Education | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

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.

Waterbury Public Schools school buses
Franke Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A new report from Connecticut’s Child Advocate finds staff at Waterbury Public Schools have called the police hundreds of times on elementary and middle school students experiencing mental health crises.

Some of these children were as young as five years old.

Some of the computers Bridgeport Public Schools received this summer to help students still learning at home.
LINDA CONNER LAMBECK / HEARST CT MEDIA

With most school districts in Connecticut requiring that students learn online at least part of the time, the Lamont administration announced Tuesday that 20,000 of the 81,000 students who need a laptop for classes will receive one in the next few weeks.

A toddler looking at a play pen
Pikist

Many Connecticut families have faced a child care crisis during the pandemic and it hasn’t changed despite most schools opening. Remote learning during the school week has some parents struggling to balance work and child care.

This hour, we talk with Beth Bye, the state’s Early Childhood commissioner. How are you managing childcare and remote school while working? 

First, we talk with a Fairfield woman who ran for the Connecticut General Assembly in 2018 and wanted to use public election funds to pay for child care while she campaigned. A recent court ruling has sided with the former candidate. What does this mean for working parents in Connecticut who see child care as a barrier to running for elected office?

Max Pixel

As the nation faces a public health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, we are also amid a long overdue and urgent national reckoning with the ongoing effects of systemic racism.  And that also profoundly affects public health and the health of children.

Still, many parents struggle to talk about racial bias with their kids.  Coming up we explore why, and talk about preparing for these important conversations. Guest host Diane Orson speaks with a developmental behavioral pediatrician, and with a TV critic about ways media shape views of race.

Pixnio

The first day of school is just around the corner for many Connecticut students, but “back to school” will look very different for families across Connecticut. 

This hour, we hear from from students, parents and educational leaders.

Courtesy: Wilton Public Schools

The Wilton Board of Education has voted to postpone the start of in-person learning for a week, saying the town needs more time to prepare. Hamden has also pushed back the start of school for a week, citing a shortage of teachers.

Vanessa de la Torre / Connecticut Public Radio

Central Connecticut State University students returned to learning Wednesday, with a list of pandemic requirements that include wearing masks in the classroom and taking multiple coronavirus tests this semester.

Gov. Ned Lamont joined Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, on campus to kick off what they both said will be a different year of learning and having to adapt. Lamont stressed that if the public health metrics change, the system will adjust to remote learning. 

IowaPolitics.com / Flickr

Some Connecticut school districts across the state are getting ready to reopen their doors, but with coronavirus cases rising across the country, more parents are considering keeping children at home, 

CPTV

Whether students return to the classroom or learn online, how should parents and schools weigh concerns around health and equity?

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

How does a national teacher of the year - turned Congresswoman - view school reopening plans in Connecticut? This hour, we talk with Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, who represents Connecticut’s Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The freshman lawmaker is nearing the end of her first term in Congress.

Hayes is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee--we ask her to weigh in what measures need to be in place for students and teachers to return to school safely.

Pages