Cover image of What I Want to Know with Kevin P. Chavous

What I Want to Know with Kevin P. Chavous

‘What I Want to Know’ provides answers to some of the biggest questions in education. As the traditional model undergoes a dramatic shift accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering what the future holds. Kevin P. Chavous connects with industry leaders to get their insights on how we can better prepare learners to unlock their full potential, no matter their learning environment.

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11. How can we prepare students for careers of the future?

Stedman Graham and Jeff Selingo join Kevin to discuss how career paths have evolved. They used to be linear—students transitioned from high school to a blue-collar job or to college and a white-collar profession. But in this age of technology, one or even two educational credentials are not enough. Today’s workers need to upskill or reskill to remain relevant. How can we transform our education systems to teach the skills of tomorrow? What can students do to future-proof their careers? And how can we become a nation of lifelong learners? Stedman, an educator and businessperson, explains the importance of identity leadership, and Jeff, a NYT best-selling author, shares how students should prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.


28 Jul 2021

Rank #1

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10. What can celebrity philanthropists teach us about education?

Celebrity philanthropists like Jalen Rose and Ted Dintersmith donate their time, expertise, and money to education initiatives for a variety of reasons. Some do it give back to their communities while others have a vision for the future and a plan to get there. While we may not have the resources or followings of famous personalities, are there lessons we can learn from them to improve our educational system? Can we leverage our own experiences and talents to transform our classrooms into centers of creativity and innovation? In this episode, Kevin turns to Jalen, ESPN analyst and former NBA player, to learn why he founded a public charter school in Detroit and how it prepares students for college and a successful life, and Ted, author of What Schools Could Be, to explore how teachers across the country are innovating in their classrooms. 


14 Jul 2021

Rank #2

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9. How has the pandemic changed the politics of education?

Too often America’s public schools are caught in the crosshairs of partisan politics or competing federal, state, and local government requirements. Add to that the demands of vocal parents and it is no wonder school leaders find it challenging to set priorities. How can we encourage our elected officials to collaborate to improve outcomes for students? And how has the pandemic changed the balance of power? Kevin invites former Louisiana State Senator, Ann Duplessis, to share her experiences working with state officials, local school boards, and federal agencies to address shortcomings in the educational system. They are joined by Andy Rotherham, co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners, who explains how elected officials across the aisle can find common ground.


30 Jun 2021

Rank #3

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8. How can we develop the next generation of problem solvers?

Today’s students have the world at their fingertips. With cell phones and laptops, they no longer need to rely on teachers as the sole providers of educational content. How does this shift the balance of power in our nation’s classrooms? What do educators need to do to better engage these digital natives? And how can schools help students develop the skills they need to solve the problems of the future?  In this episode, Kevin turns to John Hunter, an elementary school teacher and creator of the World Peace Game, to discuss how educators and students can create compelling lesson plans together. Joining the discussion is Jamie Casap, former chief education evangelist at Google, to share how teachers and parents can unleash their students’ creative powers.


16 Jun 2021

Rank #4

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7. How do employers value skills vs. degrees?

The American workforce is shifting. We’re now in an era where only 27 percent of college graduates pursue a career in their field of study. And with the high cost of college, many students can’t afford to earn a degree. How are employers responding? Are they shifting their focus away from degrees to skills? If so, how should we prepare the next generation of workers for success? In this episode, Kevin is joined by Cheryl DeSantis, chief people officer at SmileDirectClub, who shares her experience in building a successful, global team and how candidates can get noticed. Kevin also sits down with Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, to discuss how we need to transform workforce development. This is, What I Want to Know…


2 Jun 2021

Rank #5

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6. What does literacy education look like in a modern society?

Literacy has always been at the foundation of our educational system. But with today’s realities of social injustice and digital transformation, how does literacy education have to evolve? More than ever, we need to teach students not just to decode, but to comprehend, to make social emotional connections, and to exercise critical thinking skills. Too often, schools do not do enough to teach students of all backgrounds these critical life skills. In this episode, Kevin speaks with Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of the Phalen Leadership Academies, about his programs that support the marginalized and increase their ability to read. Joining the conversation is Dr. Maryanne Wolf, the Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA, who shares her expertise in cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistics and its implications on young children learning to read.    


19 May 2021

Rank #6

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5. Academic Assessments: How can we make them more relevant?

Education is shifting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Answers to long-overdue questions about how we measure student progress are now being demanded. School districts and the private sector are re-evaluating how standardized test performance relates to future work and career opportunities. Simultaneously, schools need to address how they will foster an equitable classroom—both in access and in curriculum. Kevin spends time talking with Chris Minnich, CEO of NWEA, to learn how the role of assessments are evolving and the programs available for preparing students for college and career success. Joining the conversation is Dr. Saran Stewart, researcher and senior lecturer of higher education at the University of the West Indies, who shares her expertise in access and equity and the importance of forming an inclusive learning environment for all students.  


5 May 2021

Rank #7

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4. Are we prepared to pay the mental health bill for our nation’s students?

We need schools to help all students reach their full potential. During the pandemic, nearly 17 million students were locked out of online learning because their families lack the home internet access necessary to support online learning. How can we assist and support our most vulnerable students and take what we learn into the future? Kevin talks with famed author and ‘godmother of Silicon Valley,’ Esther Wojcicki, and Dr. Tammy Pawloski who has crisscrossed this nation to support children of poverty. Esther, a noted educator, scholar, and all-around ambassador of U.S. education, discusses her latest book on how to raise successful children and Tammy shares her powerful message about those most often forgotten about in our country.


21 Apr 2021

Rank #8

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3. Does the United States economy still have room for students’ dreams?

As unemployment numbers climb and student debt rises above $1.7 trillion, many of us wonder what this means for the next generation. Is there still room for students to pursue their dreams? Kevin examines the powerful data and its impact on our ability to adapt to maintain this opportunity. Joining Kevin is famed author Heather McGowan and the person behind the data, Karl Rectanus of LearnPlatform. Heather discusses her latest book on adapting and Karl shares the behind-the-scenes conversations U.S. school districts are having about the role of EdTech on education. This is, What I Want to Know... 


5 Apr 2021

Rank #9

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2. Has the pandemic changed skill requirements of our nation’s teachers?

The pandemic is transforming education. Is it also changing the skill requirements for our nations’ 3.5 million teachers? Kevin explores this conversation with noted political scientist and prolific author, Rick Hess and the trailblazer you haven’t heard of, but wish you had – Talia Milgrom-Elcott of 100kin10. Rick has written more books than most of us could conceive of on our own. A noted scholar and analyst, Rick, brings an extensive background to the discussion. Talia shares her beginnings and inspiration for her powerhouse efforts to support the real-time development of thousands of STEM educators across the country. This is, What I Want to Know…


5 Apr 2021

Rank #10