Human Restoration Project


Bonus: Elevating the Conversation on NAEP Scores w/ John Warner

The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, were released yesterday, September 1st, prompting a New York Times headline that read “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading”, the 74 headline added “Two Decades of Growth WIPED OUT by Two years of Pandemic”. Peter Greene, an education policy watcher, called it NAEP Pearl Clutching Day. I myself had tweeted out “With the release of pandemic NAEP scores, we're about to have the worst cycle of education discourse imaginable”, and man did that ring true. Everyone was running to their corners to abolish teacher’s unions, attack remote & hybrid learning and mask mandates - just relitigating every pandemic issue imaginable - and the results brought out the usual resident experts in everything, like Matt Yglesias, who called the scores “A Short-term L for the left that was more supportive of closure”.

While everyone online is jumping to conclusions, we thought it would be important to help provide some context, to step back and take inventory of the data, claims, headlines, and provide context and forecast next steps: what, if anything, could or should we do in response to this report? So I reached out to author and educator John Warner, whose intuition I tend to trust on this kind of thing. John is the author of several books, Why They Can’t Write, The Writer’s Practice and Sustainable. Resilient. Free.: The Future of Public Higher Education, released in 2020. Thanks John for taking the time to talk with me today. Let’s start with what the NAEP results say and what they mean, and then we’ll compare that to the headlines. So what do the results say and what should we make of them? Why does the framing matter? What context is missing? How could we meaningfully report on these results? What’s missing in the discourse?


John Warner, author of Why They Can't Write, The Writer's Practice, and Sustainable. Resilient. Free: The Future of Public Higher Education. He serves on Human Restoration Project's Board of Directors.


More Episodes


121: Showcase: One Stone | Lab51 (Student-Driven Schooling)

Ep. 121
This is our third “spotlight series” episode where we’re reaching out to schools who are doing intriguing progressive practices that could inspire and influence others to do the same. Each has a twist on how their school is operated, and we’re bringing in students and teachers to talk about it. They’re not all perfect, and they’d all acknowledge there are things they’d change; but there’s so much to learn from these schools as we reimagine education in our communities.Today we’re featuring One Stone, a student-led nonprofit in Boise, Idaho. One Stone has a variety of initiatives to help students use their voice to change the world. Two thirds of One Stone’s board are young people, who have voted to establish multiple initiatives including Project Good: an experiential service program, Two Birds: a student-led creative studio, Solution Lab: a business incubator for young people, and now Lab 51 - who we’re talking with today - an independent sliding scale tuition program high school.Lab51 features interdisciplinary, human-centered problem solving which is a collaboration between young people and mentors. Students engage in a variety of selections including “Deep Dives”, which are two-week passion-driven endeavors like photography or wilderness survival, “Immersions”, which are slightly longer and mostly take place off campus, “Cannonballs” which have students experiencing a wide variety of topics in a short period of time, and finally: service- and project-based learning.Joining us are four students: Ian, Reya, Lyla, and Ella and Jesse, who is the Director of Strategic Partnerships.We talk about the fundamentals of Lab51's program, its importance to young people, and how this model could scale and be used within traditional settings.SCHOOLOne Stone's Lab51, a student-led nonprofit High School program in Boise, Idaho, centered on students navigating their path to purpose, promoting their well-being, and self-directing their learningRESOURCESOne StoneLab51BLOB (Bold Learning Objectives)Two Birds Creative Studio (One Stone's student-driven creative studio, you can sign up to work with them!)Wayfinding Mentorship Professional Growth series for educators and mentorsHuman Centered Design for supporting student-driven learning

120: A Pedagogy of Love w/ Dr. Antonia Darder

Ep. 120
On today’s podcast we are joined by Dr. Antonia Darder. Antonia is an internationally recognized activist-scholar and Professor Emerita at Loyola Marymount University, where for more than a decade she held the Levey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership. Spanning over 4 decades, she has worked to counter social and material inequities in schools and society, including through critical scholarship, activism, and authoring books such as Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, and Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States. Further, she wrote and produced a student-community driven, award-winning documentary, The Pervasiveness of Oppression.In this episode, we talk about combating inequitable and inhospitable notions of the school system: from radical individualism which co-opts how students view themselves, each other, and society at-large, to corporate forces that shape policy and curriculum which damage learning outcomes. Instead, we can create a "pedagogy of love" which focuses on care, well-being, meaning-making, and democracy.GUESTSDr. Antonia Darder is an activist, scholar, and professor at Loyola Marymount University, and author of various works and critical scholarship including Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, and Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States.RESOURCESAntonia Darder's websiteAntonia Darder's bookstoreRadio and the Art of Resistance: A Public Pedegogy of the Airwaves by Antonia DarderTeaching as an Act of Love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and His Contributions to Our Lives and Our Work by Antonia Darder

MINDFOOD II: Top 5 Cursed Problems in School

Welcome to our latest podcast series: MINDFOOD, easily digestible content for education.Enjoy our content? Leave us a review on your favorite podcast makes a huge difference! ( day both of our mic settings will be correct and this will sound just right!)Top 5 Cursed Problems in SchoolHello and welcome to Mindfood: a series of more casual content that's easily digestible. This episode is brought to you by Brad Latzke, Michelle Edwards, and Ann TrapassoSo what do I mean by Cursed Problems? Well…In 2019, Alex Jaffe gave a talk at GDC (that’s the Game Developers Conference) called “Cursed Problems in Game Design”. Since the video was released in 2020 it has gotten over 600,000 views on YouTube. In the video he says that a game’s essential experiences, why the player came to play, are the player promises. These promises exist both in the heart of the designer and the player: they are the reason a game exists, it’s what we care about at a fundamental level.A cursed problem, then, is not merely a problem that is difficult to resolve, but is instead an unsolvable design problem, rooted in a conflict between core player promises. The promise of two things that cannot co-exist. The premises of the promises are fundamentally incompatible, they are in violation of one another. Oil and water. You cannot solve cursed problems, rather you have to innovate around them. The analogy to schools and schooling and the appeal of this discussion to us is if you replace player with student and game with school, it doesn’t take much to realize that many of the promises of school are incompatible with one another, both in the minds of the designers - who often have specific objectives in mind - and in the student experience of the systems and mechanics of school. We thought today that we’d try to unpack the cursed problems of school, the promises of school in the minds of students and educators, the difference in the experience and objectives of school, and analyze what the potential solutions to these cursed problems sacrifice along the way. These are the central conflicts of schooling!This podcast is also available on video! See: