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Education

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When I was a kid, my parents fell into the practice of dropping me off at churches they themselves had no intention of attending.

So for a while, in the 1960's, I joined the Universalist Church on Fern Street in West Hartford. I went to services and Sunday school and, somewhere around sixth grade, I joined a Youth Fellowship there.

Morning Edition: Weight-Based Bullying

Nov 18, 2011
Jean-Pierre (Flickr Creative Commons)

Being overweight is the biggest reason why teens are bullied at school. That's according to a survey of Connecticut adolescents. Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Published the report online in the Journal of School Health. Joining us by phone is the lead author of the report, and director of research at the Yale Rudd Center Rebecca Puhl.

Governor Malloy’s “E-C-S Task Force” meets today.  The panel will hear testimony from a researcher at Connecticut Voices for Children on how to improve state financing of local public schools.

The Education Cost Sharing, or ECS, grant is the single most important source of funding for education from the state to local towns.  The amount that a town receives is determined by a complex formula, which most educators and legislators agree needs to be reformed.  Earlier this year, Governor Malloy established a task force to look into the formula. 

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. 

Dr. Steve Perry's Education Revolution

Sep 6, 2011
Chion Wolf

Principal Steve Perry has been hailed for his “tough love and high expectations” at Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford.

He’s had success in keeping kids in school in a city that’s struggled with dropout rates for decades. He preaches strict discipline and no excuses. He greets kids every morning at a school right downtown - in a famous former department store. The students wear uniforms - and he says all of them go to college.

Coutesy of Flickr CC by No Division

It’s an exciting time for college freshman as they begin classes this week. Among them are students who just a few months ago didn’t think they could afford college. That changed July 1 when a new state law went into effect, making illegal immigrants eligible for the in state tuition rate at Connecticut colleges and universities. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil introduces us to one of those students, an 18 year old named Karen.

Back to School With Susan Herbst

Aug 26, 2011
Chion Wolf

New UConn President Susan Herbst has taken on the job with big plans for the state’s flagship university.

When we spoke with Herbst months ago, just before her appointment had become official, we talked at length about athletics at the school - a point of statewide pride, but also national controversy over graduation rates and compliance issues in the men’s Basketball program.

Veterans are among college students heading back to class this fall. At the University of Connecticut, more than 400 students have military experience. They're considered non-traditional students given the fact many enroll after multiple deployments. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on one way campuses are working to accommodate their needs. 

You've probably heard of New Haven Promise by now.  It's a scholarship program funded by Yale University and community partners which awards New Haven public school students who show academic potential.

But the Promise program isn't just about paying tuition for some.

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with New Haven Promise Executive Director Emily Brynes about the program's community outreach.

 

Cheating Schools

Aug 18, 2011
albertogp123

The state is investigating teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests.

This follows widespread cheating scandals uncovered in the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Atlanta…just this year.  In a story this month, the magazine Education Week put it this way:

“As long as test scores are used in any field to make decisions on rewards or punishments, including for schools or educators, a small percentage of people will be willing to bend the rules - or break them.”

Governor Malloy addressed the state’s school superintendents on Wednesday and presented his vision for a state education system that better prepares students for the kinds of jobs Connecticut employers can offer.

Governor Malloy began an impassioned 20-minute speech on education by describing why as a kid,  he loathed school. "..because I had a very different experience than a lot of my peers, having grown up with learning disabilities and not having reached any great level of achievement until late in high school."

Governor Malloy visited Wesleyan University in Middletown on Monday.  He met with leaders of Connecticut’s private colleges and universities to talk jobs.

The Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges represents 16 schools that employ over 22,000 people.  

Hariadhi via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the high stakes attached to its multimillion-dollar statewide school testing program, new allegations of cheating show that Connecticut--like many other states--relies almost entirely on local districts to spot and report fraud.

An apparent cheating scandal at a Waterbury elementary school on the Connecticut Mastery Test came to light only after Waterbury officials alerted that state last month that something was amiss.

An investigator for the State Department of Education has begun to question teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests.  This is the latest in a string of cheating scandals nationwide.

17 teachers and other employees at Hopeville School in Waterbury have been placed on leave as an investigator looks into possible test tampering.  A preliminary review showed many wrong answers on this year’s CMTS had been erased and corrected.  

In New Haven, Head Start Hits the Road

Aug 3, 2011

An early education program in New Haven reaches more than 800 families in the city each year. The Head Start program hit the road this week, looking to recruit a few more.

Outside a Stop and Shop grocery store on Whalley Avenue in New Haven, Damaris Rodriguez is walking a parent through how to register her three year old for the New Haven Public Schools Head Start program.

"You're going to need the child's birth certificate long form, proof of residence, a utility bill or a lease in your name or your husband's name."

Photo by Jurvetson (Flickr)

When the space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on its final mission earlier this month, it brought along a little bit of Hartford with it. A group of eighth graders from the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in Hartford's North End wanted to measure the effect of microgravity on Tomato growth, so they wrote a proposal and it was accepted.

We talk to principal Melony Brady about her students' project.

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