The Best Of Our Knowledge

Fridays, 3pm - 3:30pm

Every day, faculty members at schools and universities throughout the world are making discoveries that shape our ways of thinking and redefine our understanding of today's knowledge-driven society. Since 1990, The Best of Our Knowledge has highlighted breakthroughs across disciplines and across the globe, putting you in touch with the men and women at the forefront of their fields. Each week this program examines some of the issues unique to college campuses, looks at the latest research, and invites commentary from experts and administrators from all levels of education.

Twitter: @TBOOKnowledge

Ways to Connect

WUWF Radio

Bob  was kind of tempted to start today’s program with a rhyme, but decided he's not that talented or hokey. Poetry, the real stuff not anything he could come up with, is everywhere…if you know where to look.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll meet Jeff Newberry, an English Professor and Poet in Residence at an agricultural college in Georgia who is also a published poet that turned his love of his home along the Gulf Coast into verse.

Science has given us a way to have our individual genomes sequenced, opening up a vault of information about our genetic makeup and possibly our future health. But if information is generated…there will be people trying to get a hold of it.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, just how private are your genetic building blocks?

Next we’ll go from science to history and find out about a newly discovered letter that may shed light on the presidential election of 1876.

A couple of weeks ago we ran a segment talking about a new report on the state of charter schools in the US. The report was released by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and though it was factual it certainly highlighted the advantages of charters. I’ve been asked to give an opposing view and realized we already had.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, my talk with former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who calls the privatization movement a Reign of Error.

C2 Education

Beginning March 5th, students around the country will sit and take the S.A.T….and it will be very different. In what some are calling the biggest overhaul to the exam in a century, it will look different, be scored differently and, hopefully, better measure a student’s chance for success in college.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a national leader in SAT preparation about the new exam.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

This is the 25th year that charter schools have been operating in the US, and new report says that, enrollment wise, they are doing better than ever. Hundreds of new charter schools have opened this year. However, a couple hundred have closed. And the head of a national charter school group says that’s fine with them.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll catch up with the charter school movement.

Nearly 75 years ago, a troubled young boy in Mississippi made history. He was the first person diagnosed with Autism. Since then, the scientific community has worked hard to understand the cause of the condition…while parents struggled even harder to have their children accepted in society.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the award winning journalists who wrote a comprehensive new history of Autism.

We’ll also spend an academic minute discovering a lost part of the human brain.

Facebook

Reaction has been coming in from all sides on President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The reaction from Republican presidential candidates was as negative as you’d expect. The other side of the aisle was more positive. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, a conversation with, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

The White House
The White House

He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. That’s the line from Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution that has morphed into the president’s annual state of the union address. And most years, that address has a section devoted to education. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll review President Obama’s final state of the union.

Equator Network

It takes a long to time research and report findings in a scientific journal.

So after all that work, you’d like of think those scientists would be good at actually writing the reports. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about STARD, a statement of standards for scientific reporting. And how they’re being updated.

We’ll also hear about the lights being used to study Lake Champlain, learn about efforts to save a dying language in the Northwest and spend an academic minute exploring your inner feelings about the United Nations.

Bob Barrett

Whether it’s done with pen and paper, computer, tablet, even stone and chisel, writing has been and will continue to be one of the signature means of communication. Teaching writing is as important as ever…as is getting teachers the tools and training to be effective writing mentors to students.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the National Writing Project, and how it’s expanding into an area of the country that really needs it.

And another one bites the dust. Before we kick 2015 to the curb for good, let’s listen back to conversations with some really interesting people we had this year. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll listen again to Pat Bradley’s interview with Alan Alda when he came to Vermont to open an institute for scientific communication.

William L. Clements Library / University of Michigan

Happy holidays! This time of year we always look back and listen again to some stories about interesting people we met during the year.

UWF Historic trust

Quick, what’s the oldest city in the continental United States? If you said St. Augustine…bingo; you’re mostly right. That small city on Florida’s east coast is the oldest continuously occupied European-established community in the states. But the people who built that settlement weren’t the first to try to put down roots in what would become the Sunshine State.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, a look at how Florida is trying to preserve its history.

Do you remember the movie "Mean Girls"? The screenplay to the 2004 film was written by Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star Tina Fey, who also had a role in the film. The movie was a worldwide hit and remains almost a cult favorite 10 years later. But did you know it was based on a non-fiction book called "Queenbees and Wannabees"?

In 2012, the New York Times Magazine published a detailed story about the sexual abuse of students at the Horace Mann School, an upscale private college preparatory school in the Bronx. As you might expect, the story got a lot of attention…but has prompted very little change.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of that article who has expanded the story into a new book called “Great Is The Truth:  Secrecy, Scandal, and the Quest for Justice at the Horace Mann School” .

From technology and test scores to Common Core, curriculums and teaching techniques are changing all over the country. And a lot of different sources are weighing in on what those changes should look like. But are the students getting enough input in the process…and should they?

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the question of student voice in the education system.

We’ll also meet a young man from the UK who says he’s addicted to selfies. And we’ll spend an academic minute with onomatopoeia.

Is solving a university level math problem your idea of fun? Then have I got a book for you. A professor from Oxford University in the UK has complied over 100 of these problems for people who love a good math puzzle.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, a look at Professor Povey’s Perplexing Problems.

We’ll also listen in on a public session on Common Core in Northern New York State, and spend an academic minute building a better bridge.

Cornell University via Facebook

There’s a group at Cornell University called the Cornell Alliance for Science, and they are holding a special event this month featuring global leaders talking about food insecurity and the challenges of farmers in countries around the world. But one of the major topics has some people in the US questioning the efforts. The topic: Genetically Modified Organisms.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear the pros and cons of GMOs in the developing world.

GED Testing Service

A group of major employers in the US have gotten together to provide their employees with a free path to further their education. And we’re not talking about technical education or masters degrees.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about GED Works…and new program to help employees finally get their GED..

We’ll also hear how many school districts in New York State are looking to opt out of new teacher evaluation standards, find out about enriching the education of young people in paradise…and spend an academic minute studying the sturdiest part of a turtle.

Unfortunately, sexual assaults on college campuses are not unusual. This year, a new law took effect hoping to make students safer. Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear if the Campus Save Act is making a difference in a state with a high assault rate.

We’ll also travel to Portugal and hear how art is helping students build self-esteem, find out how teachers can avoid cyber traps waiting for them on line, and spend an academic minute figuring out just how Mexican your favorite Mexican restaurant is.

Anyone who enjoys trivia probably knows that Humphry Bogart never actually says “Play it again, Sam” in Casablanca, and Captain Kirk never says “Beam me up, Scotty” in Star Trek. But what about these quotes: Cleanliness is next to godliness. God works in mysterious ways. For years many people have assumed these came from the bible. Spoiler alert – they don’t. Or at least they didn’t.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the lost book of Hezekiah that finally gives a home to those phantom biblical ditties.

NOAO/AURA/NSF

A while back we had a great discussion about cosmic voids…and how they are everywhere and take up a huge amount of space in the universe. One thing we heard about that day was Dark Energy. Now, scientists from around the country are launching a new project that hopes to expand our understanding just what the heck that is!

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to one of the researchers chosen to participate in the DESI Project.

We’ll also keep it dark by spending an academic minute learning a little more about Dark Matter.

What do you think about when you hear the name Jack London? Probably American heroes and adventure stories. But the author was also a social advocate who championed the poor and railed against income inequality. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from the author of a new book on Jack London as an adventurer and social warrior.

We’ll also spend an academic minute looking at the influence of violent video games.

So, if you were with us last week, you heard the story of Riverview High School. The school was a pseudonym for an academically successful but racially divided school in the Midwest. Today, it’s a story of a different school…Mission High, a real school in the San Francisco Bay area that by all the metrics used to measure schools today is failing. But after spending a lot of time at the school, a reporter found out there was more to Mission High than met the eye. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from that reporter who spent four years at Mission High.

Oxford University Press

There’s a well-funded suburban high school in the Midwest that has an issue. It’s racially diverse, but once classes begin the sessions are anything but integrated…and school officials can’t figure out why. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from one of the researchers called in to explain and help solve the racial achievement gap at Riverview High.

We’ll also spend an academic minute exploring the quality of your personal boredom.

Ever drive down the road and pass one of those historical markers a lot of places erect and wonder what it's all about? You can do that a lot...and if you stopped at all of them you'd never really get anywhere. Not to worry, there's an app for that. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we'll talk to the people behind Next Exit History, and learn how a stop for coffee on a road trip turned into nationwide historical database.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A liberal arts education teaches students how to think. OK, I’m not really going to stop but yes, most of us have heard that little nugget more than once. The thing is over the past decade or three we’ve become more interested in the bottom line. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, a discussion about the future the liberal arts, in what’s called the neoliberal age.

We’ll also hear how a group of performers are using comedy to teach about disability…and spend an academic minute with your lying liar kids.

A recent study of business school across the country shows a consistent disparity in the gender of students enrolling in these programs. To put that in plain English: it appears there are more men than women who want to be accountants. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a leading woman in the field and see if she sees the same thing happening in real life.

We’ll also hear about a class in college survival 101, find a community college that’s giving dropouts a second chance and spend an academic minute getting into shape by taking a nap.

I had a long, very enjoyable conversation with an elementary school principal last week as she was getting ready for the new school year. One topic we kept coming back to was dealing with students who have seizures in class…which is apparently a lot more common than you’d think. And it seems not all seizures are created equal.

Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll listen to a conversation with two doctors who specialize in Epilepsy, and see how this condition is affecting more and more lives.

We’ll also spend an academic minute getting into some heavy metal!

Nothing about sexual assault is easy…not even talking about it. But at colleges and universities across the country, that conversation is finally starting. Today on the Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how some schools are changing the rules of consent from no means no to yes means yes.

Then we’ll talk to three young women who have chosen to start a career in the military after high school…head to Afghanistan to see how refugees orphans are getting an education…and spend an academic minute with college returnees finally completing theirs.

Pages