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The Crisis in Education Podcast
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The Crisis in Education Podcast

Author: Professional Crisis Management Association

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Educators are the backbone of our nation, and education is its lifeblood. But because of a number of issues exacerbated by politics and the pandemic, it is progressively faltering. From teacher shortages and failing schools to growing mental health issues, there is an undeniable growing crisis in Education at the individual, classroom, and school level. Though painful, with the right approaches, crises can be leveraged as an opportunity for growth. Therefore, Dr. Paul "Paulie" Gavoni and Drew Carter are co-hosting the Crisis in Education Podcast, where Education meets Behavior Science, to interview educational leaders, behavior scientists, and experts around the world to dissect the root causes of crisis issues and explore potential opportunities for sustainable improvement across schools and districts. [Sponsored by the Professional Crisis Management Association -]
25 Episodes
Policies provide guidelines for the operation of a particular system, especially one that has a hierarchical structure. Education, perhaps the most important system in our nation, is no different.  Good policy guides decision making. No policy makes decision-making unreliable and sporadic.  And bad policies do way more harm than good.  And policy is just the start.  What happens after the policy is in place is what is the most important. In this episode,  Dr. Darleen Opfer discusses the importance of policies and provides perspective on how stakeholders can improve them.  About Dr. OpferDarleen began her career as a special education teacher in Florida and then Virginia. After earning her Ph.D. in education policy at the University of Virginia, she became a professor of education policy. She served in that role at Georgia State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Cambridge. Throughout her career, her focus has been on using evidence to improve schools for low-income and minority students.In 2011 she joined RAND as Director of RAND Education. In October 2018 she was promoted to Vice President and became Director of the RAND Education and Labor Research Division; she also holds the Distinguished Chair in Education Policy. As the leader of RAND Education and Labor's staff of more than 200 experts from a wide range of disciplines, she is responsible for all aspects of divisional management including business development, financial and strategic planning, staff development, ensuring quality standards, and dissemination of research findings. 
Education is in crisis, and behavior analysts possess the most powerful toolbox in the world for making a positive difference for students, teachers, and educational leaders everywhere. In this podcast,  Andrew Houvouras discusses some of the struggles of working in education as a behavior analyst and potential solutions for overcoming a number of common obstacles.  Andrew is a Behavior Analyst with a long history of assessing and treating severe and challenging behavior in education. He has also supervised 40 individuals seeking board certification. Beyond education, Andrew counts behavioral medicine, ABA in autism populations, supervision and mentorship, and broader dissemination of ABA among his most invested interests. A regular presenter at local, state, and international conferences, Andrew also develops continuing education courses and publishes on such topics. In addition, his far-reaching care for and dedication to the science of behavior were evident during his 2018-2019 term as president of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis.
A lack of social connection is hurting many.  In this informative chat, MIT graduate and CEO of Yellowdig, Shaunak Roy, discusses the negative impact of a failure to have social connections. He also proposes a potentially scalable solution for increasing social connection across education.To learn more about Yellowdig, please visit or request a demo here: Twitter: Email: learnmore@yellowdig.comLinkedIn: YellowdigSome of the studies mentioned in the podcast:A peer-reviewed study published a yearlong study using Yellowdig data in the Online Learning Journal (Official Journal of the OLC) saying great things about our platform.- Link to Efficacy study with Arizona State University's EdPlus team.- why? Highlights how the Yellowdig platform positively impacts class grade and completion outcomes, using behavioral and grade data from over 20,000 online students.   - Link to Efficacy study in collaboration with Bryan University.- why? Compares synchronous and asynchronous strategies and overall impact on student engagement, retention, and learning outcomes  
In this episode, Dr. Paulie chats with Dr. Carl Binder about the use of Applied Behavior Analysis and Organizational Behavior Management for making a positive difference in schools.  Dr. Carl Binder began as a doctoral student in Experimental Psychology, attending Harvard University at the invitation of B.F. Skinner, whose writings had inspired him deeply. With an interest in making a societal contribution, he rapidly shifted from basic research to real-world application of behavior science, first developing innovative instructional methods and teacher training for educators, and later contributing to the emerging field of human performance technology in large organizations.  With input from many extraordinary teachers and colleagues, Carl has spent over 40 years bringing his enthusiasm for behavior science into corporations, schools, and public organizations worldwide.  Founder of four consulting firms, recipient of career awards from the American Psychological Association,  the International Society for Performance Improvement, and the Organizational Behavior Management Network, prolific author and speaker, Carl believes that the Performance Thinking Network is his best opportunity yet for making a contribution.  His ability to synthesize information from multiple fields, communicate complex ideas in plain English to non-specialists, and build excitement about making a difference with behavior science brings an intellectual and emotional spark-plug to The Performance Thinking Network.Carl was recently awarded the Thomas F. Gilbert Distinguished Professional Achievement AwardIf you are interested in learning from Dr. Binder, check out his Performance Thinking Summer Institute where you'll have the opportunity to learn about leadership, management, systems, and leveraging the science of human behavior to produce important results while making a positive difference in any workplace.
