EPISODE 6 - College Behind Bars

On Thursday, June 11 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we presented the sixth LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you missed the LIVE show, we post the edited version here by Monday over the weekend.

Originally, we intended to produce an episode about media's role as an educator, but that was before we started discussing the episode with Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, two names you may recognize from the production credits on numerous Ken Burns documentary series including The Vietnam War, Jazz, Baseball, and The War. And before we knew anything about Jule Hall, currently a program associate with the Ford Foundation's unit for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice.
This episode takes a long and careful look at their recent collaboration, College Behind Bars. This four-part series, currently available at no charge to educators and students, raises very big questions about the purpose of education and learning for individuals and for the larger community. It's a project about changing lives, and for that, it answers our original question about the role of media in learning (and, if you like, the role of public media in public learning), but that's only a small part of the big picture. As a rule, communities and nations underestimate the potential of their students and fail to hold everyone to the high standard that they deserve, and desire.
Please join us on Thursdays for the live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.
More about this week's guests:
5810905288?profile=RESIZE_400xLynn Novick directed and produced College Behind Bars. Novick is an Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. DuPont Columbia Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been directing and producing films about American history and culture, including The Vietnam War, an immersive, 10-part, 18-hour epic she directed with Ken Burns that aired on PBS in 2017. Novick and Burns have long been creative partners and collaborators and together are responsible for more than 80 hours of programming, including some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS: Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven-part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II. College Behind Bars is the first film she has directed.
5811001874?profile=RESIZE_400xSarah Botstein was the senior producer of College Behind Bars. She has been producing documentaries with Lynn Novick and Ken Burns for over two decades, including The Vietnam War, Prohibition, and The War. Botstein has for more than two decades produced some of the most widely-watched and acclaimed documentaries on PBS. Her work, in collaboration with directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, includes the award-winning epic ten-part series, The Vietnam War (2017), Prohibition (2011), The War (2007) and Jazz (2001). Botstein continues to produce and direct films on the American experience. She is currently directing (along with Burns and Novick) a film that examines the United States' response to the Holocaust and producing a three part-series on Ernest Hemingway and a five-part series on the American Revolution. She will also produce a project on Lyndon Johnson’s life and presidency, scheduled for 2027. In addition to the television broadcasts, Botstein works on digital and education initiatives, in collaboration with PBS Learning Media and WETA-TV. She also helps to produce and curate content for Ken Burns UNUM, a web-based platform employing cutting-edge technology and innovative design to highlight themes in American history.
5811075255?profile=RESIZE_400xJule Hall works as a program associate for the Ford Foundation, developing strategy and analyzing data for grants to advance, gender, racial and ethnic justice. He is the first formerly incarcerated person to be hired full-time by the foundation. Hall was the subject of an article in The New York Times.


4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
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Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.