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Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education
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Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education

Author: David Cocheo and Kevin Wheeler

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Kevin and David are former public school teachers who are dedicated to sharing the truth about what happens behind the scenes of public education in the U.S. today.
There is a lot of talk about a teacher shortage however, the truth behind the fourth wall tells a different story. Together, with the help of expert guests, Kevin and David explore the ugly truths our public education system hides from the public as they continue to expose the Teacher Retention Issue the media has named a teacher shortage.
David and Kevin are experienced educators with full knowledge of the inner workings of the U.S. public education system. Kevin taught in Southern California and David taught in New York City for over 20 years. Together they explore the systemic failure of the U.S. public school system and offer solutions backed by decades of real world classroom experience.
Join them every Sunday night as they continue to expose the Teacher Retention Issue plaguing our public schools.

Visit our website for education news and more information about the podcast and its creators: www.bfwpe.com
37 Episodes
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On this episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education, Kevin and David delve into the complexities of textbook adoption in education, highlighting the challenges and limitations of traditional textbooks. They explore the impact of regional differences, historical revisionism, digitalization, and the role of teachers in the adoption process. The conversation continues about the challenges and complexities of the education system, particularly focusing on the issues surrounding textbooks and their impact on teaching and learning. This episode highlights the lack of teacher input, the shift towards standardized testing, the need for more interactive and visual learning materials, and the diminishing depth and relevance of textbooks in the modern classroom.TakeawaysTextbooks often arrive late and may contain outdated information, making it difficult to facilitate student learning.Textbooks vary in their alignment with the curriculum, leading to a hit or miss situation for teachers.The political nature of textbook adoption perpetuates regional differences and stereotypes in education.Textbooks are losing significance due to digitalization, regional biases, and the increasing availability of information online.Teachers play a limited role in the textbook adoption process, leading to challenges in curriculum alignment and content relevance. Textbooks lack depth and relevance in the modern classroom, leading to disengagement and limited learning opportunities for students.The education system needs to prioritize teacher input and involvement in the development and selection of learning materials, including textbooks.There is a growing need for more interactive and visual learning materials to engage students and enhance the learning experience.The shift towards standardized testing has had a significant impact on the use and relevance of textbooks in the classroom, leading to challenges for both teachers and students.
Teacher Appreciation Week is often seen as lacking authenticity and genuine appreciation. Many teachers feel that it is just window dressing and lip service from administrators. The timing of Teacher Appreciation Week, at the end of the school year, is seen as convenient but also a busy and stressful time for teachers. Some teachers feel that they receive more appreciation from their students and parents on a daily basis. There is a need for more meaningful gestures of appreciation, such as acknowledging teachers' accomplishments or providing bonuses.The lack of funding and the decline of parental involvement in schools contribute to the perceived lack of genuine appreciation. The conversation explores the disconnect between parents and teachers in the education system. There is a lack of involvement and apathy from both parties, which has led to a decline in enrollment and a decrease in teacher appreciation. Teacher Appreciation Week is seen as a superficial gesture that does not address the systemic issues in education. The conversation highlights the need for meaningful appreciation throughout the year and the importance of recognizing the value of teachers' work. The retention crisis in the teaching profession is also discussed, with the recognition that teachers need to feel appreciated and supported in order to stay in the profession.
The conversation explores the topic of arming teachers in schools. The hosts discuss recent developments in states like Tennessee and Alaska that allow teachers to carry firearms. They examine the pros and cons of arming teachers and the potential impact on the education system. The conversation highlights the need for practical considerations, such as the amount of training required and the ability of teachers to handle active shooter situations. They also discuss the potential negative effects, including the added responsibility and liability for teachers, the impact on students' sense of safety, and the need to address the root causes of school shootings. The conversation explores the disconnect between urban and rural areas when it comes to guns. People in cities often see guns as tools for violence, while those in rural areas view them as tools for survival and hunting. The conversation highlights the need for a cultural shift in understanding firearms and the importance of education and exposure to guns. It also touches on the mental health crisis and the need for a more centrist approach to the issue. The conclusion is that arming teachers is not a solution in itself, but rather a band-aid for deeper societal issues.
In this conversation, Kevin and David discuss the reasons why teachers leave the education profession. They highlight several common themes, including the lack of substitutes and secretaries, the absence of work-life balance, low salaries, and inadequate health insurance. They also touch on the issue of violence in schools and the lack of support from administrators. The conversation emphasizes the need for administrators to fulfill their responsibilities and address these issues to retain teachers. The hosts express frustration with the lack of accurate data on teacher attrition and the media's failure to cover the retention crisis in education. Teachers need to start writing and sharing their stories to bring attention to the issues in education. Many teachers are already writing books and articles to shed light on their experiences. The lack of change in the education system is a common reason for teachers leaving the profession. Teachers often feel unsupported and blamed for problems that are beyond their control. The increasing violence, apathy, and lack of discipline in students make teaching more challenging. Teachers are often guilted and accused when they need to take time off for personal reasons. The system is systematically destroying itself, and teachers feel bitter about the lack of support and respect they receive.
In this conversation, David and Kevin discuss the importance of teaching certain skills that are often overlooked in schools. They highlight the significance of teaching students how to read analog clocks, write in cursive, and engage in home economics. They also emphasize the importance of public speaking and communication skills. The conversation touches on the impact of technology and the need to prepare students for real-world situations. Overall, they argue that these 'old school' skills are still relevant and necessary for students' personal and professional development. The conversation highlights the importance of teaching practical skills and real-world knowledge in education. The speakers discuss the need to balance theory with practice and emphasize the value of teaching skills like financial algebra, reading maps, public speaking, and writing in cursive. They also stress the importance of teaching students how to think critically, identify bias, and navigate digital databases. The conversation concludes with the idea that education should focus on personal growth, pride in accomplishments, and the joy of learning.TakeawaysTeaching students how to read analog clocks is a basic skill that is often overlooked in schools, but it is still relevant in real-world situations.Cursive writing is a lost art that can improve information retention and help students develop their own unique identity.Home economics, including cooking and basic cleanliness, is a valuable skill that prepares students for independent living and contributes to their mental health.Public speaking and communication skills are essential for success in various aspects of life, including job interviews, networking, and effective communication in the workplace.The impact of technology and the lack of emphasis on these 'old school' skills have led to a decline in social development and communication abilities among students.Teaching these skills at a young age can lead to better communication and personal development outcomes for students. Education should balance theory with practice and focus on teaching practical skills.Skills like financial algebra, reading maps, public speaking, and writing in cursive are important for students' personal growth and real-world success.Teaching critical thinking and the ability to identify bias in reading materials is crucial.Education should prioritize personal accomplishments, pride, and the joy of learning.Education should not be limited to rigorous academic subjects, but should also include practical and hands-on learning experiences.
On this episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education, David and Kevin discuss how chronic absenteeism in public schools has become a significant issue, with at least a third of students across the country considered chronically absent. The problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to declining enrollment in public schools. The structure and lack of engagement in the education system, along with the rigid curriculum and lack of flexibility, contribute to chronic absenteeism. Teachers' burnout and disengagement also play a role. Efforts to address chronic absenteeism include improving school culture, providing accessible childcare, and allowing teachers more autonomy and creativity in the classroom. The conversation explores the broken state of the public school system and the issue of chronic absenteeism. It highlights the lack of structure, guidance, and understanding for students, leading to a lack of trust in the system. The conversation emphasizes the need for a complete overhaul of the education system, including changes in teaching methods, curriculum, and evaluation systems. It also discusses the impact of Common Core and the emphasis on inquiry-based learning, which has led to boredom and disengagement among students. The conversation concludes by questioning the goal of education in 2023 and the need to shift from survival to improvement.TakeawaysChronic absenteeism is a significant problem in public schools, with at least a third of students considered chronically absent.The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the issue of chronic absenteeism and led to declining enrollment in public schools.The structure and lack of engagement in the education system, along with rigid curriculum and lack of flexibility, contribute to chronic absenteeism.Teachers' burnout and disengagement, as well as the lack of emotional intelligence and connection with students, also play a role in chronic absenteeism.Efforts to address chronic absenteeism include improving school culture, providing accessible childcare, and allowing teachers more autonomy and creativity in the classroom. The public school system is broken, leading to chronic absenteeism and a lack of trust in the system.The education system needs a complete overhaul, including changes in teaching methods, curriculum, and evaluation systems.The emphasis on inquiry-based learning and Common Core has led to boredom and disengagement among students.There is a need to redefine the goal of education in 2023 and shift from survival to improvement.
