July 11, 2023

EdAllies Gets AmplifiED

By Matt Hager

In case you missed the memo, we launched a new podcast! AmplifiED aims to dig into the nuances, details, and lesser-known aspects of education equity through discussions that poke and prod at policymaking, systems, and much more. Hosted by our Executive Director, Josh Crosson, and our Programs and Outreach Manager, Margaret Sullivan, AmplifiED has been going strong for nearly one year!

If you haven’t yet tuned in, here’s what you’ve missed (all links below go directly to Apple Podcasts. You can also access amplifiED on Spotify, GoodPods, or wherever you get podcasts from):

  • Episode One introduces you to EdAllies, where we came from, how and why we advocate, and where we’ve had success – and challenges – when it comes to policies that impact our students.
  • Episode Two brings in our Policy Director, Matt Shaver, to give an overview of EdAllies’ current policy work at the Capitol and what’s at stake in the 2023 legislative session. Alongside our executive director (and former policy director) Josh Crosson, you get an insider’s view of the machinations influencing education policy.
  • Episode Three drops you right in the middle of the craziest point in any legislative session: half time. Matt Shaver is back as well as our Capitol Pathways intern, Yusra Hassan, to talk about their real-time experiences, frustrations, and hopes for what’s yet possible as Minnesota’s part-time legislature turns the corner into the end of its work for 2023.
  • Episode Four closes out the 2023 legislative session with our highlights, lowlights, and a frank discussion of what it means to be a full-time advocate in a state with a part-time opportunity for changing laws and policy. 

Our second season included all-new guest interviews, reflections on current events, and deep dives into issues affecting our kids’ education. 

  • Our first episode of Season 2 featured Dr. Nekima Levy Armstrong who highlighted the continued disparities in education for black and brown students and details the positive impacts of culturally affirming schools in Minnesota. She also discussed the recent mediation and court hearings related to the Cruz-Guzman lawsuit, which could limit school options that affirm and support students’ identities.
  • We continued Season 2 by welcoming Jose Perez, Director of Good Trouble at Bridgemakers for episode 2. Margaret, Josh, and Jose touch on the power of youth voices and the need for systemic change in education. They discuss the brilliance and potential of these young individuals and how they are being let down by the system. The conversation also delves into the experiences of Jose and other young people at the Minnesota Capitol, fighting against legislation that would push out teachers of color.
  • In the third episode, hosts Margaret and Josh are joined by policy director Matt Shaver to discuss the importance of advocating for Minnesota students during the legislative off season. They explore the differences between lobbying and donating money to candidates, the strain of fundraising for legislators, and the need to build relationships with decision makers.
  • The fourth episode explored the concept of ethnic studies with guest Danyika Leonard, the Policy Director of Education Evolving. Danyika explains how ethnic studies can help students learn about their heritage, culture, and language, as well as how it can help decolonize education.
  • On the fifth episode of the second season, host Josh Crosson and EdAllies’ policy director Matt Shaver are joined by special guest Minnesota State Representative Heather Edelson. Rep. Edelson shares her story of growing up in North Minneapolis, how The Babysitters Club helped her be a good policymaker, and her experience working on the Read Act. She also discusses empowering students through literacy, the bill’s importance to Minnesota’s learners, what parents can expect to see in classrooms in the coming years, and what’s next for literacy education.
  • In the sixth episode, Margaret Sullivan and Josh Crosson are joined by special guest Natasha Loya, a 22-year-old advocate from Minneapolis and Youth Engagement Director at Bridgemakers. Natasha shares her story of growing up in a chaotic household, her experiences in the education system, and the traumas that fed her passion for helping people. Natasha discusses her path to finding power in youth organizing to help heal trauma and make advances for justice. Josh, Margaret, and Natasha then discuss the issue of what adults, particularly police officers, SROs, and other adults in positions of power, can do to children in schools; a critical debate currently happening in Minnesota politics.
  • The seventh episode digs deep into the debate that has played out in Minnesota politics since the start of the school year: the implementation of legislation limiting dangerous holds and restraints on students by SROs and other adults in a school setting. Maren Hulden, supervising attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Disability Law Center, joins Josh Crosson and Margaret Sullivan to discuss what has happened over the last couple of months, the multiple sides in this debate, and what the legislation allows and does not allow based on the exact reading of the law.
  • The second season ends with an interview Joshua Fuchs, current principal at Red Wing High School In Red Wing, MN. Fuchs discussed his experience in three different school districts, the need for restorative practices in schools, and the need for more diverse leadership in school administration. This episode also includes discussions on improving school outcomes, what teachers need to help continue their education, and the impact the tiered licensure system has on recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers.

We can’t wait to show you who we speak to next. Be sure you’re subscribed to AmplifiED and stay tuned!    

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