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.
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Host: Scott LaMar
For generations, American youth have been told that "if you work hard, do well in school and follow the rules, you can be anything you want to be." George Mason University Associate Professor Paul Gorski feels this version of the American Dream is fallacious.
In his book Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty, Gorski points to high-poverty school districts that are underfunded, yet have the same academic performance expectations as affluent districts as causation for a lack of achievement in low-income communities. He identifies educational elements such as quality instructors, safe and modern facilities, extracurricular activities and educational tutors as advantages students in poverty do not have and the way these obstacles stunt academic development over time; how the 'achievement gap' is really an 'opportunity gap.'
Gorski explains that rote memorization and standardized testing do little to educate youths and suggests strategies such as using music, art and theater to teach, connecting the curricula to the students with applicable real-life examples and discussing poverty and class bias in the classroom.
Paul Gorski joins Smart Talk to discuss the inequities in today's educational system, identify the mistakes that schools make in addressing the needs of students who live in poverty and some of the changes that can be made to create more opportunities for today's students.
Sheri Woodhouse - Principal, Steelton-Highspire High School
Highspire-Steelton High School Principal Sheri Woodall will talk about challenges faced by both the students and faculty at a high school where 75% of the students live below the poverty line.
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