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Report: Twice As Many Conn. High Schoolers Are In Danger Of Being Held Back

Feb 22, 2021
A classroom is set up for the fall semester at Middletown High School. There will be an empty desk between two students. High school students will have to carry their desk shield assigned to them when moving to another class.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Research released Monday confirms what many parents and educators already suspected — more students than ever are falling behind during the pandemic, a problem especially present among those learning entirely from home in some of the state’s larger districts.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As Gov. Ned Lamont rolls out his budget proposals for the coming biennium, education funding seems poised to become a battleground. Lamont wants to freeze the state’s contribution to public schools, the pot of money called Education Cost Sharing, or ECS. Instead, he would boost districts by using federal coronavirus funds. And that’s raising alarm among educators and advocates.

5317367 / Pixabay

Plumbers and electricians are essential workers with well-paying jobs.  And yet skilled trades face worker shortages and struggle to recruit young people.

This hour, we take a look at vocational education. We talk with a teacher and a student from one of Connecticut’s technical high schools.

And we ask a national expert: what can the Biden administration do to build up a new generation of tradespeople?

Desks are spaced 6 feet apart in a classroom at the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation in August, 2020.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As COVID-19 cases rise, teachers, parents, and students worry--is school safe? At the same time, as many students engage in education remotely, many students are falling farther and farther behind, and the impact of that learning loss is disproportionately falling on nonwhite students.

By Amherst2005 (www.creativecommons.org)

Over 40 million Americans have student loan debt owing an average of $36,520 alone, for federal loans. Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, and President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Department of Education, says student debt relief would be a priority. 

The U.S. Department of Justice is dropping its controversial lawsuit brought by the Trump administration against Yale University, in which it accused the school of illegally discriminating against white and Asian American applicants in its undergraduate admissions process.

Pixabay

Broadband access is not just a convenience, it’s essential for life under COVID-19. 

This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s digital divide. We talk with a researcher whose report highlights the stark racial and economic disparities in internet access in our state.

Governor Lamont has proposed universal broadband by September 2022. But is the state taking strong enough steps to put all residents on an equal footing when it comes to internet access?

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Dr. Miguel Cardona’s journey as an educator started in an elementary school classroom in Meriden, Connecticut. Now, Connecticut’s education commissioner is heading to Washington D.C. as President Biden’s pick for nation’s Secretary of Education.  This hour, we sit down down with Dr. Cardona.

If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona will take the helm of the U.S. Department of Education during a pandemic that has profoundly disrupted the country’s education system.  As Education Commissioner, Cardona advocated strongly for an in-person return to the classroom in Connecticut. How will he navigate education during COVID-19 at a national scale?

The percentage of Hartford students in racially integrated schools dropped significantly this academic year amid the challenge of the COVID pandemic and a major change in the operation of the regional school choice lottery, according to figures provided by the state Department of Education.

Seth Sawyers / Creative Commons

We’re one semester into the 2020-2021 academic year. This hour, how are faculty at our Connecticut colleges and universities holding up? 

Coming up, we'll talk about faculty burnout, the impending end of tenure, and what universities will invest in, in the future. 

Miguel Cardona with his parents in Meriden.
CTMirror.org

Miguel Cardona is drawing praise from many in the academic community as a visionary choice to be the next U.S. secretary of education. President-elect Joe Biden announced his pick last week.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the federal Department of Education -- Miguel Cardona -- has deep roots in Connecticut public schools.

Miguel Cardona
Courtesy: NEAG School of Education, UConn

President-elect Joe Biden is prepared to offer Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona the job of leading the U.S. Department of Education, according to a report by CNN.

If confirmed by the Senate, Cardona would take the reins of the department during a pivotal time in education as the pandemic keeps many school buildings across the country closed and evidence mounts that students are falling behind.

All throughout high school, Brian Williams planned to go to college. But as the pandemic eroded the final moments of his senior year, the Stafford, Texas, student began to second-guess that plan.

"I'm terrible at online school," Williams says. He was barely interested in logging on for his final weeks of high school; being online for his first semester at Houston Community College felt unbearable.

