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Prologue

Ira talks to 15 year old Jada who, when she was in third grade, moved from Akron Public Schools in Ohio, to the nearby Copley-Fairlawn schools in the suburbs. After two years, Jada was kicked out by administrators who discovered that her mother was using Jada's grandfather's address in Copley, instead of her own in Akron.

Prologue

Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer talks about the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man into his dream school.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass visits Claremont Middle School in Oakland, CA — a school with two principals. Principals Reggie and Ronnie Richardson are also twins.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about his experiences reporting on education and theunending question of how we can make schools better. He discusses theChicago Teachers strike and an essay by writer Alex Kotlowitz that talksabout how the strike raises questions about the severity of this challenge.

Act Two

Our story picks back up with the question of how non-cognitive skills can be taught to older kids who have gone much longer without learning things like self-control, conscientiousness and resilience. Ira returns to the story of Kewauna, the Chicago teenager, who talks about the dramatic ways in which she changed her life.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass interviews a 14-year old named Annie, who emailed us asking if we would do a show about middle school. She explains why exactly the middle school years can be so daunting.

Act One: Life in the Middle Ages

In an effort to understand the physical and emotional changes middle school kids experience, Ira speaks with reporter Linda Perlstein, who wrote a book called Not Much Just Chillin' about a year she spent following five middle schoolers. Then we hear from producer Alex Blumberg, who was a middle school teacher in Chicago for four years before getting into radio.

Act Two: Climate Changes. People Don't.

As adults battle over how climate change should be taught in school, we try an experiment. We ask Dr Roberta Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, who helps develop curricula on climate change, to present the best evidence there is to a high school skeptic, a freshman named Erin Gustafson.

Act One: Going Up?

In the world of engineers and investors, there's something called the "elevator pitch." It's what you'd say if you ran into a rich investor in an elevator, and had only 60 seconds to sell your product. The concept is so common that MIT actually hosts a contest for the best elevator pitch.

Act One: What's That Smell?

A retired millionaire tries to understand the reality of a tough, seedy, inner city neighborhood. But what if the neighborhood is none of those things? Ira Glass evaluates the claims of this millionaire, Steve Poizner, who is also running for governor of California.

Act Two: Lewis Time

Ira with teachers Shraddha Subramaniam and Samantha Cato, and their 2010 predictions for their sixth grade students at Intermediate School 303 in the Bronx, especially a student named Lewis de la Cruz.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass visits This American Life producer Sarah Koenig at her house in State College PA, a few blocks from Penn State's campus, on a weekend night near one in the morning. They witness all kinds of alcohol-induced mayhem.

Act One: I'm Not As Think As You Drunk I Am

Most of the This American Life production staff spent the weekend at Penn State, and found that drinking is the great unifier at the school. Ira Glass, Sarah Koenig, Lisa Pollak and Jane Feltes report on tailgating parties, frat parties, an article of clothing known as a "fracket," and a surprising and common drunken crime.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass introduces a story on the most ambitious and hopeful solution to urban poverty in the country—the Harlem Children's Zone. The project's goal is nothing less than changing the lives of thousands of children in Harlem, starting at birth and continuing until they go to college.

Prologue

Amy Roberts thought it was obvious that she was an adult, not a kid, and she assumed the friendly man working at the children's museum knew it too. Unfortunately, the man had Amy pegged all wrong.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Kayla Hernandez, a seventh-grader who likes to reminisce about when she was a child, back in fifth grade. She visits Room 211 in her school, where her fifth grade class met, and looks at her old books, thinks about what happened there.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass tells a story about how, when he was in seventh grade, he was over at his best friend's house and saw beer in the fridge. He'd only ever seen beer in fridges on TV; he didn't think it existed in real life.

Prologue

There's a 200-person operation based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas called the Center for Army Lessons Learned. Host Ira Glass speaks with Colonel Steve Mains, who runs the Center, and with Craig Hayes and Lynn Rolf, two men who answer soldiers' requests for information.

Second Half Prologue

Ira speaks with Milt Hileman of the Center for Army Lessons Learned about the single most-requested publication they put out, Soldiers' Handbook: The First 100 Days: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. It explains how to avoid getting killed in your first hundred days in Iraq, which is when a disproportionate number of U.S. casualties occur.