Discover more from Sounds Like Impact
📓 The State of Education: Higher Ed
Sounds Like Impact: A newsletter for audio and action - Vol. 19
Welcome to Sounds Like Impact!
🙋🏾♀️ Hello to our new subscribers! Many are coming over from the excellent Ann Friedman newsletter.
Back to school is in full swing! If you missed last week’s edition on what’s happening in K-12 education, I recommend going back. AI, the fight over what’s taught in schools, income equality are just some of the issues that you’ll hear and read that play out no matter the education level.
473 subscribers! That’s where we are at on the road to 500. Can we meet the end of August goal??? If you’ve found this newsletter valuable, I’d appreciate a share. Special kudos to Sounds Like Impact subscriber and Signal Awards judge Emily Reeves for shouting out the newsletter recently!
🏖 Next week is Labor Day holiday in the U.S., so I will be taking off from curating, but I will send out a recap newsletter, which I’m sure will be helpful to our new subscribers and for those that need a reminder to catch up ;-)
Also, the next time we have a curated edition, the format will look different. Missed that announcement? You can read more here.
💼 Looking for a remote marketing job? The Podglomerate is hiring for a marketing manager. This company is affiliated with impactful shows like Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant and What Could Go Right.
🙌 Keeping the faith: India is running on more renewable energy and has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 33% since 2009!
🎧 #AudioForAction Theme of the Week
The State of Education: Higher Ed
I have a lot of privilege when it comes to my education. I was able to go to college for free because of scholarships, and a scholarship I got in undergrad nearly paid for all of my graduate education (though I chose to go to a reasonably priced program and worked full-time). Basically I was able to graduate both public schools without debt.
That said, I know a fear of debt kept me from making decisions that I otherwise would have chosen to make and while regrets aren’t productive, I can’t help but think sometimes who I would be were it not for fearing the costs of degree programs. I know I am not alone in this.
What is clear though is that there is a lot of suffering because of the student debt crisis, much of which is fueled by the ridiculous cost of education in the U.S. (I did for a time consider grad schools in the UK) and predatory lending. Unfortunately, those aren’t the only problems…
As in K-12, there is the issue of school safety. School just started and there was already a shooting at UNC Chapel Hill that killed a professor. There are questions of how AI is changing the education landscape. There are concerns about whether degrees still have value, especially amidst all of this inflation and job loss. And of course, the impact of culture wars has not stopped at secondary school.
So what do we do? How can we move forward? First, learn the issues.
P.S. ICYMI - Sounds Like Impact curations on gun violence and AI.
The Economist: Money Talks, Counting the cost of education
A global north perspective on student debt (UK & Australia) and what degrees are “valuable.” Also, if you are even more of an economics nerd, checkout this Freakonomics Radio podcast from 2022 (which is part of a series on higher education - Freaknonomics Radio Goes Back to School), What Exactly Is College For?. It explains how we got the system we have today.
The Brian Lehrer Show, How Education Impacts Hiring
Also listen to the segment, Why Is College so Expensive?
The New Yorker Radio Hour, Will the End of Affirmative Action Lead to the End of Legacy Admissions?
You can also check out this episode from The Journal that goes further with Wesleyan’s President about their getting rid of legacy admissions.
This American Life, 805: The Florida Experiment
About 43 minutes in you’ll reach Act Two, which discusses how the law Florida Republicans passed banning critical race theory and discussions of identity is affecting college majors and other programs. The school they visit? FSU located in my hometown. Listen to “Their Eyes Were Watching Tallahassee.”
If you are a millennial, maybe you remember the days when SparkNotes was your best bet for getting the download on what you needed to know for English class. Oh how times have changed…
Speaking of AI, here is this interesting interview pitched from a member of our Sounds Like Impact community about a faculty member focused on Responsible AI. “Staying open with Michigan State University’s Anjana Susarla”
🚨 Calls to Action
Demand: Ask your senator to forgive student loan debt, even if you don’t qualify for debt forgiveness yourself or already paid off your loans or don’t have any.
Did you know there is still a teacher shortage? According to research out of Kansas State University, there are ~30,000 teacher vacancies and ~160,000 jobs that are filled by teachers who aren’t qualified (think mostly substitutes). Debt relief is one of the solutions that can help with this.
We also have a primary care physician shortage in case you aren’t getting how big a deal this debt crisis is...
Strategize: Federal student loan repayment is restarting soon. If you have student loans or know someone who does, here is an often cited resource that touches on how to deal with repayment: Student Loan Planner (they also have a podcast). As always, exercise caution when listening financial-related advice from others.
Read: An intersectional curation about the student debt crisis:
Laugh: (and cry) at this Planet Money Instagram reel breaking down the cost of college textbooks.
Learn: AI in higher education isn’t equitable for all. Read about how “AI Detection Tools Falsely Accuse International Students of Cheating.”
Bonus: Thinking about graduate school? Check out this curation from the EarBuds Podcast Collective newsletter “To Grad School and Beyond!”
Subscribe to get more playlists and calls-to-action straight to your inbox.
👋🏾 Meet Jessica Terrell from Left Over
Jessica Terrell (she/her) is an award-winning journalist and audio producer. She is currently a special projects editor at Honolulu Civil Beat, a Hawaii-based nonprofit news site.
Jessica was previously the lead reporter and host of Offshore, a narrative journalism podcast about social issues in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. She spent much of her childhood traveling around North America and wrote her first newspaper article for a small paper in Massachusetts, where her family was living aboard a 50-foot raft built out of materials collected from New York City dumpsters. Spending her childhood on the fringe of society imbued her with a deep sense of empathy and curiosity that guides her work as a journalist.
Left Over is on the Sounds Like Impact list of Best of Impactful Podcasts 2023…so far, so I was really looking forward to hearing from Jessica about how the show came together.
I don't know the best way to reform the whole big school lunch system, but I think we need to have some sort of national shift in conversation about what this is and why it matters. Like, it's not just about giving kids the basic nutrients to be able to concentrate in school. We need to find a way to have a conversation about what it means to feed kids well and why this is important in our society.
Gain some insight into this program’s history and maybe its future by clicking here.
Nothing to promote but still want to support? You can donate here.
⏭ Coming Up
Next week will be a round-up of recent newsletters in light of the holiday!
🤗 An act of joy: For the last “Act of Joy,” so much good happened, so these are acts. I celebrated a friend’s birthday at The Frying Pan (great outdoor, waterfront option in NYC!), attended another friend’s Waffle Party (I will look up how to make tomato jam now and have become a savory waffle convert), went to the Prince & Michael Jackson Celebration created by Spike Lee in Fort Greene Park, and vibed at AfroPunk where I got to see Teyana Taylor come out of retirement and perform alongside her family.
*Enjoy this clip of the final song—”Purple Rain” by Prince!—and Spike Lee waving the symbol synonymous with Prince. It was so beautiful to see all types of people and families come together over a shared love these musical artists.*
It was a big weekend! And as exhausted as I was on Monday, I am so grateful for these moments. <3 Please share any good moments you’ve had lately by leaving a comment.
🙌 How to Support this Work
Sounds Like Impact is written and curated by Ayo Oti. Please consider several ways you can contribute to this important mission – providing a platform for social change through audio storytelling and calls to action for the change-maker that lives within all of us.
This work is made possible by your support, however it comes. Thanks for being part of the community and reading this far. Take care!