Education Today – KPFA Radio


To access all past episodes go to the show archive –

What can We Learn From Ron Dellums’ Legacy Part 1- A conversation with Activists

The National Press has covered the service of Ronald V. Dellums as a Congressman and national leader since his death in late July. Yet, few have reported on his work as Mayor of Oakland. Today, Education Today will examine the impact of Dellums’ tenure as Mayor in the areas of education, police costs and behavior, public safety and related issues.

 Oakland Schools, the Back Story on Civil Rights and State Take-overs 12.22.17

Why are struggles over Oakland schools’ budget and policies always in the news? Is it really because Oakland is irresponsible? Or has it actually been a 30-year struggle about the forcible installation of a state administration that spent $100 million dollars without accountability to Oakland residents?


 The Racial Wealth Gap 
Hear Kitty Kelly Epstein talk with scholar, Dr. Thomas Shapiro, about his work on the racial wealth gap.

Jitu Brown in Conversation with Kitty Kelly Epstein 

Kitty Kelly Epstein interviews Jitu Brown, a leader of the national movement, Journey4Justice. He discusses their long and successful fight to save a historic African-American high school in Chicago, his analysis of the national struggle for racial justice and public education, and their outstanding education platform. (

On December 22nd , 2006 our host Kitty Kelly Epstein spoke with Assemblyman Sandre Swanson of the California 16th Assembly District. This interview brings up some important topics which put into perspective the specific struggles in Oakland around education such as the takeover of the Oakland Unified School District by the State. Assemblyman Swanson introduced a bill which gave Oakland back local control of the school district.. This interview took place soon after the election and his victory. There are call ins at the beginning of the show which also add to the discussion leading up to hearing from Assemblyman Swanson himself.

Host Kitty Kelly Epstein talks with Dr. Sheryl Lutjens, a scholar who has studied Cuban education in person for 20 years.  What is unique about its educational system?  What happens in Cuba that produces results which observers from all political viewpoints, say are the best in Latin America, despite  U.S. sanctions? Tune in online at or on the radio at 94.1 FM

On tomorrow’s show (March 12) Kitty will be talking with people who are struggling to keep a popular teacher in a Richmond school about all the education issues their struggle raises.
She will discuss local issues of gentrification and their impact on young people.
And she will be taking listener calls to hear from you about statewide education events. Listen online @ or at 94.1FM on the dial.

Tune in this Friday to hear Kitty leading an important discussion around the topic of the federal government considering new regulations on standardized testing. Kitty will talk with special guests and with listeners about these possible changes. This Friday at 2:30PM online @ or at 94.1FM on the dial.
A few resources on testing:
The National Education Association position on testing: Test:

Today on Education Today Kitty interviews leaders of the struggle for Ethnic Studies in the Los Angeles schools, and discusses about the latest developments in the national  struggle to oppose repressive, test-driven schools and create loving, rigorous educational spaces.  There will be a bit of time for listener calls.  Tune in online at or on the radio at 94.1FM

These are notes from our show yesterday. Kitty touched on a series of school changes that have made schools worse rather than better. The corporate or political individuals who influenced these changes talk a lot about using “evidence” to determine policy. In fact, evidence does not support what they are doing!!

Check out our most recent show-


Newark New Jersey has not had a democratically elected school board for 20 years, and this year the Gov. Christie-appointed administrator has left thousands of students with no school to attend. Newark students boycotted and demonstrated with support from Newark parents and students from other cities. Hear their stories and their struggles.

And Oakland Council member Lynette McElhaney will discuss Oakland’s path-breaking action to hire a local, less expensive trash company in preference to the usual $22 billion mega-corporation. Why did it happen? What difference does it make for the environment and youth employment? Why has it created such intense debate?


Listen to the last show here-


Friday, August 22, at 2;30 Kitty talks about  major developments in the national teachers union which has elected an activist president and come out strongly against standardized testing.


 She will also talk with teachers an students who are struggling to prevent their school from falling victim to gentrification.