Kevin and David welcome guest Lauren Greener. Lauren is a newly transitioned teacher who left the classroom to explore other options. Together, they explore the stigma and misconceptions surrounding teachers who leave the education field. Lauren highlights the lack of understanding and support from both within and outside the education system. The pressure from parents and politicians to stay in the profession is discussed, as well as the political nature of education. The conversation also touches on the need for innovation and change in the education system, as well as the challenges faced by student teachers. The conversation explores various aspects of teaching experiences, challenges, and the impact of administrators on teacher burnout. It highlights the lack of support and supervision during student teaching, the hiring and training practices in education, and the reasons why teachers leave the profession. The discussion also emphasizes the importance of the administrator-teacher relationship and the public's misunderstanding of the teaching profession. Ultimately, the conversation reveals that teacher burnout can occur regardless of positive experiences, showcasing the need for systemic changes in education.TakeawaysTeachers who leave the education field often face stigma and misconceptions from others.There is a lack of understanding and support for teachers who choose to leave.Parents and politicians can exert pressure on teachers to stay in the profession.The education system needs to adapt and innovate to meet the changing needs of students and teachers.Student teachers often face challenges and lack proper onboarding and support. Teachers often face challenges and lack support and supervision during student teaching.Hiring and training practices in education can contribute to teacher burnout.The administrator-teacher relationship plays a significant role in teacher satisfaction and retention.There is a misunderstanding of the teaching profession and the realities teachers face.Teacher burnout can occur regardless of positive teaching experiences.
On the latest episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education David and Kevin discuss a proposed bill in Missouri that would label teachers as sex offenders for helping transgender students in any way.  The role of teachers is to support all students, regardless of their gender identity. The bill would harm both students and teachers, as it would discourage students from seeking support and potentially lead to teacher discipline. Kevin and David contiue the conversation about the increasing number of anti-LGBTQ bills and the impact of compliance on teachers. They emphasize the community aspect of schools and the emotional connections formed between teachers and students. There is a real national call for reasonable conversations and efforts to create inclusive and supportive school communities for every student.
Welcome back to another season of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education! David and Kevin are excited to be back for this new season after taking some time off to refund the project. We're back and ready for another great conversation about public education in the US today. Here's what you'll find on this all new episode.SummaryKevin and David discuss the recent surge in layoffs in public school districts across the United States due to funding issues. The misallocation of COVID funding and the failure of administrators to properly manage the budget are key factors contributing to this new crisis. They discuss the impact of layoffs on student support services and the overall functioning of schools, the politicization of education funding, and the ineffectiveness of merit pay. The lack of transparency in decision-making and the reactive approach to budgeting as well as the role of administrators in mismanagement further proves the need for accountability and transparency in school districts.TakeawaysThe recent surge in layoffs in public school districts is primarily due to funding issues and the misallocation of COVID funding.Layoffs of support staff, such as librarians, security personnel, and office workers, have a significant impact on the functioning of schools and student support services.The politicization of education funding, including the implementation of school voucher programs, further exacerbates the crisis.The conversation highlights the need for systemic change in the education system to address financial mismanagement and ensure the sustainability of public schools. Budget deficits and optimistic budgeting practices contribute to the financial instability in districts.The lack of transparency in decision-making and reactive budgeting hinder effective financial management.Administrators play a significant role in mismanagement and should be held accountable for their actions.The teacher retention and recruitment crisis is exacerbated by the mismanagement of funds and lack of accountability in school districts.
On this episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education Kevin and David disucss the ongoing teacher retention issue in the US. They explore a myriad of topics from buying teachers townhomes as an incentive to work to the hypycrital strings many politicians pull when it comes to providing the youth of our nation a fundamental education. If you want to hear Dave's NY accent shine, this is the one. Join us as we discuss some "real" solutions to to teacher retention.
Jessica Dueñas, Ed.S., the founder of Bottomless to Sober and 2019 Kentucky State Teacher of the Year, is an educator in recovery who provides coaching services to individuals needing support in accomplishing their goals. In addition, Jessica facilitates professional development for organizations on wellness, leads workshops on writing and wellness, and is also available as a speaker for events.Bottomless to Sober’s blog captures stories that highlight the strength, beauty, and hope of living in recovery. Submissions are always welcome.If you are interested in sharing your story, email Jessica at jessica@bottomlesstosober.comwww.bottomlesstosober.com
Welcome back to Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this episode, Kevin and David discuss the terrible idea of paying teachers for standardized test results that Houston, TX has decided to give a whirl. The issues within this idea are unpacked throughout this episode as Kevin and David attempt to make sense of this, somehow. Enjoy the show!!If you would like to get in touch with Breaking the Fouth Wall of Public Education our email address is:btfwpodcasts@gmail.comThanks for listening, we hope you are enjoying the podcats. If you are, remember that like button helps us to produce more episodes. Have a great week and enjoy the show!
Welcome back to Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this mid-week episode, we discuss The Ideal School with Eric Franzen. He is the director of the school and he requested a spot on the show to discuss his vision for education of the future. Listen as David and Kevin discuss these new and interesting ideas for education.If you would like to get in touch with Breaking the Fouth Wall of Public Education our email address is:btfwpodcasts@gmail.comThanks for listening, we hope you are enjoying the podcats. If you are, remember that like button helps us to produce more episodes. Have a great week and enjoy the show!Producers Note: Kevin, David, and Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education do not endorse any specific educational or schooling options presented on the show. We will at times provide a foram for guests to discuss education ideas, concepts, and curriculum.
