Welcome to The 180, our podcast that explores how to transform 21st century education, how to turn it around using 21st century science.

In these conversations, we’ll talk with some exceptional people rethinking and redesigning K-through-12 education – how our children should learn – in America.

Helping with the introduction: Dr. Pamela Cantor. Pam is Founder and Senior Science Advisor of Turnaround for Children, and she championed this podcast because she sees the promise – the essential opportunities for each child – emerging every day from the science of learning and development.

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/

Today we have much scientific knowledge that didn't exist when many of the systems that serve children, in and out of school, were designed.

For example, today we know that talent is not distributed along a bell curve. What if we were to apply this new knowledge in new ways? What untapped potential might we see and unleash? As the global workforce undergoes a once in a century transformation wouldn't it make sense to also reconsider our inputs into that workforce: The way we recognize talent and help all children grow and learn? 

Our inaugural conversation is with Todd Rose, director of the Mind, Brain and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also leads the laboratory for the science of the individual. He's also the co-founder of Populace, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to equipping all people to live fulfilling lives in an open, and thriving society. Rose is author of the End of Average, and most recently, Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment.

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/

As the Science of Learning and Development becomes better understood – the discoveries that connect how children develop and learn and how their environments can make or break their progress – a next challenge becomes clear: Turning that research into practice. So what exactly will it take from schools in communities and through public policy to make education work for every child in America? Linda Darling-Hammond, to put it mildly, has some ideas.

Linda is president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. She also is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. With many other leadership roles, award-winning books, more than 500 publications and education experience from preschool through higher ed, Darling-Hammond is simply one of this country's leading thinkers and doers in the field. In fact, in 2006 she was named one of the nation's 10 most influential people affecting educational policy, and in 2008 she headed President Obama's education policy transition team.

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/

If as the saying goes, learning happens everywhere, how can our community based programs – the ones outside the classroom that serve and engage our children and youth – use the Science of Learning and Development to rethink and redesign what kids do after the end of school bell rings?

Karen Pittman just might be the perfect person to ask. Pittman is co-founder, President, and CEO at the Forum for Youth Investment whose mission is simple and daunting: To change the odds that all children and youth are ready for college, work, and life. 

Pittman is a globally recognized leader in youth development, launching new organizations and initiatives at virtually every stop. Those stops include the Urban Institute, Children's Defense Fund, and Clinton administration, as well as a stint with retired General Colin Powell to create America's Promise, an umbrella group that connects hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community leaders, and more, focused on helping young people succeed. Pittman has won numerous honors, written three books, and was named one of the 25 most influential leaders in after school by the National Afterschool Association. 

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/

Race in America is a daily part of nearly every aspect of our lives including, of course, education. And that intersection where race, identity, equity and education all meet – that’s where Na'ilah Suad Nasir has dedicated her research, action, and career.

Nasir’s work centers on what she calls the "racialized and cultural nature of learning and schooling" – in other words, how to consider identity and racial inequality with the goal to advance equitable access to high-quality education. And how, as a result, school districts might rethink a “standardized” approach.

Some background: Nasir is President of the Spencer Foundation, the Chicago-based funder of education research. Previously, Nasir was a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley and served as the university’s second Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion. She is the author of numerous publications, including “Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement for African-American Youth” and co-editor of “We Dare Say Love: Supporting Achievement in the Educational Life of Black Boys.”

We discussed her philosophy – as well as the practical steps educators – from K-12 and beyond – can apply from the science of learning and development to change the way kids learn.

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/ 

Mention innovation in America, and what comes to mind? Silicon Valley? NASA? Tech firms? Not for Jim Shelton. He thinks: Education. In fact, he wonders: Why, as we learn more about the Science of Learning and Development, shouldn’t education – like, say, the military – have a full research & development infrastructure?

That thinking has driven Shelton – in the private sector, non-profits and government – on a singular path: Innovating our approach to learning, teaching and educating, and using that innovation to create more opportunity, greater equity, and of course, better student outcomes.

Jim served as Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Education under President Obama – a role he took only after overseeing the Office of Innovation, which included managing the government’s Investing in Innovation Fund. Before joining the administration, Jim drove education innovation in various roles, including as Program Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After leaving, he continued his push, serving as President of Education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he remains as an advisor while pursuing additional ventures.

So what does education innovation look like – and how can it take inputs from science and elsewhere to redefine 21st century education? Here’s our conversation with Jim Shelton.

For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/