"I know what works best for me, and doing stuff on the computer doesn't really stimulate me in the same way an actual class would."

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

If it were any other year, Thursday’s expected storm would have students going to bed the night before with their pajamas inside out in the hopes of a snow day. But remote learning during the pandemic has dashed those hopes as many districts can simply continue online classes. 

But not everywhere. Litchfield and Region 6 Superintendent Christopher Leone will save snow days for his students, including Thursday. That means no in-person or remote classes. 

Farmington High School is the latest school to drop its Native American mascot. Several schools across the state, and professional sports teams across the nation, have dropped names that are offensive.

Deborah Rosenthal starts her virtual kindergarten class on Zoom every morning with a song — today, it's the Spanish version of "If You're Happy and You Know It." Her students clap along. There's a greeting from the class mascot (a dragon), yoga, meditation and then some practice with letter sounds: "Oso, oso, O, O, O."

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

With the second wave of coronavirus infections seemingly roaring across Connecticut, state teachers unions have been calling for students to go to a distance-learning-only model for the time being. But the state -- led by Gov. Ned Lamont -- remains adamant about keeping kids at least partially in the classroom.

CT Public

Shifting back and forth between in-person and remote learning has been tough, according to Alisha Price. She teaches social studies and literacy at Hallen School in Bridgeport.

Students get off a bus on the first day of school in Connecticut. The first few days will be about setting expectations for mask wearing and social distancing according to superindendents.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

The academic year is well on it’s way. How are students and teachers in Connecticut adapting to their second semester of online learning? 

This hour, Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Miguel A. Cardona joins us to answer our questions and yours on the state of Connecticut’s schools. 

State education officials are reporting enrollment drops among young students and in some of the state’s most vulnerable school districts.

Continuing a trend, student enrollment declined in Connecticut’s public schools this year. Ajit Gopalakrishnan, chief compliance officer for the state Department of Education, said enrollment fell three percent. That's a one-year drop that’s about on par with declines previously seen over a five year period.

Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job.

Cheryl Holt / Pixabay

It has been over seven years since Sheryl Sandberg’s breakthrough book Lean In'' hit the shelfs and started a conversation about women leading in the workplace. But sexism is far from obsolete in today’s job market. 

Governor Takes A Bow For Students Logging On. Data Doesn’t Back It Up

Oct 8, 2020
Gov. Lamont during a visit to New Britain High School. Students listen to him both in-person (foreground) and online (on the screen overhead).
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CTMirror.org

One month into the school year, Gov. Ned Lamont says online education during the pandemic is a success, noting that students are showing up for their virtual classes.

Of the colleges and universities that have chosen to hold classes in person this fall, most are not conducting widespread testing of their students for the coronavirus, an NPR analysis has found. With only weeks remaining before many of those schools plan to send students home for the end of the semester, the findings raise concerns that communities around the U.S. could be exposed to new outbreaks.

Three Rivers Community College in Norwich
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CTMirror.org

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are in “budget crisis” and in need of a $69 million bailout, CSCU President Mark Ojakian told the governor Monday.

UConn Asks For $104 Million Bailout; Considering Layoffs, Hospital Borrows $45 Million

Sep 30, 2020
Denise Rickevicius, from Watertown, carries her daughter’s belongings as she moves into a UConn dormitory last month. The number of on-campus students has been sharply limited this year and has brought a loss of revenue.
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

Officials at the University of Connecticut and its health center on Wednesday asked the state for a $104.4 million bailout and warned they may need significantly more if the coronavirus shuts down the campus and hospital again.

Courtesy: Darien Public Schools

Students in Darien returned to the classroom full time Tuesday after a month of hybrid learning, despite a request from teachers to wait a few more weeks. They say there isn’t enough space for all students to learn safely.

Courtesy: Darien Public Schools

Before what ended up being a 4 1/2-hour meeting Wednesday night, Darien teachers rallied outside the Board of Education building, urging the district to reconsider a proposal to bring all students back to full-time in-person learning on Tuesday.

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