Human Restoration Project


56: Listen to Students (feat. Ayush Chopra, Cody Lees, & Meghan Kestner)

Ep. 56

In this podcast, we're focused on student voice: how to engage students, what it means to share power with students, and the possibilities that can occur when we truly let students speak.

It's obvious that this true, just a quick glance at the news and Greta Thunberg demonstrates how powerful young people can be if given the opportunities to be successful. Our job as educators to not hamper that motivation to learn and change the world, and help open up new experiences for students to be interested and engage in.

And it's just just Thunberg or Malala or any young person doing amazing things - it's small scale success and purpose as well. The more people we unite with their purpose, the better society we will build. Sometimes those purposes aren't global reaching, but building a happy, motivated world is a giant, yet legitimate goal we can reach. What else really matters in the end?

However, we all know that school is not a place where many students are engaged in this kind of work. Sure, there are pockets of teachers doing amazing things - and they're often doing these things in spite of the systems and structures they find themselves in. We need to engage students in conversation and take their ideas legitimately, leaving out judgment aside, to truly find ways to transform our classrooms and schools.


Ayush Chopra, a 17-year-old student out to change the world with his organization, SDGs for Children. Ayush has written Shaping a Fairer World with SDGs and Human Rights and hosts the podcast, Shaping a Fairer World.

Cody Lees, a recent high school graduate who was actively involved in leadership activities in school, who highlights his 3rd grade experience in “Action Club.”

Meghan Kestner, a special education educator and Upward Bound advisor whose students share their stories, and who reflects on the need for more human-focused approaches to the classroom.



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112: Keep Hope Alive w/ Deborah Meier

Ep. 112
Today’s guest is Deborah Meier, who really needs no introduction for advocates of progressive education. Meier is the founder of the modern small schools movement, that aims to reorganize larger schools into smaller, democratic ones. She was founder and director of Central Park East, a Dewey-inspired progressive school in East Harlem, New York City. She also opened Central Park East II, River East, and the Central Park East Secondary School the same neighborhood. This led her to establish a network of similarly minded schools in New York City, and eventually founding Mission Hill School in Boston.Meier is an advocate of democratic, progressive, public schools who has served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Academy of Education, The Nation, Dissent, and more. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, as well as the author of multiple books including the recently co-authored These Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon our Public Schools. Meier is a huge inspiration to us at Human Restoration Project and we frequently draw on her work in our materials and advocacy.In this podcast, Meier and I talk about building a coalition of schools, educators, families, and community members to build and protect a progressive public education, discussing the importance of building a public education system that strengthens and models a democracy.GUESTSDeborah Meier, founding director of Central Park East and Mission Hill School, as well as various progressive democratic public schools, and author of various works including co-authoring These Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon our Public SchoolsRESOURCESDeborah Meier's websiteThese Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon our Public SchoolsThe Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in HarlemSUPPORT THE MOVEMENT TO END GUN VIOLENCEMarch for Our Lives 2022 National Rally (June 11th, 2022)Donate: March for Our LivesDonate: EverytownDonate: Moms Demand ActionDonate: Sandy Hook PromiseDonate: GoFundMe - Uvalde, TexasDonate: GoFundMe - Buffalo, New York

111: Building the Modern Progressive Education Movement w/ David Buck

Ep. 111
On today’s podcast we are joined by David Buck. David is an English professor at Howard Community College in Maryland who is actively involved in the ungrading movement, as well as focusing on open access resources, open pedagogy, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To foster and grow the practice of ungrading, David is actively involved in utilizing social and other online media for discussion, including but not limited to his “Let’s Talk Ungrading” Twitter Spaces, which is also an edited podcast, the Ungrading Twitter Community, the Ungrading Book Club, the Ungrading Discord Community, and “Crowdsourcing Ungrading” an open-access book on Pressbooks.We talk about:The desire and need for more spaces to gather and reflect on progressive education.What it means to build these spaces in "new media", such as Discord or Twitter Spaces.How we can get more young people involved in joining, curating, and creating these spaces (such as on Twitch).How we can inspire more educators to lead and grow these spaces, co-created with students.GUESTSDavid Buck, English professor at Howard Community College and mass-curator and co-leader of various ungrading spacesRESOURCES#Ungrading: A Digital Ethnography (Dissertation by Christina Moore)David Buck's Twitter (and location for Twitter Spaces)Crowdsourced Ungrading PressbookDavid Buck's Sutori Student BlogsUngrading HUB (Discord)Human Restoration Project (Discord)