(L-R) Baratunde Thurston and Sara Ramirez speak at TED Talks Live - Education Revolution, November 1, 2015, The Town Hall, New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED
(L-R) Baratunde Thurston and Sara Ramirez speak at TED Talks Live – Education Revolution, November 1, 2015, The Town Hall, New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Best-selling author and comedian Baratunde Thurston and actress, musician and activist actress Sara Ramirez will host “TED Talks: Education Revolution,” a new hour-long special that will premiere on PBS, on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 (10-11pm).

The program, the third in a series of 3 TED Talks specials for public media in 2016, and which will explore new and innovative approaches to learning and teaching, will air as part of PBS’ “Spotlight Education” week on PBS – a week of primetime programs on PBS and WORLD Channel focused on challenges facing America’s education system, which kicks off on Monday, September 12.

Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), as part of “American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen,” which is a public media initiative to help communities ensure more students graduate ready for college and careers, “TED Talks: Education Revolution” will be filmed live at New York’s The Town Hall theater, bringing together a wide range of cutting edge thinkers, performers, entrepreneurs, and educators, including the following:

— Entrepreneur Sal Khan, the former hedge fund manager who went on to create the celebrated Khan Academy, shares new ideas about how we can transform classroom learning by giving students the tools they need to master concepts, which leads to character-building and heightened creativity.  Author Julie Lythcott-Haims challenges parents to stop micromanaging their children and focus on creating lives centered more on love than conventional concepts of achievement and career success.

— Dr. Victor Rios, author and educator, recounts how a dedicated and empowering teacher rescued him from a life of poverty and prison.

— Acclaimed performer Anna Deavere Smith recently traveled across the country to find out why so many children living in poverty wind up out of school and in the criminal justice system. In her unique theatrical style, Smith presents the powerful words of two young people she met during her visit to Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.

— Nadia Lopez, founder and principal of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, located in one of the most underserved and violent neighborhoods of Brooklyn, shares how her school helped transform struggling students into eager scholars with newfound hope and purpose.

“TED Talks: Education Revolution” will also feature performances by singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and host Sara Ramirez, and will screen 3 original short films produced by Independent Television Service (ITVS). The 3 films are:

— “Modern Classroom,” by Greg Whiteley, which proposes a radical rethinking of the traditional classroom model, largely unchanged since the Industrial Revolution;

— “Freedom University,” by Heather Courtney and Anayansi Prado, about an alternative college program in Georgia for undocumented students shut out of the state’s university system; and…

— “Unconscious Bias,” by Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz, about how bias can sneak up on us when we least expect it.

“TED Talks: Education Revolution” is a co-production of TED and ITVS for PBS.

It is curated by Chris Anderson and Juliet Blake, with Juliet Blake serving as executive producer and Allen Kelman as producer.

TED content director is Kelly Stoetzel.

Executive producers for ITVS are Tamara Gould and Sally Jo Fifer.

“TED Talks: Education Revolution” is directed by Linda Mendoza.

More information on the above can be found at pbs.org/tedtalks.