American RadioWorks |
boots-to-books

From Boots to Books

The longest war in American history is drawing to a close. Now, the men and women who served are coming home, and many hope to use higher education to build new, better lives. They have help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a piece of legislation that many advocates say offers more support to returning veterans than any policy since the original GI Bill of 1944. In this documentary, we explore how the first GI Bill revolutionized the lives of millions of young veterans, America’s institutions of higher education, and American society at large. But America’s economic and academic systems have changed, and veterans today are returning to a very different reality than their predecessors.

Recent Posts

  • 09.03.15

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    A staggering 16 million soldiers returned home from World War II, and millions of them went to school. Because GI Bill benefits were generous enough to pay for any college in the country, veterans flooded all types of institutions, from elite schools like Harvard to large state schools, to vocational schools. By 1947, half of all college students in America were veterans.
  • 09.03.15

    The front lines of the long journey home

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  • 09.03.15

    The GI Bill: One of the last great economic ladders?

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  • 08.27.15

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Encourage people to tell their own stories

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From: Elaine B., Memphis, TN

I tell stories to children who are falling behind academically in the public school, and I tell stories to women in the county correctional system. I provide opportunities for the students and inmates to share their personal stories, and I promote listening as a valuable skill. When people, young or old, are given the opportunity to tell their stories to other people who really listen, transformation happens. Poverty erodes self image and makes us think we do not matter, that we are invisible. By listening, neighbors, family members, teachers, co-workers and church members can pull each other out of poverty's destructive forces.

Last year I gave each of the children a disposable camera when they went home for the holiday break, instructing them to take pictures of their family. I told them I would develop the pictures and make an album for each child. They would be expected to stand up and tell us the story of "My Family and the Holidays." One boy used all 24 exposures taking pictures of the television. He took 24 pictures of 24 programs on television. Each child took pictures that included images of the television set. In every case the television was the most photographed member of the family and a central character in the holiday story.

This project turned out to be very telling about the children and their struggles to succeed in school. No one at home has the time or capacity to listen to the children, look into their faces and attend to their narratives and needs. Poverty robs mothers and fathers of their time for parenting. Poverty robs parents of their self worth and their dreams. So they finally give up on even trying to pass along anything positive. Face to face sessions of storytelling and story listening can open new windows for change and hope. Sitting in a safe circle where all stories are heard and respected as sacred gifts, we can hear people's dreams coming back to life. Each human being is so much more than what they possess or how much money they keep in the bank account. Each story is a reflection of power and purpose. A story shared is a story made real.


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American RadioWorks |
boots-to-books

From Boots to Books

The longest war in American history is drawing to a close. Now, the men and women who served are coming home, and many hope to use higher education to build new, better lives. They have help from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a piece of legislation that many advocates say offers more support to returning veterans than any policy since the original GI Bill of 1944. In this documentary, we explore how the first GI Bill revolutionized the lives of millions of young veterans, America’s institutions of higher education, and American society at large. But America’s economic and academic systems have changed, and veterans today are returning to a very different reality than their predecessors.

Recent Posts

  • 09.03.15

    The history of the GI Bill

    A staggering 16 million soldiers returned home from World War II, and millions of them went to school. Because GI Bill benefits were generous enough to pay for any college in the country, veterans flooded all types of institutions, from elite schools like Harvard to large state schools, to vocational schools. By 1947, half of all college students in America were veterans.
  • 09.03.15

    The front lines of the long journey home

    Colleges and universities have become the front lines of one of the great challenges posed by war: how to reintegrate the people who've served.
  • 09.03.15

    The GI Bill: One of the last great economic ladders?

    The Post-9/11 GI Bill was supposed to change where veterans could go to college by giving them more money, and, therefore, more options. But since the new bill went into effect in 2009, the percentage of veterans enrolling at four-year public and private nonprofit schools has barely budged.
  • 08.27.15

    A different approach to teacher learning: Lesson study

    In the United States, we tend to think that improving education is about improving teachers - recruiting better ones, firing bad ones. But the Japanese think about improving teaching. It's a very different idea.