What does it really mean to get a good education?
What is educational success?
The third season of WHYY’s Schooled podcast explores these questions and more through stories of different students fighting to escape poverty in Philadelphia. The four episode season will be released weekly starting on August 7.
Listen to the season trailer above.
‘Last Chance High,’ parts 1 and 2
Joshua Martinez grew up in poverty in a neighborhood where selling drugs is a way of life. At 16, he quit school, but soon feared he had put himself on a dead-end path. Seeking a better life, he enrolled in an alternative school specifically for high school dropouts.
There, a debate arises among faculty: for students who are far below grade level, how much should really be expected? What’s more important, building confidence and relationships, or academic mastery? Where’s the line for who deserves a diploma? We explore these questions through intimate portraits of students, like Joshua, as they fight to graduate.
‘Don’t Eat the Marshmallow’
Deena Swann went to a middle school that promised to change her life. It was one of Philadelphia’s first “no excuses” charter schools, where administrators implemented a militaristic discipline system and promoted a laser focus on college for students from low-income neighborhoods. They also regularly counseled students who didn’t embrace their methods to leave the school.
A dozen years later, we track down Deena and many of her former classmates to ask: in the long run, did the school live up to its promise? And how has the school’s original vision of success evolved?
‘Summer in the City’
A portrait of summer at a recreation center in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the threat of violent crime is never far off. Starting on the last day of school, we meet students — many living in nearby public housing — who embrace the structure set by staffers of Hank Gathers Recreation Center.
Schools in the neighborhood often struggle to keep students orderly and engaged. Why is the rec center so different? What educational role does it play in the lives of students, even if it isn’t formal schooling? And what impact could that have on the personal growth of students living amid daily reminders of violence and trauma?
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