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NEPC’s March Education Interview of the Month Podcast Explores Systemic Change in Schools

BOULDER, CO (March 20, 2018) – In March’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Greg Smith discusses systemic change in schools with Warren Simmons, NEPC Senior Policy Advisor and former Executive Director of the Annenberg Institute for Education Reform at Brown University.

Smith and Simmons explore the factors that support or inhibit school and community transformation. Since 1990, Simmons has been involved in major philanthropic efforts to transform American education, particularly in urban communities, by pushing the U.S. education system to mesh intellectual rigor with cultural and academic responsiveness.

Simmons argues that the racially stratified U.S. education system needs culturally responsive policy change that reaches people “where they are” by engaging them using knowledge and experiences meaningful to them.

National policymakers need solid evidence to inform decision-making; however, evidence alone isn’t often able to change the forces that operate on political, cultural and social levels. Every new innovation, therefore, has to explicitly confront the kinds of policies and practices that lead to achievement gaps and racial inequity in the first place.

Change can’t just occur at the classroom level, Dr. Simmons believes. “There needs to be an emphasis on building school-community partnerships that take advantage of the cultural and social assets of communities and make those a part of the curriculum.”

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education, will be released each month from September through May.

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In April, Greg’s guest will be Dr. Marilyn Cochran-Smith of Boston College, who will review four major national initiatives intended to improve teacher quality by holding teacher education accountable for arrangements and outcomes.

Stay tuned to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: