Human Restoration Project

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28: Restoring Humanity: Gradeless Learning

Ep. 28

For this episode we're trying something new. Instead of having a guest, I'm (Chris) deep-diving into one element of progressive education - offering history and advice to gradeless learning. I tried my best to cover an extensive look at this topic, including - most importantly - the point of why this is needed.

There are many quotes and research provided, here is a list of the resources used:

  • Much of the historical data (and all quotes) are from "Making the grade" by Jack Schneider & Ethan Hunt (2013).
  • We recommend the portfolio tool Seesaw.
  • **Mistakenly, I said that Seesaw was free for everything except grading - this is mostly true, but to assign "skills" and organize student posts via tags it is $120/year. A simple workaround is to create folders for skills and have students upload work into them.
  • I celebrate the upcoming work of the Mastery Transcript Consortium.

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12/31/2022

125: The Transformative Power of Play w/ The Center for Playful Inquiry

Today we’re joined by Susan Harris MacKay and Matt Karlson, the people behind the Center for Playful Inquiry. Susan is a former teacher and pedagogical director at Opal School and Portland Children’s Museum. Her recent book, Story Workshop: New Possibilities for Young Writers showcases the relationship between play, art, and writing. Matt is a former teacher, professional development facilitator, and Director of Opal School’s Center for Learning.Together they formed the Center for Playful Inquiry, which prioritizes play, the arts, and meaning-making to inspire justice, democracy, and beauty. They work with schools, educators, and community members to build these systems. In this podcast, we discuss why imaginative play is deeply connected to learning, and why we must be skeptical of educational products & strategies aimed at controlling the narrative of learning.GuestsSusan Harris MacKay is a former teacher and pedagogical director at Opal School and Portland Children's Museum. She is the author of Story Workshop: New Possibilities for Young WritersMatt Karlson is a former teacher, professional development facilitator, and Director of Opal School's Center for Learning.ResourcesCenter for Playful Inquiry's WebsiteStory Workshop StudioStory Workshop: New Possibilities for Young Writers by Susan Harris MacKaySchool is for learning to live, not just for learning | Susan Harris MacKay | TEDxWestVancouverED
12/17/2022

124: The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead w/ Andy Kopsa

Ep. 124
I’m speaking today with freelance journalist Andy Kopsa whose work has appeared seemingly everywhere: The New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Cosmo, and her most recent piece from the December issue of In These Times that we’ll be discussing today - and that you heard an excerpt of in the introduction - is about her investigation of Des Moines Public Schools’ 2021 shift away from the School Resource Officer, or SRO, program and toward investing in restorative justice, it has the incredible title, The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices InsteadAndy had mentioned in a tweet before our recording that “Iowa is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to public education.” That’s to say, so much of what Andy reported in her piece is directly tied to the particular political context of Iowa in the 21st century - as we get into in the episode - failing to address deep dem ographic divisions & whose embrace of endless cynical, dead-end, culture wars has only deepened divisions. Only ⅓ of predominantly older white Iowans live in rural areas, half of the Black population is concentrated in just 4 cities, of which Des Moines is the largest, and nearly 60% of Iowa farmland owners don’t farm. So while Iowa is an increasingly non-white, urban population, our political & cultural identity is wrapped up in the nostalgia of the white rural family farm, a factor which explains the radicalization & consolidation of political power in the Iowa GOP, who hold a majority everywhere Iowans are represented. A headline from the November elections read, “Iowa's GOP clout in Legislature, Congress most since 1950s”, and you better believe they are governing as such. While national headlines often focus on larger states like Texas & Florida, the education culture war really started here. Iowa is the canary in the coal mine. That’s an appropriate lens we should bring to the conversation at the intersection of racialized policing & punishment & the role it plays in our schools, particularly when communities of Color decide to go another way & invest in restorative practices.GuestAndy Kopsa is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in NYTimes, FP, Atlantic, Cosmo, Al Jazeera, Guardian, Playboy, and more.ResourcesIn These Times: The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead ACLU of Iowa: Advocating for Police-Free Schools Toolkit