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Education

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Connecticut's graduation rate is now the highest on record, state officials said Monday. Last year, 87.9 percent of high school seniors graduated. That's about five points higher than the national average. The graduation rate gap between students of color and white students also shrank.

College of DuPage / Creative Commons

A large number of Connecticut high school graduates don't get a college degree within six years of leaving high school. But there's not a lot of information on what they're actually up to.

"I'm 54 years old and my paycheck is $1,980 [a month]. I can't afford f****** health insurance."

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The system that oversees private special education schools in Connecticut needs an overhaul, according to a recent state audit. About 3,000 students with severe needs are currently placed in these schools, mostly at the expense of public school districts.

Students in Hartford join the national walkout over gun violence.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that district administrators in Stonington did not respond to a request for comment. In fact, Stonington High School Principal Mark Friese responded to WNPR in an email before the story was published, and he provided his account of the day’s events, which is now included.

Stonington High School junior Caroline Morehouse was excited when she learned that her school would allow students to walkout of class to protest gun violence in a nationwide day of action on March 14. She'd be standing in solidarity with students from Parkland, Florida, who only a month earlier had lost 17 classmates in yet another school shooting.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s lunchtime at Central Connecticut State University and 10 students converge on their usual spot in the dining hall. They start talking about the food — and it becomes clear that they don’t love the rice. They explain that it’s not as seasoned as the homemade arroz in Puerto Rico.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Es la hora del almuerzo en la Universidad Estatal Central de Connecticut y 10 estudiantes se reúnen es su lugar habitual del comedor. Empiezan a hablar sobre la comida y se hace evidente que no les gusta mucho el arroz. Explican que no está sazonado como el arroz casero de Puerto Rico.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s mid-March and Hartford Public High School teacher Bridget Allison goes over essay-writing tips for her fourth-period class. After a while, she checks in on a group of students who are seated together — a few of the evacuees from Puerto Rico.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Es mediado de marzo y la profesora de la Secundaria Pública de Hartford, Bridget Allison, repasa las pautas para redacción de ensayos en su cuarto período de clase. Luego de un rato, confirma con un grupo de estudiantes que se sientan juntos, unos pocos evacuados de Puerto Rico.

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Teachers from across Connecticut convened at the state Capitol on Friday, asking lawmakers to not increase their pension obligations. Teachers call it the "teacher tax,” and they said it’s asking them to fix a system broken by years of under-funding by the state.

Students rally outside the White House after the  Parkland school shooting.
Lorie Shaull / Creative Commons

Students will be walking out of schools across Connecticut Wednesday to express their concerns about gun violence. School districts around the state have been responding to the effort in different ways. 

Wednesday morning, at 10 o'clock, students at schools across the country will walk out of their classrooms. The plan is for them to leave school — or at least gather in the hallway — for 17 minutes. That's one minute for each of the victims in last month's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The walkout has galvanized teens nationwide and raised big questions for schools about how to handle protests.

"Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?" Lesley Stahl asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a 60 Minutes interview that is drawing lots of attention.

"I'm not so sure how exactly that happened," DeVos responded in the interview, which aired Sunday night on CBS.

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Connecticut has spent over $50 million helping schools beef up security since 2013. Some of that money -- $3.2 million -- has gone to private schools, which are reimbursed at a higher rate than many public schools.

It seems every few weeks there is a hate crime reported on a college campus in New England. The groups that keep track of these kinds of incidents say there is, in fact, a marked increase in the number of racist slurs found scrawled on campus walls and an increase in white supremacist group activity.

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