Principal, Faythe Redenburg, and Guidance Counselor, Cyntrell Legette, lead and support students and educators in alternative schools.  Like many educators, they are witnessing increased mental health issues, not just with students.  In this episode, we discuss the growing mental health challenges and reflect on some potential solutions for helping children and adults overcome them.Training Discussed in EpisodeEveryDay BehaviorTools Instructor TrainingACT Articles Discussed in EpisodeWe must ACT to Imrpove Mental Health in Schools, Organizations, and LifeThe ACT Matrix:  A Scalable Tool for Improving Mental Health in Schools
It is now common knowledge that school leaders are critical to staff performance and the resulting student achievement. Some research has found that a school leader can be responsible for up to 25% of student achievement. Unfortunately, the field of education is having a very hard time keeping school leaders around. According to the Hechinger Report, nearly 30% of principals leading "troubled" schools leave every year, and half of all principals leave their job inside of 5 years. Being a school leader is a tough job, especially in alternative schools. Make no mistake, school leaders want to be successful.  Telling school leaders to be better or pointing the finger at them is only serving to increase their attrition rate. In this episode, former Prinicpal and Behavior Analyst, Larry Brashear, gets to heart of the matter when discussing the core elements to being successful in alternative schools.
In a recent video posted by CBS, Sheriff Wayne Ivey of Brevard County in Florida had some pretty strong words aimed at students who were misbehaving.  “They know nothing is going to happen to them,” Ivey said. “They know they’re not going to be given after-school detention, they’re not going to be suspended, they’re not going to be expelled, or like in the old days, they’re not going to have the cheeks of their ass torn off for not doing right in class.” Now, while some of his comments may seem outrageous, they are getting to the heart of an extremely important issue that is plaguing our schools: the growing frequency and intensity of behavioral challenges.   But what is at the root of these challenges?  Can it be fixed?  If so, what are some potential solutions?  And what role should punishment or law enforcement play? Check out this episode as Dr. Paulie interviews former public education teacher, behavior analyst, university professor, educational consultant, and best-selling author, Anika Costa.
Some research has found that 1 person, the school leader, can impact student achievement by up to 34%.  Unforutnately, school leadership is one of the most difficult leadership positions in the country. Consequently, a number of school leaders struggle. In this episode Dr. Paulie and Drew take a look at school leadership and science based strategies for bringing out the best in faculty, staff and students with school principal and behavior analyst Dr. Bruce Tinor.  
Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling, or CABAS,  was originated to develop a science of teaching. Their first credo was to develop schools based entirely on the use of scientific procedures for classroom management, pedagogy, curriculum design, staff training, and parent education. Moreover, the second credo of their educational model was to make education learner driven.   Check out this very engaging discussion on CABAS with Dr. Jessica Neu. She was so knowledgable and such a pleasure to learn from! CABAS ArticleThe Shame of American Education VideoProject Follow Through
Organizational behavior management (OBM) is the application of the science of human behavior to individuals and groups in business, industry, government, and human service settings.  Dr. John Austin is an internationally recognized expert in providing behavior-based solutions to organizational challenges using OBM. He is founder of Reaching Results, a consultancy for management, motivation, leadership, and safety. Dr. Austin was a Professor of Psychology at Western Michigan University. He has consulted with organizations for 20 years to improve productivity and safety in various industries including:Aviation Health care and hospitalsChemical Higher educationConstruction Public accommodationsFood service TransportationGlass and plastics manufacturing UtilitiesGovernment RetailJohn has experience in occupational safety, motivation, performance measurement, leadership development, coaching, and organizational change management. In the area of improving human performance he has published nearly 100 articles and chapters, delivered over 200 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences, and has published three books, Organizational Change, Handbook of Applied Behavior Analysis, and Mindfulness at Work. Specialties: I specialize in leadership, coaching, safety, and behavioral science in business, including performance improvement, performance management, organizational behavior management, and behavior-based safety.
In this episode, Dr. Jonathan Tarbox discusses an approach for addressing mental health issues in education called Acceptance Commitment Training, or ACT.  ACT is a very practical but well-researched behavioral approach that can help students and educators  better recognize and overcome internal and external challenges and move them towards their values.  Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D, is the Program Director of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program at the University of Southern California, as well as Director of Research at FirstSteps for Kids. Dr. Tarbox is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Behavior Analysis in Practice and serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals related to autism and behavior analysis. He has published four books on autism treatment, is the Series Editor of the Elsevier book series Critical Specialties in Treating Autism and Other Behavioral Challenges, and an author of well over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in scientific texts.  His research focuses on behavioral interventions for teaching complex skills to individuals with autism, applications of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) inside of applied behavior analysis, and applications of applied behavior analysis to issues of diversity and social justice. Download his vitae here. Email Dr. Tarbox here. Visit Dr. Tarbox's Google Scholar profile here. 
