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Act Two: Lifers

Reporter Laura Beil tells the story of a kid named Kenneth Williams and an adult named Ton'Nea Williams (who share a last name but are not related).

Act Three: Mister Baby Monitor

Ira Glass speaks with a woman named Angie, who never understood why her dad got so excited about thermoses and phone books... until she happened to see this one movie.  Then Jonathan Goldstein tells a story about his friend Josh Karpati, who has two-year-old twins, and who never leaves the house. Jonathan hosts Wiretap on CBC Radio.

Prologue

Ira tells what happened this week to Dan Curry in Odessa Texas on Wednesday, to eight-year-old Ruby Melman on Sunday in New Jersey, to Beau O'Reilly at a bike store in Chicago on Saturday, to Theodosha Alexander at the World Trade Center site on Thursday, to Dr. Wade Gordon in Afghanistan on Thursday, to a high school class at the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, and at a bar in New York City on Saturday.

Prologue

Ira Glass plays clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me, by Weijun Chen. It follows a third grade class in central China in the very first election they've ever had or witnessed.

Act One: Trickle Down History

Reporter Starlee Kine observes what would have happened if the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada in 1983 had been decided not by Ronald Reagan, but by a bunch of middle schoolers...and she remembers a class trip to the Nixon library, where Nixon aide HR Haldeman spoke.

Act Two: Climate Changes. People Don't.

As adults battle over how climate change should be taught in school, we try an experiment. We ask Dr Roberta Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, who helps develop curricula on climate change, to present the best evidence there is to a high school skeptic, a freshman named Erin Gustafson.

Act Three: Minor Authorities

Jyllian Gunther visits The Brooklyn Free School, where there are no courses, no tests and no homework, and where the kids decide everything about how the school is run, including discipline. Jyllian is a filmmaker, working on a documentary called Growing Small.

Act Two: Lewis Time

Ira with teachers Shraddha Subramaniam and Samantha Cato, and their 2010 predictions for their sixth grade students at Intermediate School 303 in the Bronx, especially a student named Lewis de la Cruz.

Act One: Mother Of Invention

Karen Sosnoski's one-year-old son, Anton, was born with what's known as Mosaic Down Syndrome, a rare condition where some of his cells have the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome and other cells don't. So as he grows, he could end up having all the health risks and challenges of Down syndrome...or just a few of them.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass introduces a story on the most ambitious and hopeful solution to urban poverty in the country—the Harlem Children's Zone. The project's goal is nothing less than changing the lives of thousands of children in Harlem, starting at birth and continuing until they go to college.

Act One: Harlem Renaissance

Paul Tough reports on the Harlem Children's Zone, and its CEO and president, Geoffrey Canada. Among the project's many facets is Baby College, an 8-week program where young parents and parents-to-be learn how to help their children get the education they need to be successful.

Act One: I'm The Decider

This American Life regular contributor Davy Rothbart talks about the time a friend asked him to make a decision for her that she really had to make for herself: Whether she should have an abortion. Davy is the founder and publisher of Found Magazine and author of a book of short stories, The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas.