Bob Barrett

Host/Producer, The Best Of Our Knowledge

Bob has been a part of the WAMC family since 2001.  He currently produces and hosts National Production's The Best Of Our Knowledge.  Over the years, Bob has produced The Environment Show and The Health Show for National Productions and hosted weekend mornings on WAMC for a decade. He is currently a reporter and on air host at WUWF Public Radio at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. 

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Our lives are changing faster than in just about any period in human history. And, if you’ll excuse the pun, that’s not going to change anytime soon. And some of the biggest changes have come from the ways we create, and consume, the arts. While music and literature are now more available than ever, it’s become almost impossible for someone to make the arts their life’s work…at least if they want to keeping, you know, eating.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, a look at how the advances of the 21st century are pounding the creative class.

The DREAM Act, legislation that would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to legally remain in the United States and gain resident status, has been introduced into both house of congress various times in various forms since 2001. It has yet to pass, or even be voted on in the senate. President Obama has put some aspects of the act into effect with executive orders, but there are students around the country who still hope the full act will someday become law.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we'll hear from a potential "Dreamer".

Arizona passed a law this month that made it the first state in the nation to mandate high school students pass a test in civics. we've been hearing about the decline of civics education for years...and one issue keeps arising: is it possible to keep politics out of civics?

For that matter, is keeping politics out of the classroom a good idea at all?

You may have noticed that as he approaches his final two years in office, President Obama is trying harder to put his imprint on life in the US…and with his recent proposal on making two years college available to everyone, he has started a whole new conversation on the importance of school beyond grade 12.

Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the president’s plan for universal community college.

We’ll also open up the political science classroom and talk about the situation in France with a professor who specialized in European politics.

College costs money.  A lot of money! And that’s one of the many reason that community colleges are becoming more popular with students.  There are over 12 million students enrolled in community colleges in the US. That’s over 45% of all college students. And over the past decade those numbers have been growing. But are community colleges getting the attention…and the money…they need to serve those students?

Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the state of community colleges in the US…and what needs to happen to keep them healthy and growing.

You meet the most interesting people when putting together a radio show. Week after week we get to sit down and chat with remarkable people who have accomplished, well, remarkable things. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we'll look back at a couple who really made an impression.

First we’ll play back our visit with Captain William Shepherd, the first commander of the international space station. Then it’s our chat with a mother and daughter who have written a superhero…where the heroes fight school bullies.

We’ve talked about some pretty important topics this year and as 2014 winds down we’d thought we’d take a couple of weeks and revisit some that really got your attention…and lit up our inbox.

We’ll start with a show from February. Four or five decades ago, a college education wasn't worth that much.  Sure, getting a degree opened a lot of doors and many parents encouraged their children to continue their education...but there were plenty of well paying jobs waiting for people with a high school diploma, or less. Today, that's not nearly the case.

Bob Barrett / WAMC News

43 years ago this month, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971, effectively starting the so-called War on Cancer.

The law greatly increased the amount of money earmarked for cancer research and scientific study. So, how’s that war going?

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, a conversation with the chief science officer of the American Cancer Society about the past, present future of cancer research.

We’ll also visit a high school in Niagara Falls that is devoting a lot of time and money into STEM education.

Mayo Clinic dot org

We’ve talked a lot about genetic testing on this program over the past year or so. The amount of data that can come from the human genome seems to be growing by the day.

And there are companies that are using that data to market genetic tests for home use. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about a test called 23 and Me…and find out why the FDA has banned it from being used as a genetic health screen in the US.

Even with all the innovations and new teaching techniques schools have introduced in the last few decades, the actual school day has looked pretty much the same.  Students go to class, listen to a teacher and take notes, then are off to do homework or study for an exam.  But there is a trend starting to take hold in some schools that reverses that school day. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about schools that are flipping classes…and how it has succeeded where other innovations have failed.

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