speech.

We’ll also hear about a student economic tour of Asia, and spend an Academic Minute bemoaning the pay gap between men and women.

I’m Bob Barrett…that’s this week on The Best of Our Knowledge.

When it comes to teaching young people about race relations and racism, children of color get the talk at a much younger age.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll discuss the need for educating all children, of all races, about the way we interact in a diverse society.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with historic artwork depicting African American farmers.

I have a large stack of books on my desk right now, and I’m looking forward to reading through them and reporting back to you on what one or two of them have to say. So for now, let’s talk about one that I read about this time last year.

The way we tell stories has been a constantly changing part of human history. New inventions and writing technologies like paper, the printing press, even the book itself have shaped that history, affecting religion, politics and commerce. And those innovations continue.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Politicians and pundits start accusing teachers of being socialists and indoctrinating students into their nefarious way of thinking, and demand an investigation. This actually happened in New York just before the start of the Second World War and it is now seen as the seed that gave birth to McCarthyism after the war.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll look back at that investigation and how it ripped through the school system.

Without coffee, the entire educational system would collapse. Sure, that may sound like hyperbole, but if you’ve ever sat through an 8 am chemistry lecture on a Monday morning you’d be nodding in agreement right now. The fact is coffee has become engrained not only in American, but around the world as our go to pick-me-up of choice. And some coffee sellers travel the world to find the perfect bean.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll about the travels of a fair trade coffee merchant and his decades of combining environmental activism and caffeine.

You may have noticed, but in the last few months we’ve been talking a lot about history. It’s not because it was my favorite class (spoiler alert – it was). But it’s because out of all the academic classes and programs, history has the best stories. Now, a life long professor of history has turned his research on himself and has written about his life in history.

It’s kind of hard to describe what it feels like walking through New Orleans to someone who has never been there. But according to a newly published history, if you want to understand New Orleans, watch a few of its funerals.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the Crescent City with a New Orleans native who has just written a character driven history of one of America’s great cities.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute trying to recreate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

NASA

Artificial intelligence is no longer a theory or a science fiction plot. It is all around us and most of us use it every day.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a new national commission on artificial intelligence, and how ethical questions about its use start and end with us, the humans.

Then we’ll talk to a film maker who, in her latest project, travels around the world listening to people’s stories about climate change. You can watch those films HERE.

Over 20 years ago, a sociology professor named James Loewen wrote and book that had people taking a closer look at the history that we thought we knew. Now, with over 2 million copies sold, that book is still significant and changing the way teachers teach.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll take another look at the book Lies My Teacher Told Me. And get a closer look at another of Loewen’s books that detailed a very specific and prevalent form of American racism.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute comparing how different communities react to hardship.

Roxanne Turpen for NPR

For six days last month, about 600 thousand students had their school days turned upside down as teachers in the Los Angeles school district went on strike. That follows a number of other labor actions by teachers last year.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the teacher’s labor movement kin the US.

Then we’ll head to New York State, where a new program is helping some students with autism succeed in school, and a university is trying to evict a photography club from its darkroom.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute with scary movies.

caryjgreen.com

Much to the frustration of their parents and teachers, there are some truly brilliant young people out there who are just terrible students.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll listen again to our talk with a veteran educator about what it takes to develop the skills that help a student learn how to learn.

Then we’ll head to New York State, where the new Democratic majority in the state legislature has voted to give college tuition assistance to the children of undocumented immigrants.

Bob Barrett

A great way to understand the history of a region and its people is to study their music. And in Mississippi, that music is the blues.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the Mississippi Blues Trail, and how it traces the history of this uniquely American genre of music from its roots around the state to cities around the world.

While attending school at every level, everyone has their own special, personal relationship with math. For some it’s fear and loathing. For others calm acceptance. There are even some students who see it as love at first sight. But a popular math blogger has a more practical approach.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to that blogger who is also the author of a new book about living with the subject called Math with Bad Drawings.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute reducing the stress in your life by trying a little forgiveness.

Being a kid ain’t what it used to be. And no, I’m not saying that in a ‘all you kids get off my lawn” kind of way. It’s just a fact. So how can parents and teachers deal with students who have grown up with wi-fi and technology and screens? It’s not that they’re not trying. 

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk the new childhood, and how to help young students thrive in a connected world.

Then we’ll hear about a New York school that has a very different way to get books in student’s hands.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute tracking the different critters that may be living in your water.

The relationship between politicians and scientists in the US has always been complicated…and that was especially true during the cold war.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the cold war struggle for the soul of science.

Then we’ll hear how laptops have become standard equipment in college classrooms across the country, and how using that technology in that setting isn’t always a good thing.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute exploring the intersection of STEM and the humanities.

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