American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah. Research shows bilingual people can have learning advantages over monolingual people. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on How Children Succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it’s character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.12.14

    Tracking and Vocational Ed

    Jeannie Oakes, who has studied tracking for decades, says vocational ed and "tracking" are connected, and that sorting students by race and class is still a problem.
  • 08.04.14

    Reinventing College for a New Kind of Student

    Long-predicted demographic changes mean a new kind of student is figuring out where to go to college, and how to pay for it.
  • 07.29.14

    Is School Funding Fair?

    A new report looks at why some schools have a lot of money to spend per pupil, while others don't, and what to do about it.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Help ex-prisoners get back to work

File under: jobs, public perception, civil rights

3 (1 votes)

From: Christine A., Arlington, MA

In 1997, at the end of Buddhist meditation retreat, I volunteered to write to a prisoner, to become his pen pal to support his meditation practice while he was incarcerated. Two years ago he was released. Since then, he has not been able to find a job. No one will hire him because he is a convicted felon. It doesn't matter that he got an associate degree in business while in prison, that he got a certificate in horticulture, or that he learned to train dogs. No one will hire him because he has a criminal record. If it weren't for the fact that a Lutheran minister is paying his rent and giving him money for basic necessities, he would be on the street.

The United States incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world. Most people go back into the community after serving time. But if they can't find work, how will they survive? They can't. And so, they are condemned, after they paid their debt to society, to a life of poverty -- or they revert to crime. With no opportunity to turn their lives around, what choice do they have? We need reform. First, we need to have jobs waiting for those released from prison. Second, we need to have alternatives to prison sentences for some crimes, such as community service with mentoring, leading to permanent, livable-wage employment. We've tried the stick and it hasn't worked. It's time to try the carrot.


Comments:

American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in a Chinese immersion class in Utah. Research shows bilingual people can have learning advantages over monolingual people. (Photo: Stephen Smith)

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on How Children Succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it’s character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.12.14

    Tracking and Vocational Ed

    Jeannie Oakes, who has studied tracking for decades, says vocational ed and "tracking" are connected, and that sorting students by race and class is still a problem.
  • 08.04.14

    Reinventing College for a New Kind of Student

    Long-predicted demographic changes mean a new kind of student is figuring out where to go to college, and how to pay for it.
  • 07.29.14

    Is School Funding Fair?

    A new report looks at why some schools have a lot of money to spend per pupil, while others don't, and what to do about it.