• Sheldon Novick on Henry James, American Women, & Gilded-Age Fiction

    12 GIU 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and DFER's Alisha Searcy interview Henry James biographer Sheldon Novick. Mr. Novick discusses the complexities of Henry James’ life and writing career, highlighting his significant literary contributions, the influence of his family's intellectual legacy, and the realistic portrayal of social tensions in his works. Novick explores Henry James’ life experiences that shaped his novels like The Portrait of a Lady and The Golden Bowl. He shared more on James' important friendships, particularly with the novelist Edith Wharton, emphasizing James' enduring influence on modern fiction. In closing, Novick reads a passage from his biography Henry James.
    37 min. 8 sec.
  • USAF Academy’s Jeanne Heidler on Henry Clay & Congressional Statesmanship

    5 GIU 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Ret. MN Justice Barry Anderson interview USAF Academy’s professor emerita, Jeanne Heidler. Dr. Heidler discusses Henry Clay's legacy as a seminal figure in American history. She covers Clay's early life, his transformation from a Virginia farm boy to a leading statesman, and his being mentored in the law by Founding Father, George Wythe. Dr. Heidler explores Clay's key contributions to U.S. public service, including his diplomatic role in ending the War of 1812, as well as his legislative work during the Missouri Compromise, the Nullification Crisis, and the Compromise of 1850. She addresses Clay's controversial role in the Election of 1824 and his tenure as secretary of state. She continues by discussing Clay's private life, his wife Lucretia, his conflicting positions on slavery, and his enduring impact trying to preserve the Union. In closing, Dr. Heidler reads a passage from her co-authored book, Henry Clay: The Essential American.
    39 min. 7 sec.
  • Israeli Harvard Student Maya Shiloni on Campus Antisemitism

    29 MAG 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and DFER’s Alisha Searcy interview Harvard student Maya Shiloni. Ms. Shiloni discusses her Israeli upbringing, academic journey at Harvard, and experiences as a world-class dancer. She addresses leadership crises in higher education, religious toleration, and the impact of the October 2023 Hamas attacks on Israel. In closing, Shiloni also highlights her aim to bridge understanding on American campus issues and international conflicts. Maya Shiloni is an Israeli-American student at Harvard College studying Government and Economics with a citation in Arabic. She is an opinion editor with The Crimson, Harvard's leading student newspaper. In 2023, Maya interned for Knesset Member Meirav Cohen, and this summer, she will be working for Congressman Josh Gottheimer. She is also three-time gold medalist at the Dance World Cup, the largest international dance competition.
    42 min. 50 sec.
  • Kimberly Steadman of Edward Brooke on Boston's Charter School Sector

    22 MAG 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Steven Wilson interview Kimberly Steadman, co-director of Edward Brooke Charter Schools. Steadman reflects on her educational background and leadership in urban charter public schools. She discusses the importance of rigorous academic expectations for K-12 students, and how this outlook influences her educational philosophy co-directing the Brooke charter school network. Ms. Steadman shares the challenges faced by Massachusetts charters due to the post-2016 ballot loss, and how she and other charter public school leaders advance supportive policy reforms.
    38 min. 32 sec.
  • Cheryl Brown Henderson on the 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

    15 MAG 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Dr. Jocelyn Chadwick interview Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education. She explores her family's pivotal role in the Brown case, detailing her father’s part within the NAACP's wider legal strategy. Cheryl discusses the influence of religious faith on the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the impact of segregation on her family, and their courageous decision to confront the legal barriers to racial equality in K-12 education. She emphasizes the ongoing need for comprehensive school reform leadership that will address the racial disparities still found across American public education.
    44 min. 25 sec.
  • POLITICO’s Peter Canellos on Justice John Marshall Harlan & Plessy v. Ferguson

    8 MAG 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve co-hosts U-Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and DFER's Alisha Searcy interview POLITICO's Peter Canellos, biographer of Justice John Marshall Harlan. Mr. Canellos delves into Harlan's upbringing in a prominent slaveholding family, his Civil War service in the Union Army, and his rapid rise in Kentucky politics as a Republican. He highlights John Harlan’s mixed-race half-brother Robert Harlan and key legal precedents like the notorious Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which influenced Harlan's views on race and equality. Canellos explores Harlan's famously farsighted dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), emphasizing its significance in laying the groundwork for future civil rights legal victories, notably Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In closing, Mr. Canellos reads a passage from his book, The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero.
    48 min. 39 sec.
  • Colonel Peter Hayden on U.S. Cyber Command & National Security

    1 MAG 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve, co-hosts University of Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson interview General Counsel of U.S. Cyber Command, Colonel Pete Hayden. He shares insights about growing up in western Massachusetts, attending law school, his military service, and emphasizes the legal aspects of his national security work. Col. Hayden discusses Cyber Command's mission, distinguishing it from the NSA, while stressing the importance of defending the nation in cyberspace. He talks about Cyber Command's daily operations and international cooperation, highlighting partnerships with various entities, and the delicate balance of public engagement and classified national security. In closing, Col. Hayden advises young people on navigating the complexities of technology and encourages aspiring military legal professionals.
    41 min. 48 sec.
  • Hoover at Stanford’s Stephen Kotkin on Stalin’s Tyranny, WWII, & the Cold War

    24 APR 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts University of Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Mariam Memarsadeghi interview Stanford University senior fellow and biographer of Joseph Stalin, Dr. Stephen Kotkin. He explores Stalin's origins, consolidation of power, and his Communist despotism. Kotkin delves into Stalin's cunning political maneuvers, his complex relationships with other Soviet leaders like Lenin and Trotsky, and the devastating consequences of his regime, including the forced collectivization and mass starvation of millions. Additionally, Dr. Kotkin examines Stalin's role as a wartime leader, his alliances with Western powers, and the far-reaching implications of the Nazi-Soviet pact. He shares a preview of the forthcoming third volume of his Stalin biography, offering insights into Stalin's Soviet Union during the post-WWII era and the early years of the Cold War. In closing Dr. Kotkin reads a passage from his first volume, Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928.
    1 h 7 min. 20 sec.
  • Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner on Educational Pluralism & Democracy

    17 APR 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts University of Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Charlie Chieppo interview Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Education Policy director, Dr. Ashley Berner. She discusses educational pluralism's role in improving K-12 performance, exploring European models and the impact of U.S. school choice programs. Dr. Berner analyzes universal ESAs and vocational-technical schooling, addressing persistent academic struggles and civic knowledge gaps. She shares how the potential of liberal arts education could unify a divided society. In closing Dr. Berner reads from her new book, Educational Pluralism and Democracy: How to Handle Indoctrination, Promote Exposure, and Rebuild America’s Schools. 
    40 min. 2 sec.
  • 39th U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for National Poetry Month

    10 APR 2024 · This week on The Learning Curve, guest co-hosts University of Arkansas Prof. Albert Cheng and Dr. Jocelyn Chadwick interview renowned poet and Boston University professor, Robert Pinsky. He discusses his memoir Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet; the enduring influence of sacred texts like the Psalms; and the wide cultural significance of classic poets like Homer and Shakespeare. Through his book Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry, he shares his views on the  vital role of poetry in shaping a vibrant American democracy. Pinsky also talks about the power of poetry in inspiring social change, the importance of reading poetry aloud, and the timeless wisdom embedded in classic poetry, like his translation of Dante's Inferno. In closing, Pinsky reads his poem “Shirt."
    44 min. 28 sec.

“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...

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“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 micaela@pioneerinstitute.org.
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