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Alternative Educations

 May 19, 2023 at 12:00 AM PDT

S1: Now playing on the Parker Edison project. I look into places expanding ideas of education.

S2: And I didn't think of it as ethnic studies , right ? I wouldn't teach ethnic studies back then humanities. But caring about what kids had to say , where they come from , who they are. That was my passion.

S1: That's up next on the Parker Edison Project.

S3: Mr. Thompson from my high school , I think because when he was my humanities teacher and so he introduced me to a lot of topics that I was kind of aware of with , but we were able to dive a lot deeper into. Like , every day was a new day. He ignored my red eyes. Sometimes , you know , he like showing up every week or two in class. You know , he kind of looked past that , talked to me with concern sometimes and then all the time with compassion.

S4: This is Belinda from National City , California. And you're now listening to the Parker Edison Project on KPBS , PBS.

S1: Good morning and welcome to season three of the PEP. I want to start this episode off by saying thank you , Mark Serafin of Sarah High School. You're quite possibly the worst thing anybody mind should have ever been stifled by. Because of you. I still hate math. This is a true impact of teachers. A little bit raw. Hella , hella real. It's similar to being an airplane pilot in the sense that doing a poor job can ruin multiple lives simultaneously. On the flip side , a good teacher is good medicine , repairing future long term ailments that will trouble us as a whole. This episode explores the recent and wonderful practices that are being put into play to teach curriculums that serve the whole person , not just a series of educational goal marks that merely yield a spot in the workforce. These are efforts that genuinely educate the whole person , factoring in mental , physical and social components. I met my first guest in a professional capacity when she was assigned to my school campus to get staff up to speed on an important course in concept.




S2: It's the study of the perspectives , contributions , experiences and knowledge of people of color with the central focus on antiracism.


S2: I taught humanities to ninth graders down in Chula Vista , and I've always just cared about students finding themselves. I'm teaching history , so our students connecting to the curriculum. And I didn't think of it as ethnic studies , right ? I didn't teach ethnic studies back then humanities. But caring about what kids had to say , where they come from , who they are. That was my passion. And then when I transitioned into my doctorate program at the University of San Diego , I just had this wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. James Dobbie. And he has a long history in ethnic studies. Used to be an admin at a school up in Sacramento where they embedded ethnic studies into everything , and he taught ethnic studies as well up there. And so he's was kind of one of the pioneers of bringing ethnic studies into high schools and K-12 spaces. And I got to work with him and he was like , Hey , I'm trying to connect with the local people in San Diego who are doing this work. Can you go find them for me ? Because he was not from here. And so I started sending out emails and finding out who's doing this work. And it turns out to be a bunch of people doing this work down in San Diego. At that time , it was still hadn't really been implemented. It was just an idea. And so I started just connecting with those people. More from the university side , looking at helping San Diego Unified implement ethnic studies into their classes and get it going. And then I finished my doctoral work and this position opened up and I just I was like , yes , like this is it. And since I had that experience as a teacher , I was like , This was always something that I wanted to do. And I love how ethnic studies pushes even further because it's not just about students identities. It's also about the systems that they're a part of and helping them understand how those systems and how that history influences who they are. And then ideating , what's the world's going to look like after this as well ? We like to say ethnic studies isn't just a content , it's not just about the stories , but it's also about how you're doing those stories. So students are really engaging with it as whole people. They're developing a sense of who they are and of imagining what they want that world to be. So I love that that comes through.


S2: And so that's that's a huge thing. Ethnic Studies has a really interesting origin story because it came out of a student led movement. And in the 1960s , they called themselves the Third World Liberation Front , kind of building off of those so-called third world nations that were fighting for self-determination and decolonization in the wake of the world wars. What they were doing is they were fighting to see more representation of faculty of color , more representation of their own histories , and demanding to see an ethnic studies college. At that time , that was the longest student strike , five months long. And I love that because when you think about ethnic studies as a. Discipline. You're thinking this is led by the students. This was advocacy from students for this space. And so now when I'm in ethnic studies spaces , I just I think about those young folks like doing this work with all of the unbridled passion of the youth. They push and they made it happen. By the 80s , you saw there were hundreds of ethnic studies colleges. I want to.


