Education Documentaries on WITF Radio

APMreports broadcasts three new education-themed documentaries beginning August 26

  • Fred Vigeant

APM Reports’ award-winning documentary returns to WITF with three new education specials this month.  APM Reports is a collection of investigative journalists and documentary producers, editors, researchers and digital producers dedicated to producing high quality reporting on issues that are often shrouded from public view. Tune in to hear these documentaries Monday August 26 to Wednesday August 28 at 9am and 7pm on WITF 89.5 & 93.3.  Episode descriptions:

Under a Watchful Eye: How colleges are tracking students to boost graduation

Monday August 26 at 9am & 7pm

Colleges need more students to graduate, so many are embracing a tool used by corporations and social media companies to track the clicks and movements of their customers: big data. Colleges collect a trove of information on their students, and private companies are helping them make predictions about who’s at risk of dropping out, or who’s unlikely to succeed in a major, so students can get extra help or be steered to subjects where they’re more likely to do well.

Reporter Jill Barshay of the Hechinger Report teams up with APM Reports to examine the growing use of predictive analytics to get more students across the finish line and deliver more revenue to school – and how that’s reshaping the college experience.

Students on the Move: Keeping uprooted kids in school

Tuesday August 27 at 9am & 7pm

Frequent moves are hard on kids. A growing body of research says children with unstable housing are more likely to struggle in school and more likely to drop out – and millions of children in the United States face housing challenges.

This documentary focuses on two groups who often change addresses – homeless kids and children of migrant farm workers – and explores efforts to help these students do well in school.

At a Loss for Words: What’s wrong with how schools teach reading

Wednesday August 28 at 9am & 7pm

There’s an idea about how people read words that’s deeply embedded in teaching practices and curriculum materials used in most elementary school classrooms. While the idea has been disproven by cognitive scientists, it continues to be taught in teacher preparation programs, promoted in professional development sessions, and marketed by publishers.

This documentary – a follow-up to last year’s “Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?” – investigates where the idea comes from, why it holds on, and how it harms kids.


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