On Friday, July 11 at 2:30 Kitty interviews Dr. Lora Lempert about a program which brings together college students and incarcerated individuals behind prison walls to study a variety of college subjects, including incarceration itself.



The program has spread to 30 states and several countries. Dr. Lempert provides little-known information about incarceration and education and includes the process by which other institutions can create a local program like this one..  Please tune it online at or on the radio dial at 94.1 FM

On June 27, Kitty interviews Yale Economist John Roemer about his work on climate change.


He and his colleagues have reached conclusions about the global negotiations that would be necessary to reduce carbon emissions sufficiently to avoid human catastrophe.

This Friday, June 13 Kitty will interview the newly elected President of the 35,000 member  Los Angeles teachers union, Alex Caputo-Pearl.  AR-305029936 Alex opposes standardized testing and believes the teachers union needs a strong alliance with communities.

Check out an earlier interview with Pearl at:



On April 11, 2014  at 2:30PM  Kitty interviews author Alfie Kohn about his new book, The Myth of the Spoiled Child:  Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Childhood and Parenting.


 Find out what he means by our “conservative thinking” and why he advocates “raising rebels.”



Kitty will also be speaking with Muntu Davis, MD at the Alameda County Public Health Department about the report on gentrification in Oakland which his department recently produced in collaboration with Just Cause/Causa Justa. davis How does displacement ruin the health of communities of color and what policies need to be changed?

On February 28, Kitty interviews educational leader,


Augustine Remero about “Barrio Pedagogy” and a Berkeley High teacher about the overrepresentation of African-American teachers and older women among those being sent through disciplinary procedures in that district.

You can listen on the radio dial at 94.1 FM or online at

TamaraTurnerCAOIn the most recent segment of Education Today Kitty is in a wide-ranging  conversation with Tamara Turner, Chief Academic Officer of an exceptional K-12 publicly funded school


serving Latino and African-American students. Listen to the show here:


In this show November 2013 Kitty begins with a question about the legitimacy of “competency-based” to define and prescribe every educational experience.  She then interviews three teachers about their pedagogy, including Bay Area teachers, Jason Edwards and Dante Bush and Miguel Zavala, professor at California State University, Fullerton. Listen to the show here


On the October 25 show, Kitty interviewed the principal of Berkeley High and a professor much influenced by ethnic studies about  the situation with African-American studies, ethnic studies and lack of teacher diversity. Kitty will be checking back on progress in a couple of months.  She also interviewed an African-American parent, Michele  who home schools her children about the reason for this choice and some resources she uses.


Howard University Professor Ivory Toldson speaks on the damage of testing to African American children

Prof. Ivory Toldson


Check out this opinion piece by Howard University professor Ivory Toldson regarding the damage done by the way African-American children are tested:,1&wpisrc=root_lightbox

Here are a couple other great resources.  First is a discussion hosted by Khalil Shadeed with Prof. Ivory Toldson and  Mr. Charles Gibbs on the topic of African-American academic success

Second is a report Prof. Toldson took part in titled Breaking Barriers

Plotting the Path Away from Juvenile Detention and Toward
Academic Success for School-age African American Males

Breaking Barriers report



Here are a few resources giving some insight into African-American’s choosing homeschooling for their children.

First is a very interesting article:

This is a news report about why African-American parents are choosing homeschooling.  It also gives a look at some different home schools and talks with both parents and teachers.

This is hop hop artist M1 of the group Dead Prez speaking about his own experience of home schooling his children.  He talks about what some of the challenges have been and what its like in comparison to what the experience was like for his children both in public school and alternative schools.


On November 8, Kitty will be discussing controversies in higher education with her guests.

Here is an example of the some real-life controversies from the point of view of a college student.

Dissident Poetry: The Classroom

Posted on March 27, 2013 by pipeditor

By Ephraim Hussain

The isolation of the classroom

You are together but really you are alone

It depresses me

Ann Margaret Sharp[i] talks about a community of learning, teaching for democracy, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Something must happen. Something must change.

This is cell biology.

My teacher is lecturing for the next three hours.

