Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on witf’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays.

Hosted by: Scott LaMar



Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Matt Paul and witf Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.

Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson



witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

RST: Teachers' education priorities

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 27, 2013 3:14 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, June 28:

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The topic of Friday's Radio Smart Talk is education.  Sounds a little broad -- doesn't it?

It may be the most important discussion Pennsylvanians can have but it is also one that encompasses many topics, branches off to other directions, and generates more questions than can be agreed upon or answered.

How can we improve education?  Do we spend enough money on education?  How much is enough?  What role do parents play in their child's education?  Do standardized tests really measure how much a student has learned?  Why do American students trail much of the rest of the world in certain subjects?  Are schools safe?  Who's to blame for failures -- teachers, administrators, government?  Are charter schools part of the answer?

Next week, the National Education Association is meeting in Atlanta to address the priorities of teachers around the country when it comes to education.

We decided to use the occasion to discuss Pennsylvania's educational priorities in the eyes of the state's largest teachers' union -- the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

It only makes sense that teachers in the classroom would be able to make suggestions on what works and what should be changed.  However, there are those who say unions representing teachers are part of the problem because they resist change and only look out for the interest of the rank-and-file.

How can education be improved?  Comment below.

Jerry Oleksiak.jpg

PSEA Vice President Jerry Oleksiak

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Comments: 2

  • shonda img 2013-06-28 09:12

    I would love to hear Scott Lamar do a program on homeschooling, particularly offensive homeschooling. I have been homeschooling for 9 years and the children (other homeschooling families) that I come in contact with are doing amazingly well. I would distinguish traditional homeschooling from cyberschooling as it is quite a different animal. I would also differentiate between offensive homeschoolers (families who were convinced they could just do better for their children than the traditional school options rather than families that have bad experiences and homeschool as a last resort (defensive homeschoolers.) We are relatively new to the Harrisburg area but the homeschooling community here is alive and well and thriving in many instances. The great thing for the government/economy is we still pay all of our taxes and cost the school districts nothing. I would love to hear this topic explored on WITF from a local perspective. Thanks for considering.

  • Robert Colgan img 2013-06-28 12:04

    I did call in, last call, and argued that our entire educational system is based on the lie that we need to "teach" our children. . . that somehow without being in a classroom "learning" the 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic) children won't be "educated" and won't know how to
    "learn."

    It's a false notion of reality.
    The reality is that every child is born with an innate curiosity about his/her world.
    As long as their basic needs (safety, nutrition, shelter, belonging, etc) are in place, children learn through PLAY.
    Rousseau said that children's work in his version of utopia would be to play-------play is a child's contribution to making the world a better place.

    We take that play away from children by putting them into school environments that consciously or unconsciously denigrate that play to unimportant, or unnecessary.

    Wrong.

    Play is as vital to the formation of a child as air/water/food------without it, they do not develop into fully mature and functional adult organisms.

    Our current system of schooling stunts children, stunts their development to adulthood.

    We could save a fortune if we eliminated most of the elementary school teachers and implemented play centers in our current K-8 schools in which the children both inside and outside would have the ability to play all day, at games and activities of their own device under the watchful eyes of guardian adults selected for their empathy to be around children and able to intervene only when necessary for protection.

    Educators do NOT understand this for one simple reason:
    their paychecks depend on the system staying as it is.
    They may be well-intentioned and want the best for the children, but they aren't aware how much they end up hurting the children by maintaining such a wrong-headed approach to "learning."

    With their curiosity about the world fully intact, by the time children reach their teens they're ready to take on more demanding scholastics such as are taught at the high schools and universities.
    And they will, if what is being taught is important to them.

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