“The Learning Curve” is where you’ll find straight talk about the nation’s hottest education stories - news and opinion from the schoolyard to the 2020 campaign trail. Co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal serve up provocative commentary on the issues that impact parents and kids, teachers and students, political leaders, policymakers and taxpayers all across the country. “The Learning Curve” features school leaders, innovators, bestselling authors, policymakers and more on how we’ll use education to prepare the next generation of Americans. Follow The Learning Curve on Send any suggestions, tips, and fan mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK’s Laura Thompson on Agatha Christie, Queen of Crime Mystery
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Mariam Memarsadeghi and Mary Connaughton interview Laura Thompson, a New York Times bestseller and the award-winning author of Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life. Ms. Thompson provides an overview of Agatha Christie's life and career, gaining insights into her literary contributions and the enduring popularity of her detective novels. She explores the timeless appeal of Dame Agatha's iconic characters, such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and discusses the influence of her writing on the mystery genre as a whole. They weigh in on the various adaptations of Christie's works into film, television, and theater, shedding light on the fascination with her intricate plots, and her own mysterious disappearance in 1926. Ms. Thompson concludes the interview with a reading from her biography of Agatha Christie.
John Steele Gordon on America's Economic Rise
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Derrell Bradford interview John Steele Gordon, the author of 10 books on business, economic, and technology history. They discuss the keys to America’s transformation into the world’s foremost economic power, from its grounding in British legal, political, and financial institutions into the political economy of the Founding era, with the establishment of intellectual property law and copyrights. Mr. Gordon analyzes the economic impact of the Civil War, slavery, tariff battles, and key figures from the Gilded Age, as well as how America emerged from two world wars to become a financial powerhouse. He assesses the innovation that has created global giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, and the U.S.’s massive national debt and economic prospects for competitiveness in the twenty-first century. Mr. Gordon concludes the interview with a reading from his book An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power.
Dr. Ramachandra Guha on Gandhi's Enduring Legacy
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Mariam Memarsadeghi interview writer and biographer Dr. Ramachandra Guha. The author of a definitive two-volume biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Guha discusses Gandhi’s formative educational experiences, spirituality, political leadership, and philosophy of non-violent resistance, as well as his emphasis on moral self-reliance, interfaith dialogue, and social justice. He reviews Gandhi’s career, including how his experiences in the U.K. and South Africa prepared him to become a national leader in India, his role in the 1930 Salt March, and the push for Indian independence. Guha discusses Gandhi’s enduring legacy and influence on movements for freedom around the world. He concludes with a reading from Gandhi Before India, the first volume of his biography.
On Chicago, School Reform, and Teachers' Unions
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Mary Tamer, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, Massachusetts, speak with Paul Vallas, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and a candidate for mayor of that city earlier this year. Vallas talks about the professional lessons he drew from public leadership, how he financed the largest infrastructure investment program in over a century in the city, and how he closed deficits and balanced budgets as head of the Chicago Public Schools. He also reflects on Chicago politics, the challenge of bargaining with teacher unions, the state of charter public schools in Chicago, and the growing political power of teachers' unions in large urban areas.
U-Ark. Prof. Albert Cheng on Classical Education & School Choice
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Charlie Chieppo and Alisha Searcy speak with Albert Cheng, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Education Reform in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. Professor Cheng talks about the importance of classical education for guiding educational philosophy and practice and shaping the character of students. He reflects on how mathematics informs the kind of education students need in the twenty-first century and discusses tensions in K-12 policymaking between progressive education theories and the liberal arts based in academic content, as well as debates over school choice, educational content, and accountability.
Jay Parini on Thirteen Books That Changed America
This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts Alisha Searcy and Mariam Memarsadeghi interview Jay Parini, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College. A poet, professor, and author of literary biographies, Parini discusses how he came to write Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America. From William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation through The Federalist Papers, Thoreau’s Walden, and works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and W.E.B. Du Bois, Parini explores how key works of fiction and nonfiction have shaped the American mind and character and guided our understanding of ourselves as a people and a nation. He closes the interview with a reading from Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America.
Yet another fantastic interview!
You guys have the best guests. I wonder if I’ll live long enough to get through my Learning Curve reading list. John and Abigail Adams’ works are moving to the top of my list. Thank you all!
Tackling the Nation’s Worst Problem
The great Bob Bowden continues his long crusade on behalf of the nation’s most vulnerable children.