Designing Education

Everyone Graduates Center

A podcast hosted by Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins School of Education.

Episode 7: Nobody Asked Me: A Campaign Illuminating the Voices & Experiences of Students and Their Families
Aug 1 2022
Episode 7: Nobody Asked Me: A Campaign Illuminating the Voices & Experiences of Students and Their Families
In this episode, Dr. Richard Lofton, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education and leader of the Nobody Asked Me Campaign, joins Dr. Balfanz to discuss the Campaign and how it sheds light on the experiences of students and families in Baltimore City. When we think about designing education to meet the needs of the 21st century and provide everyone a robust pathway to adult success, we typically draw on two sources: the adults involved in the current education system and our own experiences. Education is the one field where just about everybody considers themselves experts, because we all have a deep lived experience of going to school. However, relying on these can result in an education system that is much less dynamic than the world around it, and one that doesn’t even ask the students and families that are experiencing it firsthand. Yet they are the most informed observers of where new designs are needed, what they might be, and the challenges we need to address. This is particularly true for the communities and students for whom the current education system works the least: communities and students who live in areas where residential segregation, structural racism, and disinvestment have produced concentrated poverty in underfunded school systems.It is at the intersection of place, history, and student voice that Dr. Lofton is doing an inventive work to ask those whom nobody has asked and connect their knowledge and insights with a growing coalition of community groups and policy makers to redesign the most broken aspects of our education system.
Episode 6: Students at the Center: Linking Learning to Life for All
Jul 4 2022
Episode 6: Students at the Center: Linking Learning to Life for All
Throughout most of the twentieth century, high schools were seen as the end of formal public education. After high school, some students went to college, mainly those interested in the professions—medicine, law, architecture, engineering, and so on—but most went right to work or started a family. There were some vocational courses offered in high school, mainly because there was federal funding and it was often viewed as an outlet for students not perceived as academically inclined, but by and large, vocational education was not viewed as a means for students to develop and explore career interests or link what they learned in school to their desired futures. Today more than 75% of good jobs, jobs that can support a family, require a high school diploma and additional post-secondary schooling or training.  Currently, though, about 30% of high school graduates attempt to go into the workforce. After high school, they want to work. It's an honored family tradition and they want to get on with their lives. But by age 21, most find themselves working part-time jobs with periods of unemployment and not making enough to fully support themselves, let alone a family. They realize the world has in fact changed, and they now need to go back to school for a degree or additional training to expand their range of opportunities. But they've been out of school for several years. And so they struggle to succeed when they go back, and they often pick up debt along the way.  There must be a better way, a way for high schools to connect students with stable futures post-graduation, and we're here to dig into how this can happen with Anne Stanton, President of the Linked Learning Alliance (CA), an organization which works with schools to help them integrate college preparation and career development to give students pathways to adult success.