Studs Terkel and Mike RoseIn our program with Mike Rose, we are asking you to share your memories of school — moments when your mind came to life in a new way and shaped who you are in terms of becoming, longing, hope, and possibility. One of the memories that came up for me as we produced this program was reading Studs Terkel’s American Dreams: Lost and Found in a college sociology class.

That book inspired me, in the same way I feel inspired by Mike Rose, to consider the meaning of intelligence, to look below the radar and across lines of race, class, and occupation for what’s real, and to grasp how the reality of American lives often defies stereotypes I may attach to them. It also influenced my a love of storytelling, of oral history — Studs style — and an appreciation for the beauty that can be found in matters and people our culture often considers “average.”

So, it was fun for me to discover an interview that Studs Terkel did with Mike Rose in 1996 for Studs’ radio program out of Chicago. It’s classic Studs — filled with curiosity, passion, and his signature chatter. They wander through Rose’s book, Possible Lives, highlighting the public school teachers that Rose chronicled in four years traveling across the U.S. There’s a kindred spirit in their work, and even though it’s over a decade old, I found their conversation about imaginative educators defying the odds still very inspiring for today.

Share Your Reflection



This is a beautiful interview. It is just what is needed right now. Studs Terkel shares so eloquently about how the very folks who are supporting the privatization of education are those for whom, " their daddies butts were saved by the New Deal! By public intervention." Here, here!!
I love this walk through Dr. Rose's book, Possible Lives. Hearing Mike tell the backdrop to his book and to the wonderful times he had in all of these classrooms (all across the nation) reminded me again of how important this work is. Possible Lives is such an important book. It also reminded me of the ways that my own teachers inspired wonder and vision in me. It also makes me lament the examples of classrooms that are less than inspiring - and focused only on the immediate utility. Schools ought to be places of "wonder and delight." It is this wonder that promotes innovation, ingenuity, and creative problem posing and solving. "Viva pubic schools!"