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The best articles and conversations on race, education, and culture.

The best articles and conversations on race, education, and culture.
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Anchor FM


The best articles and conversations on race, education, and culture.






#40: Education Reporter Emily Hanford, “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Our Kids Being Taught to Read?”

Why are we still teaching reading the wrong way? Why are so many educators ignoring settled research and brain science and doing their own thing instead? In “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Our Kids Being Taught to Read?” Emily Hanford investigates these important questions. Emily’s documentary was featured in The Highlighter #162, and it was wonderful to have a conversation with her. Also check out Emily’s recent piece in the New York Times, “Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?” If you...


#39: 1st Grade Teacher Kristin Smith

Anne interviews San Francisco first grade teacher Kristin Smith about why she doesn't assign homework, how to create a reading culture through book choice, and how to get the resources needed to do it ( Become a supporter of this podcast:


#38: Anne and Mark Banter About Reading

Last month, we did a deep dive on reading instruction. Now it’s time to reflect on what we learned and to share some of our highlights. It’s also time to realize that we’ve just scratched the surface on reading — and that the topic deserves another month of study! Also in this episode: Anne shares her favorite article of the month from the newsletter, and Mark shares his favorite podcast episode selection from Anne-otations. We’re in a bantering mood, so please enjoy! We’d also like to hear...


#37: English Teacher Joan Cone on Supporting Readers

Joan Cone is a retired English teacher who taught for more than 40 years. In the middle of her career, she changed the way she taught her class in an attempt to support young people to love reading. Ms. Cone wrote about that transformation in her article, “Appearing Acts,” published in the Harvard Educational Review. The piece was featured in The Highlighter #137 as well as in Podcast #34. In this episode, Ms. Cone emphasizes that teachers need to keep trying new ideas, to remain in an...


#36: Dr. Josephine Arce

Dr. Arce has worn many hats in education: bilingual elementary school teacher, literacy specialist, head of San Francisco State's Literacy Specialist Program, and now head of SF State's Department of Elementary Education. Hear her advice for teachers (Stand! Organize! Resist!) as well as school leaders (spend more on teachers and good books) then share your thoughts at 415-886-7475. If you have time, could you subscribe, write a review, and recommend to a friend? Thanks! Become a supporter...


#35: John Corcoran: The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

Before John was an author, CEO, and literacy education advocate shaking hands with the president and being a guest on Oprah, he was a college-educated high school teacher who didn't know how to read. Hear his remarkable story, his hopes for American education, and his advice for teachers today. For more information, head to or find The Reading Gap and EBLI on Facebook. Become a supporter of this podcast:


#34: SF Teachers Todd, Nick, and Shannon on Building Readers

Mark goes on assignment and interviews three excellent reading teachers in San Francisco. Todd Smith, Nick Nordlinger, and Shannon Jin-a Lamborn talk about how they’ve built readers in their high school classrooms, plus we discuss this month’s lead article, “Appearing Acts,” by retired teacher Joan Cone. Please take a listen! Also, we’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts at (415) 806-8175. If you don’t subscribe yet to The Highlighter newsletter or podcast, now’s the time:...


#33: Reading Is Believing

This month, we’re focusing on reading — one of our favorite topics. Hope it’s a passion of yours, too! In this episode, we begin with a startling statement about young people’s reading habits. Then we chat about how reading emerged as an essential part of our personal and professional lives. Finally, we offer a preview of what’s in store for this month. If you’re an educator, or a person who cares deeply about reading, this month is for you! Please leave a voicemail at (415) 886-7475 with...


#32: First in Family to College

Anne and Mark conclude this month’s deep dive on college with some reflections, highlights, and student voice. What began as a general focus on college ended up centering on the experiences of first-generation college graduates — who make up 1/3 of all college students today. Why aren’t their voices more represented? Also on today’s episode: Anne finally asks Mark what he’s reading, plus we preview next month’s topic. If you’d like to be on the show, leave us a voicemail at (415) 886-7475....


