cover art for MINDFOOD V: Top 3 (Non-Ed) Spaces to Learn About Education

Human Restoration Project

MINDFOOD V: Top 3 (Non-Ed) Spaces to Learn About Education

Ep. 143

Reimagining education is no small feat, but there is hope on the horizon. MINDFOOD, easily digestible content for education. In this series, we'll do the random fun stuff: top 10 lists, current events, things we're thinking about. This is a casual format with limited editing and not as many intense conversations that occur in our mainline HRP interviews. Let us know what you think.

Learn more about our free resources, podcast, writings, and more at

Human Restoration Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit centered on enabling human-centered schools through progressive pedagogy.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 151. 151: Nourishing Caregiver Collaborations w/ Nawal Qarooni

    Today we are joined by Nawal Qarooni. Nawal is an educator, writer, and adjunct professor based in Jersey City, who founded and operates NQC Literacy, a consultancy firm serving PreK-8 school leaders and teachers in holistic literacy instruction, equity-driven practice, and family engagement. She also serves on several committees, including the National Council for Teachers of English Committee Against Racism and Bias, evaluates manuscripts for Reese Witherspoon's LitUp program, and advises the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board. Her recent book, Nourishing Caregiver Collaborations: Elevating Home Experiences and Classroom Practices for Collective Care is a deep dive into how educators can celebrate and elevate students’ families, while encouraging shared reflections and connections to what’s happening in schools.We talk about building a collective culture of care that invites in families to build a better education system that supports all learners. We're combining the lens of progressive education lens of the classroom to the greater support structures that raise children toward a better future.NQC LiteracyNourishing Caregiver Collaborations Elevating Home Experiences and Classroom Practices for Collective Care by Nawal Qarooni (Routledge)
  • 150. Toward a Luddite Pedagogy in the "Age of AI" w/ Charles Logan

    “Were we required to characterize this age of ours by any single epithet, we should be tempted to call it, not an Heroical, Devotional, Philosophical, or Moral Age, but, above all others, the Mechanical Age. It is the Age of Machinery, in every outward and inward sense of that word; the age which, with its whole undivided might, forwards, teaches and practices the great art of adapting means to ends. Nothing is now done directly, or by hand; all is by rule and calculated contrivance. For the simplest operation, some helps and accompaniments, some cunning abbreviating process is in readiness. Our old modes of exertion are all discredited, and thrown aside. On every hand, the living artisan is driven from his workshop, to make room for a speedier, inanimate one. The shuttle drops from the fingers of the weaver, and falls into iron fingers that ply it faster.”This is how Scottish historian & writer Thomas Carlyle characterized Great Britain’s mechanized, steam powered industrial era in 1829. These changes in the human relationship to production rippled through the world economy with profound social, political, & environmental implications. One loosely organized group, the Luddites, emerged early on to smash the new machines and resist mechanization of the mills.200 years after Carlyle’s “Age of Machinery”, we find ourselves sold a new Age, the Age of automation and AI, which promises another transformation in the way we live, work, AND learn, with similar social, political, and environmental consequences. At least, the AI-hype cycle is real. Sal Khan’s new book, for example, Brave New Words: How AI Will Revolutionize Education (and Why That's a Good Thing) promises to be “required reading for everyone who cares about education.”But what should be the relationship of education, automation & artificial intelligence? Should there be one at all? How much power – not to mention student data – should educators cede to the new machine in the Age of AI? Or…should the answer be a 21st century Luddite revival and mass resistance to the vision of the future offered by Google, OpenAI, and Microsoft?That, I suspect, will be the argument of my guest today, Charles Logan, a Learning Sciences PhD Candidate at Northwestern University, writing earlier this year for the Los Angeles Review of Books, “Ultimately, the Luddites’ militancy and commitment to resistance might be a necessary entry point for how laborers—and teachers, students, and caregivers—can take an antagonistic stance toward AI and automation, and create a new ‘commons.’”Toward A Luddite PedagogyShould We Be More Like The Luddites?Inspiration from the Luddites: On Brian Merchant’s “Blood in the Machine”Learning About and Against Generative AI Through Mapping Generative AI’s Ecologies and Developing a Luddite PraxisRecord being placed on a record player.wav by HelterSkelter1114 -- -- License: Attribution NonCommercial 4.0rope-making machinery running.wav by phonoflora -- -- License: Attribution 4.0
  • 149. Roma Education: Emma Sisson's Mission From Tennessee to Transylvania