He will pretend to teach.

We will pretend to learn.

This drives us farther apart.  This hidden curriculum that no one even realizes.

Humans learn best through communication

But we sit in silence while he preaches.

We suffer through this dictatorship over hearts and minds.

War is an example of man’s inhumanity to man.

To a certain extent, so is this class.

We’re treated like robots.

Just programmed to digest and memorize information.

But that’s not our function.

That’s not our purpose.

That’s not our design

I’m a human being,

Not a robot

I look around

Everyone is staring glassy-eyed

While he drones on, either oblivious or dismissive of the blank stares before his eyes.

Some have their heads down.

There’s no engagement

There’s no dialogue.

It makes me sad.

It’s a tragedy.

It’s a national tragedy.

Maybe this is why we don’t like school

once elementary school is over

No more group tables

Now its rows and rows of individual desks

You know what that means

He remains supreme

the proverbial “God” of the classroom

The hidden curriculum hard at work.

And worst part is

He’s the kind of teacher who wants you to bow to him.

I’m a product being churned out of an assembly line

Nothing more.  Nothing less

Another incomprehensible diagram on the board.

He likes to scribble

I think its glycolysis or signal transduction

or something like that

Now he’s talking about artificially bumping our grades up


So I’m the buyer and he’s the seller

He demeans us with his salty and smart remarks.

It makes me sad

Now he’s reading over the answers to a take-home test

A and B and C and D and B and A and all of the above and none of the above and A but B or C but not B

What’s a nice way to say this?

I could care less

His monotone voice makes me angry

His ignorance makes me angry

His conformity makes me angry

His lack of substance makes me angry

His perceived dominance makes me angry

But I relent

Seemingly powerless now but soon……

7 people came to class today

About 5 or 6 decided not to

It wasn’t worth it?

I couldn’t agree more.

But then why did I come?

Honestly, I wanted to write this.

Capture my feeling inside the classroom

Cell biology is worth three credits

Cell biology is worth that much to my degree

But cell biology is worth absolutely nothing to me


Ephraim Hussein is a senior finishing up a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in psychology at Felician College in Lodi, New Jersey. He was inspired by one professor and one transformative philosophy of education class he took in his junior year to pursue a career in teaching: “As a lifelong student, I can say that truly transformative learning experiences are few and far between in our educational system today, and I cannot say that I would be where I am today if it had not been for the efforts of this one professor who managed to take all of my educational experience since middle school and subject it to the critical interrogations of a series of educational philosophers whose works I now devour for the insights that they might provide me in my quest to become a teacher who is a transformative intellectual. Probably the most important thing he ever taught me was that teaching methods are always informed by a certain educational philosophy, whether the teacher realizes it or not. The degree to which a teacher is committed to his or her students shows itself in the degree to which he or she is willing and able to critically interrogate his or her methods and therefore his or her philosophy as well. If one wants to be a great educator, this process never stops.”

This month’s schedule for my radio show, Education Today, on KPFA 94.1 FM. The program airs at 2:30 p.m. (Pacific); 5:30 (Eastern) on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. It can also be heard by logging onto the KPFA FM web site and listening to it on-line @
1. Friday, July 12, 2013, Interview with educators Michelle Fine (author of “Framing Dropouts”)
and Regina Tuma, (parent, professor and expert on social media,)
on the struggles to keep their progressive, desegregated school district in New Jersey from being overrun by over-testing.
2. Friday, July 26 (2:30 Pacific time) I interview Susan Ohanian,
a critic of the Common Core standards, and Kate Walsh,
president of the National Commission on Teacher Quality, who says that entering the teaching profession is too much of an “open-door.” Then I talk with a local community member, Julia Ibarra, about whether entering the field has been an “open door” for her and about her work to recruit other Latinas to teaching.

One thought on “Education Today – KPFA Radio

  1. Libby says:

    Thanks for helping me to see things in a dierffent light.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Kitty Kelly Epstein


  • No categories

KKE Archives

Website Manager- Jaron K. Epstein

    %d bloggers like this: