DiscoverTesting America's Freedom
Testing America's Freedom
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Testing America's Freedom

Author: NWEA

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Want a deep dive into the history of equity and public schooling in the U.S.? Education policy expert and former elementary school principal Dr. Aaliyah Samuel is your guide through revealing discussions with education experts across the US examining the history of race and education. Topics include impacts of desegregation, school funding, testing, curriculum, and much more. Subscribe for a one-of-a-kind look at the problems and possibilities of education in America. Covering history from the 1950's through now, Testing America’s Freedom looks at policies put in place to perpetuate inequities based on race as well as discussing urgent solutions needed for schools and students in the wake of COVID19. The first episode features Dr. Samuel’s moving introduction to the topic, including her life-changing meeting with Civil Rights hero Minnijean Brown-Trickey and a look at a devastating artifact of racial prejudice, the Charlottesville Letter. The series concludes with an inspiring conversation with a group of student leaders from two different states.This limited podcast series was produced by NWEA, a leader in education research and pioneer in adaptive assessments. To find out more about our work, visit nwea.org.
5 Episodes
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Our journey concludes with a look towards the future: an inspiring conversation with a group of youth activists who tell their stories and establish a visionary call to action for education leaders and policymakers across the country. We talk to the students about their lived experiences in and out of school, role of student advocacy, and the growing collective impact of youth. In addition to these youth leaders, we are joined by Dr. Gregory Hutchings Jr., superintendent at an urban school system, and Dr. Mary Earick, Dean of the School of Education at NMHU.
Our education system is at an inflection point, and as COVID-19 makes us reconsider the best ways to teach students, we must also consider how assessment and accountability need to shift toward a more modern structure. Dr. Samuel speaks with Thomas Toch, director of education policy think tank FutureEd, and Jason Mendenhall, who leads the development of innovative statewide assessments at NWEA.We talk about the future of assessment and the evolution of accountability systems, and how the pandemic has created urgency and opportunity for change. 
The truth about education in this country can be hard to stomach. In this episode, we go on a journey through the history of education policy in the United States, challenging beliefs about teachers of color and the outcomes of students of color. Dr. Samuel’s guests are Dr. Lea Austin with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Child Care Employment; Dr. Lynn Wright, principal of Oakridge Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia; Dr. Wayne Lewis, dean of the school of education at Belmont University in Nashville; and LaTanya Pattillo, teacher advisor to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
No two schools are the same, and the root of their differences is unequal funding, altering the outcomes and life trajectories for many students—particularly those of color—for generations. Dr. Samuel speaks to Jason Willis from the Comprehensive School Assistance Program (CSAP) at WestEd and Daniel Thatcher from the National Conference of State Legislators about the history of school finance, how wealth widens the education achievement gap, and what policymakers need to do now to improve outcomes for students who need the most support.  
Lifelong educator Dr. Aaliyah Samuel invites you to join her on a journey deep into the lesser-known history of laws and policies that have perpetuated and exacerbated racial inequities within America’s education system. In the first episode, we start with the personal and the profound: a meeting with Minnijean Brown-Trickey, a civil rights hero who was one of the Little Rock 9, and Dr. Samuel’s encounter with the Charlottesville letter, a disturbing document that reveals the persistent evils of segregation. From these two crucial moments begins the series-long discussion on matters of inequality and education past, present, and future. 
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