Dr.  Alice Shillingsburg, Director of the Integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Munroe-Meyer Institute, received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Auburn University and completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Marcus Autism Center. She previously served as the Director of the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center and was Associate Professor at Emory University in the Division of Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities.Dr. Shillingsburg is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at the doctoral level. Her clinical expertise includes the development of language and behavioral programming to address a variety of behavioral difficulties and social communication deficits associated with autism and other developmental disabilities. Dr. Shillingsburg has published over 45 empirical papers on interventions for children with developmental disabilities. She is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and an editorial board member for Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. She is a a former Associate Editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.
To truly be trauma informed in schools or any organization, the principles of TIC need to be embedded into the culture. And when we say culture, what it really boils down to is shared behavior.  It’s all about behavior.  But if you look through the literature, or if you look under the hood of too many self-proclaimed TIC organizations, these principles are not mined down to the behavior of the people at each level in the organization.   Since it all comes back to behavior, Dr. Paulie and Drew take a look at the idea of Trauma Informed Care in Education through a Behavioral Lens. 
Robert H. Horner, PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Special Education at the University of Oregon. His research has focused on applied behavior analysis, positive behavior support, multi-tiered instructional systems, equity in education, and systems change. Since the 1990s, Dr. Horner has worked with Dr. George Sugai to develop and implement schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS).  In our chat we talk about the purpose and history of PBIS.  Be sure to subscribe to the Crisis in Education Podcast to hear the entire episode.  For more on Dr. Horner check out some of his academic work here! 
In this episode Dr. Paulie discusses the need for punishment, a number of issues associated with it, what conditions need to be in place for it to be successful.
In this episode of the Crisis in Education Podcast, Behavior Analyst and Author, Steve Ward, discusses the issues associated with too many students in one classroom.If you are interested in Steve's work, be sure to pick up a copy of one of his books on Amazon.  Here is a link to one that will get you going! Also, if you are interested in Steve's services, click here for more information.
In this episode, accomplished behavior analyst Dr. Keith Storey discusses PBIS and punishment in education. Here is the list of contact information, videos and books if you are interested in checking out some of Dr. Storey's work.Amazon Author Page: Goodreads Author Page: page: page: Play: Instagram: keith.storey.books. Facebook: keith.storey.books.Videos on Instruction, Positive Behavior Supports, Transition, and other topics  at“Systematic Instruction of Functional Skills for Students and Adults with Disabilities” which is available at“Case Studies for Positive Behavior Supports in Classrooms and Schools” which is available at“Case Studies for Inclusion in Education:  Strategies and Guidelines for Educating Students with Disabilities in the General Education Environment” which is available at second edition of the book “Positive Behavior Supports for Adults with Disabilities in Employment, Community, and Residential Settings: Practical Strategies that Work” which is available at“Case Studies in Transition and Employment for Students and Adults with Disabilities” which is now available at“Case Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis for Students and Adults with Disabilities” which is available at as one of the best 30 books on Applied Behavior Analysis at 3rd edition of the book “The Road Ahead: Transition to Adult Life for Persons with Disabilities” which is available at 3rd edition of the book “Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior: A Practical Handbook" is available at second edition of the book “Positive Behavior Supports in Classrooms and Schools: Effective and Practical Strategies for Teachers and other Service Providers” available at
In this episode of the Crisis in Education Podcast, Psychologist and Author, Dr. Daniel Franklin, discusses the issues associated with too many students in one classroom.  He also introduces us to the concept of microschools.  We've placed a link below for more information so you can further explore the concept yourself.If you are interested in Dr. Franklin's work, be sure to pick up a copy of his book Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities ( Fanklin's LinkedInMicroschools:
In this episode of the Crisis in Education Podcast, professor, 2021 Top Educational Influencer, Richard Byrne, discusses stress on teachers and provides practical solutions for lessening it through simple technology that makes a teacher's job easier!If you are interested in free tech for teachers, check out Richards website out his YouTube Channel with 1000's of helpful videos!You can connect with Richard on LinkedIn here
In this episode of the Crisis in Education Podcast, professor, former educational leader, and behavior analyst, Dr. Nasiah Cirincione Ulezi, Ed.D., BCBA , shares a concrete strategy she calls Forward Thinking.  This approach helps students, including those with disabilities, better plan for and navigate education to achieve socially valued outcomes following their K-12 experience.  If you are interested in contacting Dr. Ulezi, email her at  In the show there was talk about diversifying the socioeconomic make up of schools.  We encourage you to dive into the research yourself, but here is a link that summarizes many of the benefits along with article that provides some other important insights.
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