S2: Are they synonymous ? No. Ethnic studies , an academic discipline. It has a specific type of content. It's interdisciplinary as a subject that we study in school. Critical race theory is a theory. It was developed in the 70s by Harvard law professor Derrick Bell , and he just was using it to understand the way race and racism become embedded in social institutions like law and policy. And when you put on that , that lens , when you wrote that set of glasses , you can start to see things that you might not have otherwise seen. That's what that is. Now , ethnic studies , you know , it also deals with the perspectives and knowledge and experiences of people of color with a focus on anti-racism. So we're also pointing out the way race and racism is interacting in our lives and in institutions. So it does some of that , but it uses other theories as well. It's not that's one lens that you can look at , but we can also look at things through the lens of class. We can look at things through the lens of gender. So we're using a lot of different glasses that we put on to help students make sense of the complex world that we live in and make sense of complex things. I think that they get coupled together a little bit in mainstream media because we've seen a lot of legislation in the recent years attacking critical race theory , seeing it as prescriptive instead of what it is , which is descriptive. It's not telling us how we have to make conclusions about things we see. But there's some discomfort because the ways that we have looked at things before privilege certain voices over others and made invisibles or invoices. And so now when you're saying like , let's make those things visible , then people get a little uncomfortable. They're like , Well , I hadn't seen that before. That's a first step in starting to build cross-racial understanding by just acknowledging and respecting perspectives that we previously were not acknowledging or respecting at all. And so I think that there is a connection , but they're not the same thing because ethnic studies , it predates critical race theory. So it can't be the same thing. They come from really different spaces. What's the end.


S2: They're leaving within a renewed sense of themselves , their racialized and ethnic identities. They're leading with a developing and appreciation of the stories of people of color and indigenous communities. They're developing a critical consciousness , being able to critically read the world and understand the world , understand their place in the world , and reflect on what they might do in that world. Ultimately , at the end of an ethnic studies class , I would hope students would be able to conceptualize what a more just future would look like.


S2: If you have a local school , we go to board meetings and ask for this. Ask when is this happening ? Ask where is ethnic studies ? And then I think the second thing they can do is they can learn what ethnic studies is and isn't and they can share about that to kind of demystify. Is there some idea that this is supposed to teach kids to hate themselves or teach them that that they don't belong , But in fact , it is to be. The exact opposite of that is to teach kids who they are , what their histories are , to build cross-racial understandings so that we can conceptualize a better future for us all. That's what it's about. It's the purpose. And so learning to share.

S1: Equal is we all need vitamin C , so we all get two free oranges. Fairness is when you're allergic to oranges , so you get two free vitamin C pills instead. Equal is us all getting the same fares , us all getting exactly what we need. This is a powerful gateway concept grasping. It makes it a lot easier to understand how black and brown people need a more inclusive education where white and European people might be able to benefit from realigning perspectives to factor in and that might have been excluded from their education. I'm going to switch lanes. Still , in the spirit of alternate education , I study a lot of places , and one of the most intricately detailed of them is Cole Kushner's podcast Dissect a series that thoughtfully analyzes songs and albums to a collegiate degree. I'm absolutely honored to have him on just for a few minutes. If you're an art nerd like I am , this is for you.

UU: I'm sure you are.

S6: Howdy , y'all. This is. Movies.

S5: Movies. Millennials should movie on your host. King dies. Musician , social commentator. And. Connoisseur of only the finest cheeseburger. It is my pleasure to introduce my guest , Cole Kushner.


S5: I really want to know about your TEDTalk experience.

S8: It's very nerve wracking , as you might imagine. So I felt really comfortable in the material because I kind of treated it as a truncated version of a dissect episode. But before going on stage , it was , you know , heart racing , that type of thing. But all that to say , I felt actually very proud of myself that I executed it in a way that I did. When you accomplish the thing that you're nervous about , there's really no better feeling from a personal standpoint. It was definitely kind of a career highlight. It was deeply. Impactful.

S5: Impactful. If for some reason our listeners are living under a rock and they don't know what the Dissect podcast is. Maybe you could tell us like what it is and how it came about.

S8: This long story short is I've been a lifelong musician , started playing music when I was 13 or something. I just love music. Ever since the moment I picked up the first guitar , I was self-taught musician. Then I went to college to study music formally for the first time , and I really fell in love with that educational world in terms of like using music to broaden your worldview and give yourself kind of an education. When I was studying like Beethoven in college , not only do you have to dissect the music , you actually have to dissect who Beethoven was and the era that he was living in to really understand everything about this piece , because all that's reflected in the music and so really the genesis of the show of Dissect was like , what if I did that ? But with contemporary artists , what if I studied Kendrick Lamar in the same way that I studied Beethoven ? And that was really the initial premise of the show ? Like , what if we treated the artists that were going to study 100 years from now ? Right now , like , what do we did that today and don't wait till after they die. Essentially what I do is pick one album per season and every episode of that season , one song off the album. And so it becomes a pretty comprehensive look at one album each season.




S8: So it was something I was just doing at night as the personal passion project that I didn't really expect amount to much at all. You know , signing with Spotify and at that moment , then being able to quit my job and just do dissect full time for the past five years. Now , that was , I would say , the most memorable thing.

S5: Let's jump into today's theme , which is movies with amazing soundtracks. What we do is we give our answer and then we rate it using some emojis. So today I'm going to go with Black Is King.

S9: You were formed by the heat of the galaxy. What a thing to be both unique and familiar. To be one in the same. And still unlike any other.

S5: Black is King is a film that is sort of a reimagining of Disney's The Lion King , starring the Queen Bee herself , Beyonce Knowles. And the soundtrack features Kendrick Lamar , Childish Gambino , Jay-Z , Wizkid , Major Lazer for Real. Williams I could keep going. One thing I really appreciate about the soundtrack is that it gives a platform to African artists and Afrobeats as a genre , and I'm going to give our listeners three songs I really liked off the soundtrack to listen to when they get a chance. And those are going to be already with Beyonce. And I'm I apologize in advance if I butcher these names , but Shatta , Wale and Major Lazer , they're score with 070 shake and Jessie Reyez. My last one that I really like is Don't jealous me with techno Lord Africana Mr. Eazy and give me a lady I'm going to break. Thank you. Thank you. I'm going to rate black as king is going to get five black squares. It's deep. It's amazing and I think it's a gem for the culture.

S8: I love Alfred Hitchcock. And my favorite movie by him probably is Vertigo.

UU: You believe that someone out of the.

S10: Past , someone dead. Enter and take possession of a living.

S11: You jumped into the bay , you didn't know where you were. You guessed it. You didn't know. I didn't. Jump.

S12: Jump. I fell. You told me.

S8: Super haunting , beautiful , mysterious. Everything you'd want from a Hitchcock film. He scores it beautifully. So if you haven't seen Vertigo , think it's a brilliant movie. Beautiful , gorgeous stuff. So would have to. I'm trying to think of what one would be. Oh , you know , it has to be the the spiral emoji , because the bird video , I'll give it a five spiral because the vertigo is the thing is spiral. So to the spiral.

S5: Well , where can people catch the newest season of Dissect.

S8: The Partner with Spotify ? So it's kind of exclusive to the Spotify platform. You don't actually need a premium account , you just need the app. The free account will work to listen to podcasts on there so anyone can listen to it. But yeah , it's on Spotify. We're doing our the Creators Igor right now. We just started the season a couple of weeks ago.

S5: This has been movies , millennial shit movie. I'm your host , King Dice , musician , social commentator and connoisseur of fine cheeseburgers. You guys keep watching movies and we'll keep talking about it aged.

S13: Stay tuned for more of the pep. Pep.

S14: In 2023. Hip hop is turning 50 years old , and there's no better way to celebrate this monumental anniversary than by playing the question's hip hop trivia game. Based on the acclaimed live event turned online show and podcast of the same name. The questions hip hop trivia features 300 cards to challenge and entertain everybody from casual listeners to the most diehard liner note reading rap nerds. The questions , hip hop trivia available wherever you get games and books or order yours at questions. Hip

S4: And now back to the Parker Edison Project on KPBS , PBS.

S1: Welcome back. Alternative education. Okay , let's take this concept and go a little further. The mind is amazing , but how do we feed it and where do we get our fuel ? It's a scientifically proven fact that a properly fed and watered body is more productive. I wonder if there are local places that educate us on how to feed both.



S1: That's Jenny. She's been assigned to show me around.


S6: Describe what you do here.

S15: So I'm the director of youth programs here , and I oversee all of our educational programs. So that includes our field trip program , where fourth graders come and experience three fourth grade field trips each school year. And for National School District , who has ten elementary schools , that's ten schools. All fourth graders get to come and hang out here and learn some outdoor science and nutrition education. Then that's just one of our programs. We also have a school based program where we are in all of the ten elementary schools , delivering three lessons to each student from TK all the way through sixth grade , right in their school gardens where they're growing food. We're also doing high school internship and leadership programs with our high school students where they're able to learn about sustainable urban agriculture , basic gardening skills and kitchen skills , as well as learning about social justice and taking action in their community.


S15: And historically in national city , there isn't as much fresh fruit access as there are in other communities. So exposing students to that , it's really important and that's something that also inspires them to take action in their community in order to advocate for.


S15: The Walton family used to live at this property , and they have a son named Lucas. And when Lucas was three , he developed a form of rare cancer. And so a mother , as what mother does , is try to do everything in her control to cure her son. And so the only thing in her control that she could do at that time was to grow organic fruits and veggies for him so that he could have the best nourishment as possible. Lucas ended up beating cancer and fruits and vegetables specifically was not the exact cure for Lucas. However , it created a biome. It created a system that was strong so that he could fight and he could beat the he could beat the disease.

S6: What would you say is one of the most important values that you.


S15: And so coming here , we call our all of our participants adventurous eaters , because a lot of times they're trying things for the first time or they haven't they haven't cooked with it before or they haven't learned about a certain cultural type of cooking. And so this is a great place for people to get more comfortable with lots of fruits and vegetables and understanding why it's a benefit for them to consume them. We take pride in forming partnerships with organizations such as Bright Side Produce who are working actively to partner with local farms to get fresh food into corner stores so that folks are able to walk to their local market. And instead of having to reach for things that are not as nourishing , are able to get some culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables right there without having to find a way to the grocery store.

S6: Right , Right. Jenny , how can interested listeners find olive wood ? How can they be a part.

S15: Of olive wood Org. And on our website we've got ways to support our organization. So there's a volunteer application on the website as well as a list of all of our current events and happenings.

S1: It's not always the brightest world that we live in , but today's guest made me a little more optimistic about the direction things are going. I started the. So with a little bit of a rant regarding a math teacher that affected me negatively. I'll repeat thread in this season has been list , so I'll continue with that and do this quick list of teachers. I actually owe a debt of gratitude. Bill Marshall Bell Junior High who put up with me just being a weird seventh grader. Alpine Boone Elementary who gave me old school Navy life lessons like a firm handshake. Harley Bell , Junior High. The first cool black professional role model I ever saw in my neighborhood , and Henry Miller from Audubon Elementary School , who saw how badly I wanted to be smart and just gave me a place to do it. Thank you. And thank all the teachers who are pushing boundaries , concepts and students to their highest forms. I'm going to close this show with a track I would play for seventh grade. Me. This is from a local artist who I hope gets more shine. He deserves it. This is Mike Holmes. The track is Mr. Introverted.

UU: We ain't got the moves like Jagger. You ain't got a.

S16: Voice like Frank. Try to wash away your habits. But , boy , you gonna clog your sink. I gotta get my shit together.

UU: I don't wanna spend my whole life together. Yeah.

S16: Comfort zone to touch the throne. They juxtaposed cause nothing gold could stay the way it is. Keep it quiet. I read the eyes A lead the room. I need these tunes to pay the dividends.

UU: I've been at it so long. So long , so long. I've been away so long to waste time sitting in the same room I grew up in. I feel safe behind these my warm smile shining glow. But I know pity when I see it. I don't pay no my mind. Yeah , Well.

S16: Mr. Introverted , talk to people. Get me nervous. Hard to tell the fish from serpents Do this on my lonely. I try to lift the burden work It's like indentured service I should serve a different purpose , tell a different story. He kind of. Oh , he got a nasally voice. True. He kind of groan. He should be ashamed of his choice. He watched the world around him changing the story. I mean , I watched the world around me changing the story.

UU: Shit , Mr. Introverted. It's just a little risk aversion for Mr. Introverted. It's just a little risk aversion. When ? Yeah , I like that.

S1: Thanks for stopping in. The Parker Edison Project is produced and hosted by yours truly , Parker Edison. And , of course , the good people at platform collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple , Spotify , or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any comments or questions , visit the Park or Edison Project or hit us on Instagram at the PE project. Chris Reyes is head of audio production. Liza Jane Morissette is Operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for Content. This programming is made possible in part by the KPBS Explorer Content Fund. I love saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street. Y'all stay safe out there.

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Artwork by Anne McColl<br/>
Artwork by Anne McColl
We meet with a high school teacher teaching a new ethnically influenced English course and learn of its tumultuous start.

In this episode, I introduce you to a resource teacher expanding ideas in education before visiting an organic garden smack dab in the middle of National City.

Episode artwork Anne McColl

Show credits: Parker Edison (Host), Chris Reyes (Head Editor), Angela Rogan (Writer), Prof Robert A. Saunders (Geo-Political Consultant), Adrian Villalobos (Media Production Specialist), Lisa Jane Morrisette (Director of Audio Programming and Operations) and John Decker (Senior Director of Content Development)