Episode 2: Earl Martin Phalen


In this episode, I had a chance to talk with Earl Martin Phalen, who founded BELL andSummer Advantage and is the President and CEO of Reach Out and Read. BELL, which Earl founded when he was a law student, has grown to become one of the leading afterschool providers in the country, and Summer Advantage has received a lot of attention recently because of their results with helping to keep young people engaged over the summer months. Earl and I talked about some of the thornier issues in the field today – how organizations represent their work as opposed to the realities, who gets to call themselves an educator and the value of investing in measuring results. We also had a few laughs.

This episode of Please Speak Freely is sponsored by the School’s Out WashingtonBridge to Afterschool and Back Conference, happening on October 17-18 in Seattle Washington. Come to the Bridge Conference to connect, act and transform!

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Please Speak Freely

On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, founder of Development Without Limits interviews leading thinkers, artists and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education. The idea is to get past the platitudes and institutional positions, and have honest, nuanced conversations about things that really matter to young people and communities. Please Speak Freely guests include:

  • Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring
  • Alfie Kohn, Author of several books including Punished By Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University
  • Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Tony Smith, Former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District
  • Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom” and Author of Free-Range Kids

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