Listen to Our New Podcast

Premiere Episode:

Restoring Arts Education to the School Curriculum

With Daveed Diggs, John Lithgow and Others!

Dear Louis,

Are you looking for insights, resources and strategies to best address long-standing inequities in education? Sign up for our new "Sparking Equity" podcast, series which we are offering to you in its pilot phase. We go beyond just identifying the issues, but dive into actionable strategies you can use to spark equity in the education system, with a special focus on low-income students and students of color.

It is hosted by renowned education leader and scholar Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education (on preK-12 challenges) and, on the postsecondary level, by Lande Ajose, managing director of the Waverley Street Foundation and former chair of the California Student Aid Commission.

Our first pilot episode is about why we need to restore Arts & Music Education to the school curriculum, with insights from former Hamilton star and actor Daveed Diggs and award-winning actor John Lithgow. Learn about exciting innovations like ArtistYear, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit placing artists in public schools, and a new California initiative which will target nearly $1 billion to support arts education.

Arts learning fosters a kind of engagement that you can't get out of textbooks. – Daveed Diggs

I absolutely know that for a child who is exposed to the arts, it makes them more educable, it makes them more eager to go to school. – John Lithgow

The podcast is a project of Advancing Education Success, a multi-pronged journalism and communications initiative focused on what can and must be done to eliminate educational inequities. It is directed by Louis Freedberg, veteran journalist and former director of EdSource. Pilot episodes made possible by a grant from the Walter and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Watch For These Upcoming Episodes!

  • Strategies for Tackling the Crisis of College Affordability
  • How to Engage Parents in Their Children's Education in a Positive Way
  • Involving Students in Taking on Mental Health Challenges on College Campuses
  • And More!
Click Here to Stay Informed!

Meet Our Hosts!

PreK-12 Education Host

Pedro Noguera

Dean of the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education

Pedro Noguera is one of the nation's leading education scholars and commentators, both in academia and the public arena. Widely honored for his work over many decades, he is a distinguished author, most recently co-editing "Race, Equity and Education: 60 Years After Brown." He has a track record of reaching across ideological divides, as evidenced by his book “A Search for Common Ground,” co-authored with Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute. He will host podcasts on pre-K-12 challenges.

Postsecondary Education Host

Lande Ajose

Managing Director of the Waverley Street Foundation

Lande Ajose is a prominent advocate and decision-maker on improving student outcomes at the postsecondary level. She is the former chair of the California Student Aid Commission, executive director of California Competes, and senior advisor to Gov. Gavin Newson on higher education. In that role, she chaired the Recovery with Equity Task Force providing a blueprint for student success after the pandemic. She'll be hosting podcasts on postsecondary challenges. Her current work focuses on climate change.

Also featuring...

Louis Freedberg

Executive Producer and Correspondent

Louis Freedberg is a media innovator who for a decade ran EdSource, a leading nonprofit organization reporting on education in California. He was the co-host of 200 episodes of EdSource’s award-winning podcast. He was previously a long-time reporter, columnist and editorial writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and reported for many other news outlets, including the New York Times and National Public Radio.Coby McDonald, producer of EdSource's Education Beat podcast, is the senior producer of "Sparking Equity." Consulting producer is Stephen Smith, a veteran broadcast journalist, and co-founder of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks), the longest-running documentary unit in public radio.

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