Emily Hanford introduces the first episode of her new podcast, Sold a Story.
There's an idea about how children learn to read that's held sway in schools for more than a generation — even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. Teaching methods based on this idea can make it harder for children to learn how to read. In this podcast, Hanford investigates the influential authors who promote this idea and the company that sells their work. It's an exposé of how educators came to believe in something that isn't true and are now reckoning with the consequences — children harmed, money wasted, an education system upended.
No Excuses: Race and Reckoning at a Chicago Charter School
Producer DJ Cashmere spent seven years teaching Black and brown students at a Noble Street charter high school in Chicago. At the time, Noble followed a popular model called "no excuses." Its schools required strict discipline but promised low-income students a better shot at college. After DJ left the classroom to become a journalist, Noble disavowed its own policies — calling them "assimilationist, patriarchal, white supremacist, and anti-black." In this hour, DJ, who is white, revisits his old school as it tries to reinvent itself as an anti-racist institution. And he seeks out his former students to ask them how they felt about being on the receiving end of all that education reform, and what they think now about the time they spent in his classroom.
Standing in Two Worlds BONUS episode
Camille Leihulu Slagle is Native Hawaiian. She always knew she wanted to go away for college. Education would help her afford to stay in her homeland. Life in the islands is expensive. Camille wants to give back to her people through science, studying the volcanoes central to Hawaiʻi's landscape and culture.
Audio documentary: Standing in Two Worlds
Standing in Two Worlds: Native American College Diaries
Native American students are just a tiny fraction of all the college students in the United States. They come with different histories, confronting an education system once used to erase their languages and cultures. In this project, three Indigenous college students tell how they are using higher education to strengthen ties to their Native roots and support their people.
Photos: See portraits of the students in this documentary
Under Pressure: The College Mental Health Crisis
Even before the pandemic, campus counselling services were reporting a marked uptick in the number of students with anxiety, clinical depression and other serious psychiatric problems. What is a college’s responsibility for helping students navigate mental health challenges, and how well are colleges rising to the task?
Read more: Inside the college mental health crisis