podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews education journalist Natalie Wexler

On this episode, Tuthill talks with writer, lawyer and legal historian Wexler, author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System – and How to Fix It. Wexler argues in her book, published in 2019, that the modern “standard” approach to teaching only further increases inequities for students who do not begin their lives with education advantages at home.

The two discuss how schools should operate differently and focus on coherent curriculum that extends through grade levels. Wexler believes all individuals use their “background” knowledge subconsciously to make sense of the world around them, and that many students, through no fault of their own, enter school without that knowledge and continue to fall behind.

“Teachers have told me over and over again that it is the ‘low achievers’ who flourish the most under the content-focused, knowledge-building approach. They are the ones who make the most insightful contributions to class discussion … What’s really striking is the equity (the approach creates).”

EPISODE DETAILS:

·       What Wexler’s book has to say about what’s “broken” in the education system

·       The theory that skill development driving test scores has the opposite effect

·       How Wexler views modern writing instruction and how she thinks it should change

·       Wexler’s concern about going too far toward individualized or customized learning