A Podcast About the Promise and Practice of Education
Hosted by Michael Feuer, Dean of GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), EdFix highlights the effective strategies and provocative ideas of researchers, practitioners and policymakers on how to improve our education system. Listen in as Dean Feuer connects their worlds to take on some of education's most complex issues.
From preschool to postsecondary, get your fix with EdFix! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRADIO, Google Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
As President and CEO of ETS (Educational Testing Service), Amit Sevak is keenly aware of the growing concern over the perceived value of education and standardized testing. To address these challenges, he is leading a transformation at ETS towards a more human-centric approach, with a focus on educator solutions, global mobility, and professional credentialing. And he believes that crafting assessments that showcase skills in new ways, backed by rigorous research, can help break the cycle of entrenched inequalities in education and open up new avenues of opportunity in the workforce. [Transcript for Episode 38]
- Previous Episodes
Episode 37: Policy Perspectives and Possibilities - A Conversation with Jack Jennings
For nearly three decades, Jack Jennings was the foremost expert on education policy in the U.S. House of Representatives. His legacy spans some of the most significant legislative initiatives, including the Elementary and Secondary Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Higher Education Act. After leaving Congress, Jack founded and led the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank focused on the improvement of public schools. In this fascinating conversation, Jack shares his reflections on bipartisanship, the effects of our Federalist system, and a blueprint for cultivating a pipeline of exceptional teachers. [Transcript for Episode 37]Episode 36: Community Colleges - America’s Hidden Economic Engines?
Community colleges welcome learners of all backgrounds and ages with low-cost tuition and open admission policies. According to Robert (Bob) Schwartz, co-author of America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity, these institutions are also extremely well-suited to forge strategic partnerships with industry leaders, skillfully addressing the demands of local labor markets. Through these collaborations, students, employers, and the community reap the rewards of tailored skill development programs. Yet community colleges often face inadequate funding for these kinds of initiatives. Bob advocates for increased recognition and investment in such alternative pathways to help unlock the full potential of community colleges. [Transcript for Episode 36]Bonus Episode 35: The End of Affirmative Action in Admissions? Experts Explore the Implications for Higher Education
In October of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases challenging race-conscious admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. As a result, most people expect the court’s ruling to end affirmative action policies, significantly affecting the way universities consider an applicant’s race during the admissions process. In this extended bonus episode, esteemed experts Amy Berman, Deputy Director of the National Academy of Education, and Rick Kahlenberg, Professorial Lecturer of Public Policy at the George Washington University and Nonresident Scholar at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, offer unique perspectives on race-based preferences in college admissions–and the potential ramifications of the court’s decision on the pursuit of educational diversity. [Transcript for Episode 35]
This episode was recorded during an education policy graduate class session taught by podcast host Michael J. Feuer. Copies of Amy Berman's slides and Rick Kahlenberg's slides, which are referenced in the episode, have been made available to you.Episode 34: From Virtual to Victorious - The Remarkable Success of an Online High School
How does an online secondary school establish a reputation as a legitimate and academically challenging institution? And can we really foster personal connections–so important to youth development–in a virtual environment? Join us as Head of School Alison Mistretta, Associate Head of School Maria Coyle, and GW Professor Michael Corry unveil the striking success story of the GWU Online High School. They share insights into overcoming skepticism around the quality of virtual learning, meeting the social and emotional needs of high school students, and furthering knowledge to improve the field of online education. [Transcript for Episode 34]Episode 33: Teaching Difficult History in Troublesome Times
Can the lessons from history challenge students to stand up to bigotry and hate today? If so, are there resources for teachers that can facilitate productive conversations about heavy headlines? Abby Weiss and Dimitry Anselme, from the non-partisan organization Facing History and Ourselves, discuss the professional development and rigorous content that educators need to help young people wrestle with these moments, talk across differences, and understand their place in a complicated world. [Transcript for Episode 33]Episode 32: A Scientist's Take on Education Research
Dr. Holden Thorp believes that education research is as crucial as research in the “hard” sciences—a surprising perspective coming from the Editor-In-Chief of the Science family of journals, a chemist by training, and former Chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill. He warns that scientists' tendencies to emphasize facts and memorization has led to a lack of appreciation for the critical role of pedagogy and a public misunderstanding of how knowledge is produced. These oversights have real-world implications, from the politicization of curricula in AP courses to the spread of misinformation about climate change and public health. Drawing on his extensive experience in science and education, Dr. Thorp shares his insights into what the scientific community can do to get its house in order. [Transcript for Episode 32]Episode 31: A Solution to the COVID Learning Loss Problem
According to Dr. Eric (“Rick”) Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, pandemic learning losses will result in a 6% reduction in a student's lifetime earnings. And since a country’s economic growth is tied to the skills of its labor force, he also projects that the United States' gross domestic product will dip 3-4% over the remainder of this century. But is it possible to counteract these shortfalls and get back on track? Dr. Hanushek believes that maximizing the power of the best teachers–and removing the weakest ones–can turn things around. (Check out his full policy brief: “A simple and complete solution to the learning loss problem.”) [Transcript for Episode 31]Episode 30: Should Tests be Socioculturally Responsive?
Dr. Randy Bennett, the Norman O. Fredericksen Chair in Assessment Innovation at ETS, describes tests as “cultural artifacts,” many of which were created at a time when our country was much less diverse. So what does that mean for school accountability or university admissions testing today? In an article* for the journal Educational Measurement - Issues and Practice, Dr. Bennett argues that we need to change the way we test - in content, format, and interpretation - to best fit the needs of a society with rapidly changing demographics. *To request a copy of Dr. Bennett’s article, “The Good Side of COVID-19,” email firstname.lastname@example.org. [Transcript for Episode 30]Episode 29: Reflecting on Black-Jewish Relations in America In recent years, both racially motivated hate crimes and antisemitism have been on the rise. But does the experience of common oppression necessarily lead to coalition? And can we better prepare teachers for conversations that fight bigotry? Dr. Dwayne Wright, Director of DEI Initiatives for GSEHD and GW Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration, and Dr. Benjamin M. Jacobs, GW Associate Research Professor of Experiential Jewish Education, talk about intersectionality, inclusion, and the complex nature of Black-Jewish relations. [Transcript for Episode 29]Episode 28: Can College Level the Playing Field? Is a college degree really worth the investment? And does higher education improve inequality in America or make it worse? Dr. Sandy Baum and Dr. Michael McPherson, economists and authors of the book, “Can College Level the Playing Field: Higher Education in an Unequal Society,” discuss the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of our post-secondary education system, and whether it can help to create a more equitable society. [Transcript for Episode 28]Episode 27: Why Science Education is More Important than Most Scientists Think The COVID pandemic has demonstrated the danger of irrational, non-scientific thinking. According to Dr. Bruce Alberts, a preeminent molecular biologist, professor, and past president of the National Academy of Sciences, the American public’s willingness to accept misinformation points to a failure in science education. Dr. Alberts suggests that changes to science curricula and teacher preparation could better equip society to distinguish fact from fiction, with broad implications for our democracy. [Transcript for Episode 27]Episode 26: What is the Matter with America's Schools? Since the 1983 report A Nation At Risk, America’s international reputation for K-12 education has been mediocre at best. But is this really the case? Dr. Robert Hauser, Executive Officer at the American Philosophical Society, examined the data and disagrees. In fact, he has found a U.S. school system that could be used as a model for success. In this episode, Dr. Hauser shares what he learned about international rankings and the quality of U.S. education for his paper, What is the Matter with America’s Schools? [Transcript for Episode 26]Episode 25: Leading through Crisis - A Firsthand Account from a School Superintendent School systems depend on sound decision-making for the safety and well-being of their communities. So what happens during a crisis like COVID-19, when opinions can vary widely on the best path forward? Dr. Jennifer Clayton, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at GW, and Dr. Jared Cotton, Superintendent of Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia, talk about the tough choices he has faced during the pandemic, the skills district leaders should have to manage crisis situations effectively, and how schools of education can better prepare administrators to lead in challenging times. [Transcript for Episode 25]
