WNPR

Education

School superintendents say the public education system in Connecticut needs an overhaul. The superintendents have unveiled a bold plan to transform schooling in the state.

It's not enough anymore to give kids an opportunity to learn, says Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the CT Association of Public School Superintendents. He says schools have to insure that all kids achieve at high levels.

The first round of applications for relief from the federal No Child Left Behind Act are due on Monday. But Connecticut will wait until the next year to apply.

School closures due last weekend’s snowstorm have created a scheduling headache for education leaders.  We visited the town of Cheshire on Thursday, where students have already missed five days of classes, and winter hasn’t even begun.

"Grades were supposed to close this week, so this is one of the critical weeks in school."

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday challenging the state’s takeover of Bridgeport’s troubled public schools.  Much of the debate centered on whether officials followed proper steps before replacing local school board members with state appointees.

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday challenging the state’s takeover of the Bridgeport Board of Education. The plaintiffs argue that the state cannot deny residents the right to vote for their local school board.

Last summer, most of the members of Bridgeport’s Board of Ed, along with the city’s superintendent and mayor asked the State Board to intervene in the city’s schools.  Within weeks, Connecticut’s Acting Education Commissioner had replaced Bridgeport’s elected school board with a state-appointed panel. 

Connecticut submits its third bid for Race to the Top federal education grants on Wednesday.  The focus this time around is early learning. 

Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge Grants are targeted to states that want to better coordinate their early care and education systems. Right now, Connecticut has a patchwork of programs for young children overseen by five different state agencies.

First Niagara Bank has announced a $1.3 million donation to Manchester Community College and the town of Manchester. The funds will be used to support the college’s expansion into downtown.

A merger between New Alliance and First Niagara Banks led to the layoff of more than 90 workers in downtown Manchester earlier this year. At the same time, Manchester Community College needed to expand. First Niagara’s $1.3 million donation includes the value of a downtown building for the college, and a cash donation to the foundation that will operate the facility. 

Christina Kishimoto

Oct 14, 2011
Chion Wolf

Hartford Public Schools have been the subject of books, documentaries and national news stories...and not always cast in the most positive light.

Hartford’s has long had status as one of the poorest cities in the country - and with that has come trouble in its education system: A state takeover, an attempt at privatization, a civil-rights lawsuit, and a series of “reformers” who left the city too quick to make any real changes.

Bridgeport officials will conduct a national search for the city’s next school superintendent.  A state-appointed Board of Education has fired Bridgeport’s current superintendent as part of its takeover of the troubled school system.

Bridgeport’s state-appointed board of education will part ways with Superintendent John Ramos at the end of December.   An interim superintendent will come in to serve while education officials conduct a national search for the city’s next school leader. 

Eleven teachers involved in a cheating scandal at a Waterbury elementary school returned to work on Tuesday. The teachers will lose 20 days of pay and must perform community service as after-school tutors.

Six Wedding Dresses and a Curtain

Oct 6, 2011

What can the fabric from six dresses and a curtain tell us about 150 years of one family’s history?  As it turns out, quite a lot.

Within the CHS archives lives a clue to six generations and 150 years of a family’s past: a small board with seven swatches of fabric lovingly attached.  Six of the fabrics are from wedding dresses and the seventh is a curtain fragment.  Each piece was labeled with the name of a bride, her groom, and their wedding date.  The swatches of fabric were handed down and finally assembled as a unique family record.

CPBN

***Note: This story contains corrected text, amended since the original broadcast and web publishing date***

The Hartford Public School District has entered into a 10-year agreement with Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, the parent of WNPR, to build a "Learning Lab" for high school seniors.  

The Secretary of the U.S. Air Force was in New Haven on Monday.  He joined Yale University officials to announce a new Reserve Officer Training Corps unit on campus. Air Force ROTC is the second military detachment to agree to return to Yale this year.  The university announced in May that it would also reinstate a Naval ROTC unit. 

Teaching About 9/11

Sep 9, 2011
Diane Orson

As the nation prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11th,  Connecticut schools are holding special assemblies and classroom discussions. We report on some of the challenges facing educators who teach students about 9/11, and the larger issues that surround the historic event.

Many schools in Connecticut delayed opening their doors last week thanks to Tropical Storm Irene.  But students at Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford have been in school since last July.  And the school’s principal says he’ll be working harder to improve academic outcomes. 

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