Above photo by alamosbasement

By: Kyle Palmer and Matt Hodapp

Sesame Street, the iconic American television program that’s been on the air now nearly fifty years, will be introducing a new muppet character, Julia, who is autistic. CBS’ 60 Minutes first reported the story and interviewed the puppeteer behind (or under) Julia, who is herself the mother of an autistic son.

This comes as diagnoses of autism have been growing: the CDC says now 1 in 68 American schoolchildren are diagnosed with some form of the neurological disorder. Our teachers talk about their experiences teaching autistic students. They also talk about how other students are starting to understand and value their autistic classmates more.

Meanwhile, a new survey from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center for Education Policy shows foreign exchange students think American schools are easy. Really easy. This is nothing new: the survey replicates a similar one done in 2001 that had nearly identical results. But our teachers take issue with what they call “school bashing” conclusions. They say, in short: “Define ‘easy.’”

Finally, a legislative tit-for-tat in Ohio has educators talking. Republican Gov. John Kasich thinks teachers should have to complete yearly job shadowing outside schools in order to get re-licensed. A competing bill would make the governor shadow teachers for 40 hours every year. Beyond these seemingly far-fetched policy proposals, our teachers say there is a deeper discussion to be had about what education should be good for, and what teachers should be preparing students for--career? College? Both?

As always, we end with “Kids These Days.” Special edition this time with one teacher back from maternity leave. What are babies into these days?

Music used in this episode is Inspiring Corporate and Scottish Indie by Scott Holmes, all have been edited

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