Episode 24: The Ecology of Think Tanks Think tanks engage in research and advocacy, often influencing policy and shaping the national discourse. But are they really home to independent thinkers and scholars, or is their research swayed by the priorities of their funders? Dr. Rick Hess, Senior Fellow and Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), shares his insight into the world of think tanks--what motivates their work and how they can play a productive role in responsible truth seeking. [Transcript for Episode 24]
Episode 23: Fighting Racism with Mathematics According to Deborah Loewenberg Ball, mathematics has the power to disrupt white supremacy unlike any other subject in school. As a professor and former Dean at the University of Michigan, Director of TeachingWorks, and elementary school math teacher herself, Deborah pushes back on the notion that math is culturally neutral. In fact, she believes that changing the way we teach math could help break patterns of inequality and injustice that are perpetuated in our classrooms. [Transcript for Episode 23]
Episode 22: Anti-Hair Discrimination, Educational Equity, and Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline As a clinician in K-12 education, Adjoa Asamoah witnessed too many injustices in our schools. So she decided to pivot her career to the intersection of policy and politics, where she has worked to tackle systemic inequities across our country. Her efforts to actualize liberty and justice for all have been noticed, and during the last presidential race, she was tapped to be the National Advisor for Black Engagement for the Biden-Harris Campaign based on her ability to engage the community and her record of success. [Transcript for Episode 22]
Episode 21: The Hollywood Wingwoman: Hope, Heart, and Human Development Caroline Adegun began her career as a human resources recruiter. Then a stint working for a celebrity in Los Angeles inspired her to open The Hollywood Wingwoman Talent, the first non-profit talent development firm serving low-income (and sometimes homeless) artists trying to make it in the industry. And recently, she has become a force on social media, taking the new Clubhouse app by storm. With more than 50,000 members now (and growing daily) in her faith-based "club," Caroline channels her background in human development to create a sense of community for people around the world -- at a time when they need it most. [Transcript for Episode 21]
Episode 20: Rehabilitation Counseling - Fostering a Better Quality of Life for People with Disabilities Rehabilitation counselors provide independent living support and job readiness training, empowering people with disabilities to integrate more fully into the community. According to Drs. Maureen McGuire-Kuletz and Kenneth Hergenrather, directors of the Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education, there is a pressing need for more rehabilitation professionals as a generation of counselors prepares to retire. They discuss the intersection of disability and poverty, why this population has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what can be done to address these challenges. [Transcript for Episode 20]
Episode 19: Bringing an MBA Mindset to Education When Titilola Harley’s plan to become a teacher got derailed, she decided to channel her business acumen to make a difference in schools. Now she approaches education as a consultant, helping schools and organizations work through challenges they’ve struggled to address on their own. But even though she uses management tools to guide her recommendations, she firmly believes that teachers are the experts whose voices need to be heard for lasting change to happen, especially for our most vulnerable students. [Transcript for Episode 19]
Episode 18: Center on Education Policy - Boiling It Down to the Facts The GW Center on Education Policy (CEP) is celebrating 25 years as a trusted, independent source for education policy research and analysis. Since its founding, citizens and policy makers at all levels have turned to CEP for nonpartisan, evidence-based information about our system of public education. Maria Ferguson, Executive Director of CEP, shares how access to research without “spin”—especially related to controversial programs—is crucial to help create the conditions for better public schools. [Transcript for Episode 18]
Episode 17: Dealing with America’s Decentralized Education System Dr. Michael Usdan has had a long and distinguished career in education - as a teacher, school board president, university professor, college president, state commissioner of higher education, and institute president. Drawing from many years of experience in K-12 and secondary ed, he shares his thoughts on the advantages and challenges of our highly decentralized system, and whether its possible to address the variability across the U.S. in light of changing demographics and increased inequality. [Transcript for Episode 17]
Episode 16: Workforce Development in an Era of Change - “What if a robot takes my job?” What is the real impact of technology and process transformation on American workers? Are we doing enough to prepare the modern workforce at a time of growing inequality and stagnant wage growth? Dr. Mary Kay Vona, Principal in Ernst & Young LLP's People Advisory Services, and Dr. Ellen Scully-Russ, Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Learning, discuss the changing nature of work, talent shortages in the U.S., and curricula to support the jobs of the future. [Transcript for Episode 16]
Episode 15: Ed Tech, Online Learning and the Digital Access Divide In today’s world of instructional design, there are more tools available than ever before. Educational technology is incorporated across all learning environments, from K-12 and higher education to corporate, government, and military training. So how can teachers design quality instruction using technology to meet a variety of learners’ needs? Drs. Michael Corry and Natalie Milman discuss new information delivery methods, artificial intelligence tools, and whether the use of technology in schools has actually lessened the “digital access divide.” [Transcript for Episode 15]
Episode 14: Racial Disparities in College Student Health Heterosexual Black women have the 2nd highest rate of HIV infection as a group; however, Black women in college are nearly ignored in the HIV literature. Dr. Delishia Pittman discusses her research on the shared and unique risk factors of this population, whether online dating has increased the risks, and ongoing racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes. [Transcript for Episode 14]
Episode 13: International Education, Globally Speaking "Global education” builds cultural competencies, encourages the exchange of ideas and people, and develops human capital. Could the policies and practices of other countries shed light on ways to improve our own schools and colleges, especially in the neediest communities? Drs. James Williams and Laura Engel discuss lessons learned from abroad, how the U.S. is faring compared to other countries, and whether the rise of nationalism is leading to the end of the golden age of internationalization in education. [Transcript for Episode 13]
Episode 12: Why Accreditation Matters Would you want to be treated by a doctor whose medical school was not accredited? Probably not. So why don’t we hold the same high standards for teachers and school administrators? Dr. Chris Koch, President of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and former Illinois State Superintendent of Education, shares how ensuring quality in teacher/educator prep programs really makes a difference, especially for educators in schools with the most need. [Transcript for Episode 12]
Episode 11: Public Schools As Agile Organizations Can public schools become more adaptive, dynamic, and people-centered organizations? Is it possible to implement change in way that both empowers teachers and improves student outcomes? Sarah Beck, an award-winning school-based leader and former teacher, draws on the skills she learned as a business consultant to help promote school improvement and increase employee engagement in one of Virginia's largest and most diverse middle schools. [Transcript for Episode 11]
Episode 10: The Research-Practice Partnership Advantage Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs) create a two-way street between practitioners and researchers to address problems of practice and come up with solutions. Using this research, leaders can make data-informed decisions about the strategies that really work to improve their schools and school districts. Ruth Wattenberg, re-elected member of the D.C. State Board of Education, and Dr. Elizabeth Grant, associate professor in education policy, discuss the benefits and challenges of a potential RPP for Washington, D.C. in this episode of EdFix. [Transcript for Episode 10]
Episode 9: Improving School Mental Health for Children Living in Poverty How do we better identify, address, and prevent the behavioral health issues that become barriers to learning in our most underserved schools? The Bainum Family Foundation and the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS), part of GW's Milken Institute School of Public Health, are partnering on a project to expand school-based mental health services in D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8. Dr. Olga Acosta Price, Director of CHHCS, and Dr. Nisha Sachdev, Senior Director of Evaluation for the Bainum Family Foundation, share their approach to advancing the field of school mental health by bridging research, practice, policy, and philanthropy. [Transcript for Episode 9]
