The Crisis in Education with Chris Reykdal and Uti Yamassee Hawkins


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The state's top education official and a Seattle teacher’s union leader discuss lessons learned and the path forward.

Concern over America’s students predates the pandemic. Education — and public education, especially — is always in some form of crisis for someone. Gaps in student opportunity and achievement, for instance, existed long before anyone had heard of COVID–19.

What the pandemic did, though — and this is a well-worn idea for anyone who has been tracking reports or has parented a student through this period — is that it made the problems in America’s schools impossible to ignore. And it also may have presented some solutions.

Those persistent problems and unlikely solutions are the subject of this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, which features Washington state’s superintendent of public instruction, Chris Reykdahl, and Uti Yamassee Hawkins, vice president of the Seattle Education Association, which represents the teachers in the state’s largest school district.

In their conversation with Crosscut news editor Donna Blankinship, which took place on May 3, 2022, as part of the Crosscut Festival, both draw on their perspectives as leaders, as well as their classroom experience, to help examine an education system at a crossroads.



Host: Mark Baumgarten

Producer: Sara Bernard

Event producers: Jake Newman, Andrea O'Meara

Engineers: Resti Bagcal, Viktoria Ralph



If you enjoyed this conversation, you'll want to listen to the latest season of This Changes Everything, a six-episode examination of the impact of the pandemic on public education in Washington state, told through the experiences of students, teachers and families. Search "This Changes Everything" on your podcast player or listen to all episodes here.

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