Us & Them

Podcast

Us & Them is a new podcast exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us.

Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on cultural issues.

Us & Them is a joint project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Trey Kay Productions.

This project has been made possible through a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

You can subscribe to Us & Them on iTunes and Stitcher, and listen on the podcast's website

Us & Them: New Math

Sep 8, 2015
Us & Them

Kind of like the controversial Common Core Curriculum Standards for Mathematics today, “New Math” was the raspberry seed in many people’s dentures back in the '60s and '70s. 

In this episode, I dig into one of my favorite culture war subjects: the battles in Texas over education.

For years, I’ve had a fascination with the fights Texans have had over education curriculum and textbooks.  This interest started with my research of the 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy. 

When researching the events in Kanawha, I saw that a Texas couple named Mel and Norma Gabler came to Charleston to lend support to the textbook protesters.  At that point, the Gablers – a Mom and Pop team from Longview, TX – had more than a decade of experience of performing intensive reviews of public school textbooks.  Overtime, the couple would have a huge impact on what got into `– not just in Texas, but around the country.   

Logo courtesy of Mark Lerner

For this show, I spoke with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance.  In her book, she has a chapter titled “The Church Lady,” where she recounts her experience of her family moving from western New York to a town in Ohio.  The Wertheimer’s were the only Jews in that community.  Linda and her brother felt confused and ostracized when a lady came to their classroom each week to lead a class that felt less like social studies and more like Sunday school.  Linda recalls all of her classmates singing, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me,” but she was the only one who didn’t know the words.

For this show, I speak with two men with very different perspectives on science.  They feel so strongly about their opinions that they are willing to put their money where their mouths are.   They each are offering a cash prize to anyone who can disprove their scientific theory.

In this episode, my friend Alice Moore and I visit a Confederate cemetery in Corinth, Mississippi.  Alice tells me about her love for the battle flag.

Us & Them

In this program, I speak with Dr. Michael Ross, who’s chair of the University of Minnesota’s program for Sexual Health Education in the department of family medicine.  He says so much of sexual health education is devoted to adolescents and maybe a more effective way to teach young people is to better educate adults. 

Ross believes the best way to do this is to require health care professionals to have better training in sexual health education.  He says one of the reasons the public is poorly informed about sexual health is because healthcare professionals often have had poor training. 

Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how Americans spend more time arguing about what kids should learn about human sexuality in schools than they actually do teaching anything about it.

When you see panhandlers on the street, what do you do? Ignore them and walk the other way? Hand them some spare change? And, how do you decide?

Logo courtesy of Mark Lerner

 Americans are as divided as they’ve ever been. A recent Pew Research Center study found that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” The report found the percentage of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over that period, to 21%, and that “ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished.”

Trey & Alice

May 1, 2015

A blue state secular liberal and a red state Christian conservative have an unlikely friendship

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

Decades before same-sex marriage became legal, the Reverand Jim Lewis of Charleston, West Virginia, sparked outrage by blessing the unions of gay men and lesbians. 

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

Americans' attitudes toward gay relationships have changed dramatically in a short time. Host Trey Kay returns to his home state of West Virginia to see how this change is playing out in a state where 53 percent of residents believe the Bible is the literal word of God.

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

What should children learn in school? It's a question that's stirred debate for decades, and in 1974, it led to violent protests in West Virginia. People planted bombs in schools, shot at buses, and shut down coal mines. This radio documentary was honored with Peabody, Murrow and DuPont/Columbia awards. 

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is "Us & Them" the podcast where we tell stories from America's cultural divides.

This article was originally published in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

One night in the mid 90s, my wife and I were watching a PBS documentary series called “With God On Our Side: The Rise of The Religious Right In America.”

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