“Trying to put band aids on things will never work," says John Schwartz, director and founder of the Voqal Companies. Here Schwartz talks about the work of Voqal to address the “Homework Gap.” He also addresses civic engagement and why political change is vital in making sure everyone has access to good schooling. A public media advocate for 40 years, Schwartz has founded community radio and television stations and brought wireless broadband services to cities throughout the U.S. In 1983, he started what is now called Voqal—five nonprofit organizations that have licenses in the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) band. Using the organizations’ spectrum, commercial operator Clearwire (a Sprint subsidiary) delivers 4G wireless broadband to most major U.S. cities. In exchange for use of the spectrum, Clearwire provides Voqal with royalties, which they allocate to their operations and grantmaking efforts.
“There are aggressive attacks on voting rights that we did not see in the 1990s," says Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project. Dianis has an extensive background in civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of voting, education, housing and employment. She has protected the rights of people of color in the midst of some of the greatest civil rights crises of our modern times, including in Florida after the 2000 election and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In this episode, she talks about voting rights today and why she believes the trend of making it harder to vote is something that will continue. She discusses her work on the ground in Florida during the 2000 election, what that tells us about today and how she started a voting protection program as a result. She also covers communities’ relationships to voter rights laws and shares opinions on potential structural change to voting in the U.S.