APM Reports Documentaries

APM Reports Documentaries

The documentary unit of APM Reports (formerly American RadioWorks) has produced more than 140 programs on topics such as health, history, education and justice.

Episodes

October 20, 2022 34 min

Emily Hanford introduces the first episode of her new podcast, Sold a Story.

There's an idea about how children learn to read that's held sway in schools for more than a generation — even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. Teaching methods based on this idea can make it harder for children to learn how to read. In this podcast, Hanford investigates the influential authors who promote this idea a...

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Producer DJ Cashmere spent seven years teaching Black and brown students at a Noble Street charter high school in Chicago. At the time, Noble followed a popular model called "no excuses." Its schools required strict discipline but promised low-income students a better shot at college. After DJ left the classroom to become a journalist, Noble disavowed its own policies — calling them "assimilationist, patriarchal, white ...

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Native American students are just a tiny fraction of all the college students in the United States. They come with different histories, confronting an education system once used to erase their languages and cultures. In this project, three Indigenous college students tell how they are using higher education to strengthen ties to their Native roots and support their people.

Photos: See portraits of the students in this documentary

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September 3, 2021 51 min

Most scientists believe climate change is increasing the severity of the storms we experience, and how quickly they intensify. After suffering two hurricanes, a winter storm, and devastating flooding in less than a year, Lake Charles, Louisiana, offers a troubling view of the wrenching, disturbingly inequitable effects of climate change.

In Deep: One City’s Year of Climate Chaos offers a rich journalistic portrait of a working-clas...

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Even before the pandemic, campus counselling services were reporting a marked uptick in the number of students with anxiety, clinical depression and other serious psychiatric problems. What is a college’s responsibility for helping students navigate mental health challenges, and how well are colleges rising to the task?

Read more: Inside the college mental health crisis

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August 11, 2021 52 min

Many schools around the country are struggling to find enough teachers. Large numbers of teachers quit after a short time on the job, so schools are constantly struggling to replace them. The problem is particularly acute at rural schools and urban schools. The most common level of experience of teachers in the United States now is one year on the job.

At the same time, enrollment in teacher training programs at colleges and unive...

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Colleges and universities in the United States attract more than a million international students a year. Higher education is one of America’s top service exports, generating $42 billion in revenue. But the money spigot is closing. The pandemic, visa restrictions, rising tuition and a perception of poor safety in America have driven new international student enrollment down by a jaw-dropping 72 percent.

Read more: The U.S. may neve...

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April 17, 2021 50 min

Sixteen-year-old Myon Burrell was sent to prison for life after a stray bullet killed an 11-year-old girl in Minneapolis in 2002. Amy Klobuchar, who was Minneapolis’ top prosecutor, brought first-degree murder charges as part of a national crackdown on gang violence — a crackdown that engulfed young men of color.   

Burrell maintained his innocence for 18 years in prison. AP reporter Robin McDowell spent a year looking into Burrell...

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November 22, 2020 51 min

More than 40 states have sent their most vulnerable kids to facilities run by a for-profit company named Sequel. Many of those kids were abused there. Read more.

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Lauren Brown says college was "culture shock." Most of the students at her high school were Black, but most of the students at the University of Missouri were white. And she got to the university in the fall of 2015, when Black students led protests in response to a string of racist incidents. The protests put Mizzou in the national news.

But the news stories didn't match what Lauren saw. They made it seem like racism ...

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August 6, 2020 51 min

Everyone agrees that the goal of reading instruction is for children to understand what they read. The question is: how does a little kid get there? Emily Hanford explores what reading scientists have figured out about how reading comprehension works and why poverty and race can affect a child’s reading development. Read the full story.

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July 29, 2020 52 min

The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest challenge to American higher education in decades. Some small regional colleges that were already struggling won’t survive. Other schools, large and small, are rethinking how to offer an education while keeping people safe.

This program explores how institutions are handling the crisis, and how students are trying to navigate a major disruption in their college years.

Colleges...
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November 7, 2019 52 min

During the Vietnam War, roughly one in five GIs actively opposed the conflict. Many servicemen and women came to believe they were not liberating the country from communism but acting as agents of tyranny. In the combat zone, they rebelled against their commanders' orders. At home, they staged massive protests. Soldiers for Peace offers a first-person look at how GIs were transformed by Vietnam, and the strategies veterans and ...

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In the 1950s, the United States came up with a plan to solve what it called the "Indian Problem." It would assimilate Native Americans by moving them to cities and eliminating reservations. The 20-year campaign failed to erase Native Americans, but its effects on Indian Country are still felt today.

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In the 1970s, the founder of the National Institute on Aging convinced a nation that senility was really Alzheimer's and could be cured. Research money flowed to one theory, leaving alternatives unexamined — today it's come up short.

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For decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked. And many teachers and parents don't know there's anything wrong with it.

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A growing body of research finds that repeatedly uprooted children are more likely to struggle in school and more likely to drop out. But there are ways to help them succeed.

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At Georgia State in Atlanta, more students are graduating, and the school credits its use of predictive analytics. But critics worry that the algorithms may be invading students' privacy and reinforcing racial inequities.

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May 9, 2019 50 min

Tasers have become an essential tool for police, but how effective are they? An APM Reports investigation finds that officers in some big cities rated Tasers as unreliable up to 40 percent of the time, and in three large departments, newer models were less effective than older ones. In 258 cases over three years, a Taser failed to subdue someone who was then shot and killed by police.

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Scientific research has shown how children learn to read and how they should be taught. But many educators don't know the science and, in some cases, actively resist it. As a result, millions of kids are being set up to fail.

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