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Education

From the bestselling author of Cultural Literacy, a passionate and cogent argument for reforming the way we teach our children.

Uma Ramiah

The Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden is a place of exploration for kids. The museum is open to all students, but it targets a special kind of learner.

Nestled next to a waterfall on a few acres of green land, the museum is chock full of marbles and springs and catapults of all kinds -- all atop dusty, well-used shelves.

One morning last week kindergarteners from New Haven's Conte West Hills Magnet School sanded bits of balsam wood to turn into toy boats that would demonstrate the physics of water.

Two men were arraigned last month in connection with an alleged sexual assault at Southern Connecticut State University. SCSU is part of a consortium of Connecticut colleges and universities that are working together to reduce violence against women. As part of our continuing series on campus safety, WNPR's Diane Orson reports. 

The statistic is hard to believe. A U.S. Department of Justice study finds one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape while in college.

"This is a not talked about phenomena"  

More than 800 students graduate tonight from Gateway Community College in New Haven. Many took their first steps into higher education through the school’s open door policy.  But budget shortfalls could end open admissions at community colleges in Connecticut. Walk down the corridor at Gateway Community College and you’ll see a diverse mix of students – teenagers right out of high school, mothers in their early 30s, even senior citizens.  

More than 800 students graduate tonight from Gateway Community College in New Haven.  Many took their first steps into higher education through the school’s open door policy.  But, budget shortfalls could end open admissions at community colleges in Connecticut.

Walk down the corridor at Gateway Community College and you’ll see a diverse mix of students – teenagers right out of high school, mothers in their early 30's, even senior citizens.  

New Beginnings for New Haven's Institute Library

May 25, 2011
Uma Ramiah

New Haven is home to one of the last remaining membership libraries in North America. The Young Men's Institute Library hired a new executive director in February, and hopes to become the center of community life it was nearly 200 years ago.

Tucked between a vacant storefront and a tattoo parlor in, the Young Men's Institute Library in New Haven would be easy to miss. But on a recent Saturday morning volunteers could be found renovating the unused top two floors of the library. 

15- year old Fuko Chiba was visiting her family in Japan in March when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the island. She’s a ninth grade boarding student at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut.  Here’s her “This I Believe” essay about what happened.

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study finds a link between lead poisoning in young children and lower scores on the CT Mastery Tests.  And black children in the state are more likely to be exposed to lead.

First, researchers looked at blood lead data for all Connecticut 4th graders in the 2007-2008 school year. Then they studied test scores on the CMTs.  

Rebecca Anthopolis is a statistical analyst with the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative at Duke University where the data were analyzed.

New Bill Would Create Model For Evaluating Teachers

May 17, 2011
Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Connecticut lawmakers heard from education advocates Thursday afternoon about a new bill that would create a model for evaluating teachers. But the state's teachers' unions don't agree on it, and others say it doesn't go far enough.

Hundreds of teachers face lay-offs in the state due to budget constraints. But using seniority as the only means to decide who stays and who goes is unprofessional, says Alex Johnston. Johnston is the CEO of ConnCann, an education advocacy group.

JECO Photo / Creative Commons

New London's Board of Education has been getting attention recently for adopting a policy that will require all students beginning in 2015 to know English before they can graduate. As WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the requirement reaches beyond the school district’s large student immigrant population.

A little more than half of New London tenth graders are proficient in reading and writing. Some point to the school district's diverse population as a reason.  Almost thirty countries are represented in the student body.

A bill that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates has passed in the state House and now moves to the Senate.  

The legislation would allow students who have graduated from a Connecticut high school after attending for at least four years to be eligible for the state tuition rate at a public college or university.

A similar bill was vetoed by former Governor Jodi Rell in 2007. But this year, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy says he'll sign the bill into law.

Malloy's support is embraced by undocumented students like Carolina Bortolleto.

Courtesy of Cloe Poisson, Hartford Courant

College And Its "Degrees of Inequality"

May 12, 2011
Werwin15, Creative Commons

Could our higher education system, once seen as a great equalizer, actually be adding to the nation’s inequalities?

As high schoolers grapple with the grueling spring admissions process, one author argues that students’ true courses into college are forged by many factors other than their grades.

