This edition of The Point Is featured four interviews on the topics of education, war and peace, and the California budget.

Click here to listen to the program.

Or click on individual names to hear their segment of the program.

Beth Swadener, Arizona State University, on global access to education.

Vincent Ornelas, Chico State University, on community service as part of education.

Elaine Hallmark, Beyond War, on paradigm shifts and the opportunity to realize a peaceful world.

Chris Hoene, California Budget Project, on the state of the state.


Scroll down for more information about the interviewees and to see the interview questions.

Interview with Beth Swadener, Arizona State University

Beth Blue Swadener, teachers at Arizona State University in the School of Social Transformation. She is Professor of Culture, Society and Education and Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry, which gives you a general indication of her interests. More specifically, she is a specialist in early childhood education and has traveled all over the globe collecting children’s and family stories.

–First, please tell us about your work at ASU. Obviously your interests are far removed from typical academic interests. What do you teach? What are you trying to provide your students?

–You have written and edited a number of books and articles on social justice and education. A representative title seems to be “Challenges to Inclusive Education in Kenya: Postcolonial Perspectives and Family Narratives,” in a book called Inclusive Education: Examining Equity on Five Continents. Please tell us about your research and writing:

…Where have you traveled?

…How do you conduct your research? How do you collect these narratives?

…What are the central problems in equity and inclusion that you’ve encountered?

…Do you see these problems in the U.S. as well as abroad? [Please include mention of your work in Native American schools.]

–One of your articles addresses “living in ethical and caring ways.” Is that a school and/or a family issue? Can schools presume to teach ethics? Whose ethics? [Note: In US elementary schools, one sees a number of posters with phrases like, “Respect your classmates,” “We don’t put up with exclusion,” “Stop Bullying. Are these on the right track? effective?]

–Another of your articles discusses “critical pedagogy in the neoliberal era: small openings.” Especially since No Child Left Behind and in the current educational/political climate, teachers find themselves pressured to teach to the test and to avoid “controversial” subjects. What do you see as the openings for critical or mindful teaching in our time?

–A much too broad question, but here goes: What are your best hopes and wishes for meaningful reform in education around the world? How can/will/might this come about? How soon? Are you optimistic? How can our listeners keep in touch with you and learn more about your work?

For information on the Jirani Project in Kenya, click here:

If folks want to submit proposals (we will extend the deadline) for workshops or skill shares for the 12th annual Local  to Global Justice Teach-In taking place in February, here is that link:  (or see home page same site)

Vincent Ornelas, California State University, Chico

Vincent Ornelas teaches in the school of Social work and is president of the Chico Chapter of California Faculty Associates. He has degrees from USC and has done a great deal of work with young people, including being Director of Legislative Advocacy for the Exceptional Children’s Foundation of Los Angeles and the Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena. Since arriving in Chico, Vincent has been an active member of the CSUC Chicano/Latino Council. He is also working to establish linkages between the School of Social Work and community-based organizations that target underserved populations in our region. It’s been my pleasure to work with him on one of these projects, the Love Chapmantown Community Coalition.

–We’re talking about the aims of education. Broadly, what are yours? Is education about jobs? independence? ethics? What do you want for your students?

–Some people [myself included] think that traditional classroom education—books, courses, homework, tests—may have outlived its usefulness, that hands-on, on-the-job training is more directly useful. What do you think?

–Can you give us some examples of how kids learn outside the classroom based on your work with the Boys and Girls Club and other out-of-school projects? –Tell us about the linkages you and the School of Social Work are establishing in the Chico Community. [Feel free to mention our work on Chapmantown: asset mapping, internships, community surveys, etc.] How does such work translate into changing communities?

–What do you see as the greatest barriers to improving quality of life in Chico, the Northstate, and Beyond? [The “beyond” part might include discussion of whether Chicoland is uniquely privileged and that our solutions may not apply in areas of higher poverty, greater population, lousy weather . . . ]

–What kinds of linkups do you see as possible and desirable in Butte County among, say, the schools, the college and university, the business community, city and county government, and the neighborhoods?

–What do you expect to be doing in your work in 2013 to foster the kinds of changes you advocate?

You can read more about Vincent Ornelas on the School of Social Work Website,

Elaine Hallmark, Beyond War Coalition

Elaine Hallmark is Executive Director of Beyond War, which, for over thirty years, has argued that war is obsolete in this age of nuclear weapons, and that we must shift our world view and our actions to truly recognize that we are one–we are all interconnected on one small planet.  Beyond War has supported local groups all over the world in raising public awareness and educating on living beyond war.

–You have recently written, “We are experiencing a period of change of historic magnitude,…as worldviews shift from separateness, fear, and security through competitive dominance and win-lose violence to oneness, hope, and security through cooperative interdependence and win-win peace.” Could you please explain that conviction?

–Beyond War as an organization has a history going back to the 1980s, though the present organization, which you direct, has a more immediate history dating to 2003. Could you give us a brief history? [As you’d like, feel free to mention related work done by Beyond War, e.g. Rio + 20.]

–On December 18, you made a dramatic statement to your members. Please tell us about that. [Hearing about the statement, my colleague on this program, Sue Hilberbrand, said, “This sounds like a declaration of victory. Hoo-rah!” Is it? Who will take up the legacy of Beyond War?]

–You see us the world as being in an era of “breakdown and of breakthrough, as economic, social, political and other human systems we have created out of a culture of violence necessarily give way to new systems based on a very different view of reality: a culture of peace.” How do you see this transition taking place? Will we be driven to the brink? over the edge? Do you have confidence that humans can change over to a culture of peace without having a global breakdown?

–Depending on what happens between now and New Year’s, the country may go over what the media call the “financial cliff,” with automatic tax increases and cutbacks. Among the cutbacks would be a 9% cut it military funding. Wouldn’t that be a pretty good thing? Shouldn’t we perhaps drive the tanks over the fiscal cliff?

–In the last hour on The Point Is, we discussed education in the post-Sandy Hook era. What are Beyond War and its legatees doing to educate peacemakers or to prepare kids to live in a nonviolent world and to adopt nonviolence as their credo?

–2013 will be a busy year for you as you transition to your legacy organizations. But in terms of war and peace and your personal activism, what do you see as the biggest concerns?

Get more information about Beyond War: Click here

Chris Hoene, California Budget Coalition

Chris Hoene is the Executive Director of the California Budget Project. Chris has also worked with the National League of Cities and with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C., as well as the Public Policy Institute in San Francisco. He also wrote a doctoral dissertation on the effects of Prop 13 on California.

–Many of our listeners are aware of the work of the California Budget Project through our local project here in Chico. But for those who aren’t, please tell us a bit about the scope of your work. [State Budget, State Taxes, Federal Taxes & Budget, Work, Wages, & Incomes, Education, Health Human Services & Child Care] You are an advisory group, but are you also a lobbying organization?

–Let’s start with the good news. You recently wrote about he passage of Proposition 30, the “Jerry Brown Tax Hike”. You said “our state has taken a major step forward in stabilizing the budget and reinvesting in education and other public systems.” Which systems will benefit most? What has been left out?

–As we speak, Washington is still on the brink of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which would lead to cuts in the military, medicaid payments to doctors, unemployment, and minumum tax, to name a few. I’m assuming that CBP has thought about the consequences for California, since (as you report on your web site), over 33% of California spending comes from the Federal government. What are the worst and best scenarios?

–You’ve also written that “state policymakers should strive for budget decisions that permanently place the state on solid financial footing while also reinvesting in public systems that are essential to all Californians and to broadly shared economic growth.” As a policy analyst and planner, what do you see as the steps we need to take in California to bring about this stability?

…health and human services funding. Is it out of control?

…education. What is needed to fund the public schools, k-12 adequately? post-secondary ed? adult ed?

…jobs, jobs, jobs….the universal mantra among politicians. What can California do to create jobs that pay a decent, living wage? Do you see possibilities within the “green industries”? If military spending were to be cut, how would the state suffer and how would we generate alternative positions for military people?

–What did you learn about the effects of Proposition 13 from your dissertation?

–The California Budget Project is not funded by the state. Where do you get your funds? How do you maintain your independence?

–How can interested listeners learn more about the CBP and become involved with its work?

For more information go to <>


1. Teach Your Children 3:02

2. Where Do the Children Play? 3:54

3. School’s Out 3:30

4. Sweat 8:42

5. What’s So Funny ’bout Peace, Love and Understanding 3:33

6. Give Peace a Chance 4:52

7. Money Honey 3:36

8. Money-Drunk 3:04

9. Easy Money 3:41

10. Bargeld 7:17