David DesRoches | Connecticut Public Radio
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David DesRoches

Reporter

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway. 

He's won some awards. He's lost some, too. Winning is better, but does it really matter? What matters is the work and its impact. Here are some of his stories that matter: special education; toxic PCBs in schools; hate crime; environmental damages; students with emotional disabilities suspended at high rates; sexual assault cover-up; deaf children and the choices their parents face

He believes that journalism should hold the powerful to account and shed light on misunderstood and underserved populations. Much of his work has focused on people with disabilities. His coverage of systemic civil rights violations by a wealthy public school system against students with disabilities ended in numerous resignations and state legislation to address the flaws exposed. His report on toxic PCBs in aging schools for Reveal led two senators to independently call for an investigation into the EPA. The documentary on deafness, called “Making Sense,” has been described as the most multimedia project in the 40-plus year history of Connecticut Public.

The intersection of race, disability, and behavior is also a topic of interest, as are the various forms of cultural expression, and how they're often mischaracterized and misunderstood.

In addition to education coverage, he's reported on environmental topics, such as human waste and the use of biosolids on farms, and a dangerous publicly-funded pesticide program. He's also reported on sexual assault cases; prosecutorial misconduct during a hate crime trial; the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting-death in Ferguson, Mo. Some of these stories have led to congressional investigations and actual legislation at the state level. His work has appeared on NPR, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and numerous local and regional newspapers.

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David DesRoches

Shawn and Shane Brooks had a problem. They'd been accepted into Morehouse College, excited to attend the same school as Martin Luther King Jr. and other black male leaders. 

But then they got their financial aid packages. 

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

A state investigation into Norwalk's special education program has found that the district has not been following federal law, but the findings reflect deeper problems that the district has faced for years.

The complaint that sparked the investigation was filed on behalf of 14 Norwalk students, but Jill Chuckas, a special education advocate who filed the complaint along with two lawyers, said the problems impact all kids with disabilities in the district.

Keith Allison / Creative Commons

Families in Connecticut and across the country who are here illegally are bracing for raids this weekend, as agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, are expected to target some 2,000 people with deportation orders in at least 10 cities.

Even though the names of Connecticut cities have not been circulated as targets, families here are still worried about being separated.

WNPR/Frankie Graziano

A former federal prosecutor said the 2008 deal handed out to accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein in Florida is "completely unheard of."

For over a decade, Krishna Patel prosecuted human traffickers in Connecticut. She said current labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, needs to explain why he gave Epstein such a good deal.

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

The head of Newman's Own Foundation has been ousted from his position after allegations of misconduct from employees, though the nature of the misconduct has not been officially released.

Bob Forrester was Paul Newman's right-hand man, and he took over the Westport-based foundation when Newman died in 2008. 

Mark Ojakian
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

There's currently a $12 million hole in the state's community college budget for next year, and the gap is expected to widen in the coming years if changes don't happen soon.

The Board of Regents for Higher Education approved the use of $8 million from its reserve funds to cover some of the shortfall, but that money won't last forever.

Yalines Herrera, 15, participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program last year, and is again participating this year.
David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

Nearly 200 Hartford students will be spending the rest of their summer working, thanks to a paid internship program funded by the state and several nonprofits.

Yalines Herrera, 15, participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program last year. She said if she wasn't getting a job this summer, she’d probably spend her summer at home.

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool

The two people being charged with evidence tampering in the case of a missing New Canaan woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Stamford Superior Court.

Fotis Dulos and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, both pleaded not guilty to two felony charges related to the disappearance of Dulos's estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos. She's been missing since late May.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With Connecticut's legislative session now over, there were a few bills passed that impact education issues in the state, and some that didn’t make it through.

David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

A textbook being used in Hartford middle schools gives equal weight to an argument against climate change, despite the vast majority of scientists who say the planet is warming and human activity is a contributing factor.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

State lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require schools to teach African American and Latino history to high school students. 

Supporters of the measure say it’s time for African American and Latino history to be offered as its own course in high school, and not just as a footnote in the textbooks.

Cloe Poisson/Connecticut Public Radio

As she sat with her newborn in the hospital bed after a long and painful labor, an exhausted Corrine Walters held her son close, rocking him in her tired arms. Her first child. She smiled at him.