In her book Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, and Gender in American Higher Education, Ann Mullen analyses two New Haven schools.

Diane Orson

Last year, the city of New Haven announced the start of an ambitious 5-year education reform program. Schools were assigned levels, or “tiers". That’s something that might not affect kids as much as teachers and school administrators. 

With summer vacation just a few weeks away, we visited a lower-performing “Tier Three” school to talk with educators and parents about what’s changed this year.

A new report finds noticeable academic progress in fifteen low-performing Connecticut districts where there’s been intensive intervention by the state.  Test scores in these districts show substantial improvement over time, particularly among minority students.

Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Stamford are among fifteen school districts that are part of the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative or CALI.  All were identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act.  

Last week, we reported that an advertising campaign by the Hartford Public Schools upset state education officials.  Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, plaintiffs a landmark school desegregation case say the "Choose Hartford" ad strategy could land everybody back in court.

A bill that would raise the starting age for kindergarten has passed out of the Appropriations Committee.  Critics are concerned that it does not provide an alternative for kids whose families cant afford an extra year of preschool.

The idea is to require children entering kindergarten to be five years old by October 1st. This new law would take effect in 2015, and supporters say it would improve teaching and learning because right now, the age range in kindergarten is too wide. 

Tomorrow is the deadline for students who want to accept a placement in one of the state's magnet or choice schools.  But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a press release from the Hartford Public Schools has apparently rubbed the state the wrong way.

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano, Courtesy of Flickr CC

This week, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence is announcing a new way to teach teenagers about healthy relationships. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the message is coming right to a teen's cell phone.

There aren't many teenagers these days who don't have a cell phone. Smartphones like the Iphone and Droid are "the" phones to have because they allow teens to text messages, take pictures and videos, listen to music, surf the web and of course play a ton of cool games.

"I have a lot of games. My mom yells at me for having all the apps."

Financial Literacy and Connecticut's Kids

Apr 12, 2011
Chion Wolf

We’re struggling to get out of a recession, caused in part by borrowing way too much.  So, if grown-ups can’t manage their money – how should we expect kids to?

Many financial experts say that children aren’t learning the right lessons about how to handle their money.  Here’s an example: A recent study finds that today’s parents are “incredibly lenient” about handing their children extra money – you know, that 20 dollars to go see a movie, over and above their allowance.

Week of the Young Child

Apr 12, 2011
Pawel Loj, Creative Commons

This week has been designated The Week of the Young Child by the National association for the Education of Young Children, Joining us by phone is Maggie Adair, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.

Vice President Joe Biden has announced new steps to help colleges and universities fight sexual violence on campus. This comes as federal authorities are investigating whether Yale University has failed to properly respond to complaints of sexual harassment and assault.

Speaking at the University of New Hampshire on Monday, Vice President Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan spelled out the legal obligations of colleges and universities under federal civil rights laws.  

Diane Orson

Federal authorities are investigating a complaint that Yale University has failed to adequately respond to allegations of on-campus sexual harassment and misconduct. Students describe a “sexually hostile” environment at the school.

Sixteen current and former Yale University students filed the complaint under Title IX, with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

21-year old Yale student Alexandra Brodsky:

Like many other school districts, Hartford, Conn., rewards schools that perform well and closes schools that perform badly.

But Hartford is also a district that allows parents to choose their child's school. As the theory goes, parents should naturally choose the good schools over the bad ones — but as it turns out, they often don't.

A workforce training initiative in Eastern Connecticut has become the first in the country to offer college credits for free online work-skills courses. 

For six years, CT Works Careers Centers in Eastern Connecticut have offered their clients free three-month licenses to access over five thousand skills training courses via computer. The courses are concentrated either in IT skills or in health care certifications. John Beauregard of the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board says the service is already a success.

Closing The Gap - In The Suburbs, Too

Mar 15, 2011
Connecticut Mirror

First of three parts

    WEST HARTFORD--Xavier Rosa is stuck. The fourth-grader at Braeburn Elementary School knows that five is not a factor of 57-he got the question right on his homework assignment. And he knows that any number that ends in five is divisible by five. But his teacher, Michele Cashman, presses him to remember what the other half of the rule is, asking him how many cents he would have if he had two nickels.

    "Ten," he says.

    "So, what's in the one's place?"

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