Welcome back to another entertaining and insightful episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this episode, David and Kevin interview former teacher Danielle Marshall about why she decided to leave education. Her story will resonate with anyone who ever worked in public education. Danielle worked overseas, has won awards, and was a highly respected public school teacher for many years. Her story of gaslighting and intimidation tactics at the hands of school administration shed light on why there is such a temendous Teacher Retention Issue in the United States today. Listen in as Danielle, Kevin, and David take another gloves off approach to the issues facing public education on this epsiode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education.If you would like to get in touch with Breaking the Fouth Wall of Public Education our email address is:btfwpodcasts@gmail.comThanks for listening, we hope you are enjoying the podcats. If you are, remember that like button helps us to produce more episodes. Have a great week and enjoy the show!
Welcome back to another entertaining and insightful episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this episode, David and Kevin interview former teacher Yehee Son about why she decided to leave education. Her story of teaching will be familiar to educators everywhere. However, the story Yehee shares about finally attaining her dream job as a teacher, only to find it utterly disapppinting, is certainly more unique and rife with challenges most people never face to get where they want to be. This is certainly one episode you do not want to miss!Yehee Son is the host of the brand new and exciting podcat Hello, My Darlings... Her show brings to light the accomplishments of disabled people from all walks of life. In addition, she shares stories of hope and inspiration geared toward... well, everyone. Join Yehee for her first episode of Hello, My Darlings... on Sunday August 21, 2023. You can find her show on your favorite podcast channel. If you would like to get in touch with Breaking the Fouth Wall of Public Education our email address is:btfwpodcasts@gmail.comThanks for listening, we hope you are enjoying the podcats. If you are, remember that like button helps us to produce more episodes. Have a great week and enjoy the show!
Welcome back listeners! Thank you for tuning in and sharing your time with us. On this episode, Kevin and David discuss some of the lasting effects of COVID on public education. Coming back into the classroom after almost two years of distance learning has had lasting effects on how public schools operate as well as policies that have altered the landscape of public education. If you are interested in the opinion of teachers who taught during the COVID crisis, this is the episode for you.Thank you for listening! If you enloy the show, please click that like button. It helps us keep the show going. Thanks!Here's our email: btfwpodcasts@gmail.com
Welcome back listeners! Kevin and David are back with another controversial topic that teachers and educators deal with every day, cellphones. The collective grown of teachers everywhere can be heard loud and clear at Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this episode, David and Kevin swap some great stories relating to their experiences with cellphones in the classroom as well as provide some insights into public school policies regarding cellphones that erode the authority of educators, demoralize teachers, and promote a culture of noncompliance in classrooms and schools across the nation. Join us as we tackle this controversial topic with honesty and true stories.Thank you for listenting. If you enjoy the show, please click that like button. It helps us keep the show going.Here's our email address if you want to comment or chat: btfwpodcasts@gmail.com
Welcome back to another episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. On this episode, we discuss the many aspects and experiences of teachers transitioning out of the classroom into new careers. Since 2020, over 600K teachers have left the classroom to pursue other options. This has caused a teacher shortage, which is a teacher retention and recruitment issue brought upon by decades of de-professionalization and malignment of teachers by the media, administrators, and the public at large. Teachers will continue to leave the profession in droves and recruitment of new professionals will continue to decline until these and a plethora of other issues are dealt with by the real culprits of educational demise. These culprits are the politicians that make the rules and the many spinless administrators that do their bidding. The politics of Education will be its own demise. Listen as the truth about public education is peeled back and exposed for all to see.
Welcome back to an all new episode of Breaking the Fourth Wall of Public Education. This week we discuss book banning in the U.S. Regardless of your opinion on this topic, this episode will surely inform and entertain you. Carla Goldberg is a former teacher in Alaska, who has since moved on to new pastures and is now living in Texas. She has a passion for the topoic of book banning and is quite vocal about the inherent dangers of this ever growing trend in states and school districts across the nation. Join us for a hard look at some statistics and titles of banned books that should be quite shocking to teachers and parents who desire access to education for all.
Social Promotion has been an issue in puiblic schools since they were formed. However, in our ever increasingly competitive world social promotion is something parents and our communities at large should be more concerned about. Listen as Kevin and David explore this important topic facing education today. In fact, social promotion is a contributor to teacher burnout, lack of job satisfaction, and the growing Teacher Retention Issue that will eventually change the way public schools operate in the future. Thank you for listening and we apprecite your support.Reach us by email at: btfwpodcasts@gmail.com
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