“Hi Jackson, you’re here, finally!” Corinne remembered saying. “I’m your mom!”

Read the full story, view videos in American Sign Language, and listen to the radio documentary at wnpr.org/makingsense.

LA Johnson (Special To Connecticut Public Radio)

It’s still hard for Keyanna Tucker to talk about what happened to her when she was six.

“I was molested,” Tucker said. “I didn’t know how to cope with it … I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew it wasn’t right. So I started becoming a bully.”

Tucker, who is now 22, recalled other problems. Her father was incarcerated, which was another layer of stress. And as time went on, her behavior slowly got worse.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A big part of the so-called American Dream promises that if people work hard enough -- no matter how poor they are -- they’ll find success. It turns out  that's not completely true, according to a new report by Georgetown University, which shows that wealth is stronger indicator of success than intelligence.

Education professor Anthony Carnevale co-authored the study.

Pexels

A new report by the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, says that Connecticut's charter school laws need to be improved.

Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Four years ago, Hartford school officials decided to try to reduce the numbers of students being suspended. So they implemented what's known as a "restorative justice" model for discipline, but many teachers report that they haven't been trained on the new practice, and now many students are acting out, with no consequences.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The state's new assessment for future teachers is biased against people of color and low-income students, according to a group of UConn professors, who said they want the state to stop using it and come up with something better.

Starting this fall, students who go through teacher preparation programs in Connecticut must pass a new testing protocol called edTPA, developed by Stanford University and Pearson, which is the largest education publisher in the world. The state's been piloting the test for a few years.

Young people and their supporters gather in Hartford to protest climate change and ask for the Green New Deal.
David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

A large majority of teachers say that climate change should be taught in schools, according to a new NPR - Ipsos poll. But the same poll that found that most teachers don't teach climate change to their students. 

Ng Han Guan / Associated Press

When it comes to philanthropic giving to public schools, the hype is always big. Like when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oprah Winfrey’s show that he was giving $100 million to Newark, New Jersey, schools.

But the results don’t always live up to the hype. 

Washington State Dept. of Transportation/flickr creative commons

After months of uncertainty the debate over tolls finally has some numbers to work with. Wednesday, the Lamont administration unveiled the plan they'd put in place -- if they can get the legislature to agree.

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

A recent state investigation found significant problems with a special education program in Torrington run by EdAdvance, one of six regional educational service centers, or RESCs, in the state. RESCs are publicly-funded schools that offer a variety of programs, including specialized services for students with disabilities who can’t be taught at their home schools.

But a former social worker at EdAdvance’s Torrington location said the school was rife with problems, and a state investigation agreed.

Bert Heymans / Creative Commons

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing often struggle to develop language, so state lawmakers are considering a bill that would require districts to collect and share data on their language abilities.

David DesRoches / WNPR

Seven police dogs were part of the 200th graduating class of canine teams to go through special training to detect electronic devices.

David DesRoches

About 200 young people and their supporters gathered at the capitol in Hartford on Friday to demand action on climate change.

David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

Over 1,300 students, faculty members, and others have signed a petition asking for the state to stop its plan to consolidate the 12 public community colleges into one system. 

They’re calling themselves the Reluctant Warriors. 

A street in Hartford's North End neighborhood in April 2016.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut mortgage lenders are coming under more scrutiny after a recent settlement highlighted practices that discriminated against minority populations.

This playground is made of recycled materials, and about a third of it is from recyled oral care waste.
David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

Third-grader Emma Hallett helped her mom manage the recycling bins, which were set up along a wall at the back of a noisy cafeteria at Kelley Elementary School in Southington.

David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

When he was young, Michael Gilberg knew how to make a point.

"My mother always said when I was 8, I would make a good attorney because I was good at arguing,"  he said.

spediter / iStock/Thinkstock

Over 130 people who say they were molested at a school in Haiti connected to Fairfield University, have settled a lawsuit for $60 million, pending approval by a federal judge in Hartford.

BrianAJackson/iStock / Thinkstock

Doctors in Connecticut were paid over $27 million from pharmaceutical and medical device companies in 2017, according to a recent story by C-HIT. 

The highest paid doctor in 2017 was an orthopedic surgeon in Greenwich, who got over $1 million from a range of companies that year. C-HIT reporter Sujata Srinivasan said many of these doctors deal directly with patients, which raises ethical questions.

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