Episode 8: Tackling Inequality in America - One Foundation's Approach How do we move from understanding inequality to actually reducing inequality? According to Dr. Adam Gamoran, President of the William T. Grant Foundation, we should examine the responses to inequality - and not just its causes - to determine which programs and policies really work. In addition, we need to create incentives for researchers to ask questions whose answers are relevant to the pressing issues facing our most vulnerable populations. [Transcript for Episode 8]
Episode 7: The Charter School Debate In the United States, approximately 5% of children attend charter schools. So why are these schools such a hot topic among educators, advocates, policy makers, politicians, and parents? Dr. Iris Rotberg and Dr. Joshua Glazer, editors of the book Choosing Charters - Better Schools or More Segregation?, discuss the goals, challenges, and outcomes of the charter movement from different perspectives based on their research in the field. [Transcript for Episode 7]
Episode 6: Educating the Cybersecurity Workforce Should every student graduate from high school or college with a basic level of cybersecurity proficiency? And how do we best prepare - and encourage - the next generation to join the cybersecurity workforce? Host Michael Feuer speaks with Dr. Diana Burley, an internationally-recognized cybersecurity expert who led the taskforce to produce the first set of global cybersecurity curricular guidelines, about the field's global workforce shortage and diversity gap, the power of the human-cyber interaction, and the many opportunities and risks we all face as users of technology in today's world. [Transcript for Episode 6]
Episode 5: Community Schools - Responding to Neighborhood Needs Recorded live from the Community Schools National Forum 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland, host Michael Feuer speaks with education leaders about the goals and impact of community schools on students, families, and communities. The Forum, which takes place every two years, brings together more than 2,000 teachers, administrators, community advocates, families, policymakers, and others from around the country who are working in and for community schools. This podcast episode highlights conversations with colleagues from Baltimore’s Promise, Elev8 Baltimore, Family League of Baltimore, Coalition for Community Schools, National League of Cities, and the Institute for Educational Leadership. [Transcript for Episode 5]
Episode 4: "He looks like me!" How a Book Club for Boys Inspired a Culture of Reading at a D.C. School In 2010, only 20% of the students at D.C.’s Truesdell Education Campus could read on grade level. Eight years later, more than 87% can read on or above grade level--and they love reading! How did this school turn it around? Principal Mary Ann Stinson and Assistant Principal Michael Redmond II, both GSEHD doctoral students, share their creative strategies, data-driven approach, and unwavering commitment to closing the opportunity gap in their school community. [Transcript for Episode 4]
Episode 3: The Power and Potential of Positive Psychology for Students with Disabilities Is it possible to teach students to develop traits such as optimism, growth mindset, hope, perseverance, and resilience to help improve well-being and educational outcomes? Dr. Beth Tuckwiller and Dr. William Dardick talk about their joint research into the field of positive psychology--its potential for changing students' experiences in the classroom and the challenges of measuring its subjective factors. [Transcript for Episode 3]
Episode 2: The State of STEM Education - Arguing from Evidence How do we keep young people interested in science? Has the U.S. caught up with other countries in preparing students for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)? Dr. Jonathon Grooms discusses the state of STEM education in the U.S. and his research on engaging students in authentic science experiences. [Transcript for Episode 2]
Episode 1: Muslim Youth Identity and the Promise of Public Education Does the promise of American democracy still ring true for young Muslims in the United States today? And what role could schools play in addressing civic engagement for historically marginalized populations? Dr. Arshad Ali discusses his research on Muslim youth identity and the broader purpose of our American political and schooling systems. [Transcript for Episode 1]
- Meet the Host
Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Michael J. Feuer is Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Professor of Education Policy at the George Washington University, and Past President of the National Academy of Education.
Dean Feuer is a thoughtful leader, an inspiring professor, and an avid baseball fan. In his time, he has also been a disc jockey, an editor, and a political activist. Dean Feuer grew up in New York, where he attended public schools during an era of tremendous turbulence and transition. So it comes as no surprise that he is committed to tackling the great challenges in education today such as equity, access and inclusion, among others. As a strategic thinker, he supports GSEHD’s continued efforts to advance the profession of education through meaningful research that informs policy and improves practice.