It's hard to believe it is "back to school" time already. Essential Pittsburgh will be taking Fridays off now through Sept. 4 to spend some time in their classroom working on the fall season. Please enjoy these education-themed specials or catch up on episodes of Essential Pittsburgh you may have missed here.
Friday, 8/7 – American Radioworks special “The New Face of College”
This documentary explores how universities are adapting to their new students. We visit Amherst College, a leader among elite schools in recruiting and serving non-traditional students. We see how the University of Texas-El Paso, where most undergraduates are Hispanic and low-income, is becoming a top-tier research university. And we travel to a tiny college on an Indian reservation in eastern Washington that is trying to bring liberal arts to migrant farm workers.
Friday, 8/14 – American Radioworks special “Ready to Work: Reviving Vocational Ed"
Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Many experts say it's time to bring career and technical education back. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education has changed and how it's re-shaping debates about the purpose of school.
Friday, 8/21 – "Breaking Ground: Lower Income, Higher Ed"
The special examines the broader challenges facing low-income students and considers potential solutions to the nation’s dismal college completion rates for its most vulnerable students.
Friday, 8/28 – American Radioworks special “The Living Legacy: Black Colleges in the 21st Century”
Before the civil rights movement, African Americans were largely barred from white-dominated institutions of higher education. And so black Americans, and their white supporters, founded their own schools, which came to be known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCU graduates helped launch the Civil Rights Movement, built the black middle class, and staffed the pulpits of black churches and the halls of almost every black primary school before the 1960s. But after desegregation, some people began to ask whether HBCUs had outlived their purpose. Yet for the students who attend them, HBCUs still play a crucial - and unique - role. In this documentary, we hear first-person testimony from students about why they chose an HBCU; and we travel to an HBCU that's in the process of reinventing itself wholesale.
Friday, 9/4 – American Radioworks special ”Teaching Teachers”
Research shows good teaching makes a big difference in how much kids learn. But the United States lacks an effective system for training new teachers or helping them get better once they're on the job. This documentary examines why, and asks what it would take to improve American teaching on a wide scale. We meet researchers who are trying to understand what makes teaching complex, and how to determine whether someone is ready to be a teacher.