    The story my guest will tell today is of her experience growing up and teaching in Memphis, Tennessee before finding a purpose-driven career change in - I am not joking - the heart of Transylvania. Emma Sisson is the School Director of The Mission School in Sighisoara, Romania. The work of The Mission, Romania is deeply rooted in the local community in Sighisoara and, as you’ll hear Emma describe it, homebase is an 80,000 sq ft abandoned Soviet textile mill where staff live, work, house a K-3 school, and provide family wrap-around services to Romani children and families. Romani, or Roma, are a historically enslaved and oppressed underclass in Europe, in Romania in particular, where they are often slandered as a lazy, thieving, “gypsy” underclass. In 2022 the European Union reported that 80% of Roma live in poverty, compared to the 17% EU average. 1 in 5 live in households with no running water. 1 in 3 have no indoor toilet. And fewer than half of Roma children attend early childhood education. The scathing report prompted the EU director of Fundamental Human Rights to ask, “Why do Roma across Europe still face shocking levels of deprivation, marginalization, and discrimination?”  Overcoming structural discrimination and prejudice against Roma people is a key part of The Mission’s mission. The Mission School also works to preserve Roma values and language in the context of education, expressed as a preference for family apprenticeships, experiential hands-on learning, and a rich oral tradition, that have historically put them at odds with the priorities of institutional school-based literacies.On the other side of the Atlantic, The Mission international is currently recovering from a devastating fire that destroyed their entire campus headquarters in Tijuana, Mexico that served over 500 at-risk youth, so if you’d like to learn more and donate to help support Emma’s work in Romania and rebuild the Tijuana campus, you can do that at themissioninc - that’s the mission eye-enn-see - dot org You can reach Emma @ emma.barbara.sisson@gmail.comAmazon Book WishlistAmazon Supplies Wishlist
  • 148. How do Americans really feel about controversial topics in school? w/ Anna Saavedra and Morgan Polikoff

    In this episode, Anna Saavedra and Morgan Polikoff explore the polarizing landscape of modern education found in their February 2024 report, "Searching for Common Ground.” The report reveals widespread support for public schools alongside significant partisan divides, particularly on topics like LGBTQ identities and racial inequality. From bipartisan consensus on some issues to stark disparities on others, this discussion highlights the complexities of education policymaking and the need for informed dialogue to navigate contentious topics and shape a more equitable future for education.Links:How Americans really feel about the teaching of controversial topics in schools @ USC TodayRead the full report online.
  • 147. Americanization or Autonomy: The Dilemma of Puerto Rico's Educational Agenda w/ Prof. Jenaro Abraham

    Join us as we delve into the historical and current relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, focusing on the island's education system and its role in shaping Puerto Rico's future. Professor Jenaro Abraham shares his expertise on social movements, politics, and education in the Caribbean, offering key insights into Puerto Rico's quest for self-determination. From the legacy of colonialism to the prospects of statehood versus independence, this conversation explores the complexities of Puerto Rico's identity and its educational landscape. Additional Resources: Jenaro Abraham @ GonazagaPuerto Rico in the American Century, By César J. Ayala, Rafael BernabeCentroPRPedagogy of the Hawaiian Islands podcast series
  • 146. Off The Mark: How Grades, Ratings, & Rankings Undermine Learning (But Don't Have To) w/ Jack Schneider & Ethan Hutt

    “Let's start with the bad news.” is how the conclusion to my guests’ book about changing grading practice begins. “No one is coming to save us. No consultant is going to sweep through and fix things for a fee. No new technology, digital, online, or otherwise, is going to change the game.” The game, of course, is school, and the currency of that game is grades.Jack Schneider is Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at the UMass - Amherst. He is the Executive Director of the Beyond Test Scores Project. Director of the Center for Education Policy. Co-Editor of the History of Education Quarterly, and Co-Host of the Have You Heard Podcast.Ethan Hutt is the Gary Stuck Faculty Scholar in Education and associate professor at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Education.Their 2023 book, Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don’t Have To), is a thorough, and at times frustratingly pragmatic, exploration of flawed necessity of the load bearing pillars of “real school” – grades, transcripts, and standardized tests – their origins in our nation’s history, the distorting effects they tend to have on the outcomes and goals of education, why nothing has arisen so far to replace them at scale, and why there are no magic potions: “No one is going to wake up one morning and realize that the answer was staring us in the face all along,” they remind us.Balancing the real with the ideal, they also chart a path toward the possibility for something different, and like the grand experiment of public schooling itself, it’s something we’ll have to figure out and build together.Off The MarkJack SchneiderEthan Hutt
  • 145. Rethinking Schools w/ Cierra Kaler-Jones

    In this episode, we talk with Rethinking Schools first-ever Executive Director, Cierra Kaler-Jones, about the past, present, and future of Rethinking Schools, especially as we enter another potentially contentious year of educational culture wars for 2024, and her vision for how educators can demand power for those who need it the most within our school system. Links:Rethinking Schools
  • 144. Systemic Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) w/ Dr. Emma McMain

    Today we are joined by Dr. Emma McMain. Emma works in the College of Education at Washington State University as a postdoctoral teacher and researcher, focusing on assessment for pre-service elementary teachers, cultural considerations in education, and social and emotional learning (SEL). Her work aims to promote social and ecological justice, seeing education as an important site of social transformation. Dr McMain's recent works include: Drawing the line: Teachers affectively and discursively question what counts as “appropriate behavior” in schools — which dissects the power dynamics of classrooms in determining what is “appropriate” behavior; and The “Problem Tree” of SEL: A Sociopolitical Literature Review — which contextualizes what social-emotional learning actually means in a classroom setting from a variety of perspectives and in history. Particularly, we wanted to reach out and talk more about the idea of SEL as systemic change versus SEL as an add-on, and why this matters as we think about racism, sexism, neoliberalism, and more, especially in the context of SEL in the ongoing culture war and attacks on schools.More about Dr Emma McMainDrawing the line: Teachers affectively and discursively question what counts as “appropriate behavior” in schools