#31: Lezly and Wendy on “Three Miles”

Anne interviews two former students who graduated six years ago to learn how well prepared they felt for life after high school. Become a supporter of this podcast:


#30: Teacher Rosie Leyva on “Who Gets to Graduate?”

Rosie Leyva is a third grade teacher in Oakland and a first-generation college graduate. In this episode, Rosie discusses her experiences in college and explains why she connects deeply with this month’s lead article, “Who Gets to Graduate?” If you want an extra dose of inspiration, listen to the end when Rosie describes how she builds a college-going culture for her current students. Become a supporter of this podcast:


#29: The New Highlighter Podcast

Mark and Anne unveil a new format for The Highlighter Podcast: covering one topic over the whole month. Listen to learn what March’s focus will be! And let us know what you think! (415) 886-7475 Become a supporter of this podcast:


#28: Attorney Christine Rhee

Christine Rhee is a loyal subscriber, loyal listener, and loyal San Francisco Giants fan. She's also an attorney in San Diego and former criminal prosecutor. On the show, we talk about predictive policing and the article, "Can You Arrest People Before They Commit Crimes?" which appeared in The Highlighter #127. Please enjoy and call in with your thoughts: (415) 886-7475. Become a supporter of this podcast:


#27: Brittany Flynn

Brittany Flynn is a learning specialist at Impact Academy in Hayward, California. On the show, she talks about what it means to be a learning specialist and about her favorite aspects of the profession. Before serving at the high school level, Brittany worked with young children, one reason she chose "Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?" for our discussion. This article from The Highlighter #126 focuses on the challenges of being a preschool teacher. Please enjoy listening to...


#26 Alvin Chang, Vox reporter

Alvin Chang is senior graphics reporter at Vox and the author of the lead piece in The Highlighter #125, which focused on school resegregation. Mr. Chang creates explainers that include data, cartoons, and history. He believes that our society's most challenging problems emerge from the everyday decisions that we make. On the show, Mr. Chang and I talk about how he got into data journalism, how he approached this piece, and what his response is to people who say that integration is not the...


#25: Teacher Anne Nyffeler

Anne Nyffeler is a great teacher and instructional coach in San Francisco and is the editor of Anne-otations, The Highlighter's new feature! Each week, Anne will select one excellent podcast episode to share. This week, it's "You Had Me at Black." We talk about microaggressions and how white teachers can lessen the violence that many students of color must face in the classroom. Please listen and let us know what you think! Become a supporter of this podcast:...


#25: Teacher Anne Nyffeler

Teacher Anne Nyffeler is on the show to unveil Anne-otations, The Highlighter's new feature! Every week, Anne will select one excellent podcast episode for you to listen to and comment on. Anne's first recommendation is "You Had Me at Black," in which an African American college students recounts a story of microaggression in the classroom. Anne and I share our own teaching experiences and consider how to mitigate the violence of microaggressions. Please listen and let us know what you think!


#24: School Leader Omar Bryan

Omar Bryan is a talented artist, art teacher, and school leader in the Bay Area. He's also a big champion of The Highlighter! On the show, we talk about how he got into education and how he applies his art background in building relationships with students. We also had a chance to chat about this week's lead article, "Millennials Are Screwed," by Michael Hobbes. Please take a listen! Become a supporter of this podcast:


#23: Educator Jamie Marantz

Jamie Marantz is an experienced educator in the Bay Area who works relentlessly to disrupt predictable educational outcomes for young people. She questions school policies that are for the comfort of adults rather than for the benefit of the children. In this episode, Jamie and I talk about two pieces: the NPR article (#121) on Ballou High School in Washington DC and about the Code Switch podcast on Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington DC. This is an episode that will...


#22: Barbara Shreve

Barbara Shreve is an outstanding Math educator in the Bay Area who believes in the power of math to support young people's identity formation -- who they are and how they have agency in the world. She is also a wonderful, caring, close friend. On the show, we talk about our deep respect for high-quality journalism. We chat about our experience working on our high school newspaper and how it shaped our perspectives on news reporting today. We also share our thoughts on the Washington Post...