Diane Ravitch Joins Four Education Pundits to Debate Impact of Waiting for Superman

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As movie sparks education reform debate, panel explores potential short- and long-term significance of the film

The important point that we should take away from this discussion is the link between poverty and academic outcomes. And while we can say that it's racist to say this, it's not racist to say this

Today, BAM Radio Network, the education station online, announced that is has begun airing a special program titled "Waiting for Superman: Fact or Fiction?" The segment features Former U.S. Assistant Secretary, Diane Ravitch; Valerie Strauss, education writer at The Washington Post; Debra Viadero, associate editor at Education Week; Justin Snider, a contributing editor at The Hechinger Report; and Jay Mathews, education columnist at The Washington Post, who also appeared in the movie. The panel discusses the diverse responses the controversial movie is eliciting among audiences outside, inside and across the education field.

"The important point that we should take away from this discussion is the link between poverty and academic outcomes. And while we can say that it's racist to say this, it's not racist to say this," said Diane Ravitch.

Perceived by many as pro-charter schools and anti-union, the panelists provide much-needed context for some of the more controversial elements of the film and give their take on the significance of the documentary in the overall national discussion on education reform. Acknowledging that the film has sparked heated national debate and heightened interest in education reform, the panelists close with predictions on the long-term impact of the documentary.

"I've spent my life writing about great teachers and not one of them has ever said to me that they couldn't do what they did because the union got in the way," said Jay Mathews, Washington Post.

The segment is part of a BAM Radio Network series called Education 360: Beyond the Obvious and can be heard online at http://www.bamradionetwork.com or downloaded from iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/k-12-greatest-hits-the-best/id334633370.

About Waiting for Superman

Waiting for "Superman" is a 2010 documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. ]The film analyzes the failures of American public education by following several students through the educational system.

About BAM Radio Network

The BAM Radio Network is the largest online, education radio network for parents, teachers, administrators, advocates, journalists, legislators and all people interested in education-related topics. The network offers 21 channels of education programming available on demand and hosted by the nation's leading educators and advocates. The network is a joint venture between privately held Washington D.C.-based Moving & Learning and Los Angeles-based Jackstreet Media Ventures LLC. The programming is produced by Emmy-winning broadcaster Errol St. Clair Smith and distributed through the Affiliate Nanocasting Network.

The Educational Reporting Team

BAM Radio Network has assembled the heads of the education community's leading associations to bring you the most insightful, accurate, relevant and up-to-date information on the education issues people really care about. The on-air hosts include:

  • Dr. Jerlean Daniel, executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Dr. Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Dr. William B. Harvey, executive director of the International Reading Association
  • Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators
  • Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association
  • Paul Young, president and CEO of the National Afterschool Association
  • John Musso, executive director of the Association of School Business Officials
  • Brian Crowe, executive director/CEO of the National Association of Child Care Professionals
  • Amy Garcia, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses
  • Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance
  • Linda Geigle, executive director of the National Association for Family Child Care
  • Dr. Eric Karolak, executive director of Early Childhood Education Consortium
  • Barbara S. Belmont, executive director for the School Nutrition Association
  • Sherry Waugh, president of the National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers
  • Diane Whitehead, executive director of the Association for Childhood Education International
  • Linda Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

These education advocates are at the center of their respective communities and have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on moment by moment. Their programs are an invaluable resource for reporters, advocates, activists, legislators, analysts, parents, educators, administrators and anyone interested in transforming education.

Insightful Commentary

To bring a wider, richer, perspective to listeners, BAM Radio augments its team of expert hosts with a cadre of accomplished journalists who provide insightful commentary. BAM's core of on-air commentators includes Jay Mathews, education columnist with the Washington Post; Debra Viadero, associate editor at Education Week; Lisa Guernsey, Director of New America's Early Education Initiative, former staff writer at the New York Times and contributor to Early Ed Watch; Liz Willen, formerly with Newsday and Bloomberg Markets magazine and currently with the Hechinger Institute; Valerie Strauss, education columnist with the Washington Post; and Ugo Uche of Psychology Today.

Combined, this team of hosts and commentators provides a panoramic perspective and exceptional insight on the education issues of the day.

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