David DesRoches | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

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.

Ways to Connect

University of Hartford.

UPDATE, appended 4/26/19.

A former philosophy professor from the University of Hartford is suing the school after he said he was stalked by a student with a mental illness for seven years, and the university failed to protect him.

Central Connecticut State University.

Carolina Riollano flew into Florida on a humanitarian plane that was packed with people. Most of them were elderly or ill. But Riollano’s reason for leaving her home was different. She came here to learn.

Central Connecticut State University.

Carolina Riollano viajó hasta Florida en un avión humanitario lleno de gente. La mayoría de ellos eran personas ancianas o enfermas. Pero la razón de  Riollano  para dejar su hogar fue diferente. Ella vino aquí a aprender.

Mark Goebel / Creative Commons

The head of a national organization to end housing discrimination believes that the recent harassment case at the University of Hartford could violate the Fair Housing Act. 

Students from the University of Hartford have been taking to social media over the university's handling of a dispute between roommates that ended in an arrest.

Damaged houses in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

When Serafin Mendez heard that thousands of students from the University of Puerto Rico wouldn't be able to continue their education because of hurricane-related damage to the campus, he decided to do something.

Damaged houses in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Cuando Serafín Méndez escuchó que miles de estudiantes de la Universidad de Puerto Rico no podrían continuar su educación por daños al campus relacionados con el huracán, decidió hacer algo.

Damaged houses in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Cuando Serafín Méndez escuchó que miles de estudiantes de la Universidad de Puerto Rico no podrían continuar su educación por daños al campus relacionados con el huracán, decidió hacer algo.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Los estudiantes de Puerto Rico y de las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU. podrán pagar matrículas como si fuesen residentes del estado para asistir a colegios universitarios estatales.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to pay in-state tuition rates to attend a state college.

WNPR/David DesRoches

The state's 12 community colleges could become consolidated into a single school by mid-2019. The 12 campuses would remain open, but would be renamed the Connecticut Community College.

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

It's only a matter of time before Michael McCotter says he'll lose his job.

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

The state's budget crisis is hitting Connecticut schools hard, and special education programs might also be feeling the pain, even though these services are protected by federal law.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark school funding lawsuit. State officials are appealing a lower court decision, that ruled the state's funding system was unconstitutional.

Juhan Sonin/flickr creative commons

Hundreds of jobs for young people were not available this summer, as the state failed to pass a budget in time to fund its Summer Youth Employment Program. But some local organizations stepped up to make some of those jobs available.

Barret Anspach / Flickr/Creative Commons

People hoping to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts might actually be doing more harm than good. That’s according Juanita Rilling, former director of USAID's Center for International Disaster Information.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Classes started on Monday at UConn's new campus in downtown Hartford. 

Mark Dixon / Creative Commons

How do you confront hate?

This hour, we dive into this resurgent — and unfortunate — reality. Should we tolerate hate? Or should we be intolerant? Do we fight hate with more hatred, or something else? We talk about all this, along with the recent incidents in Charlottesville and Boston.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

School districts could see even more severe cuts than originally proposed in Governor Dannel Malloy's executive order, which has proposed to slash another $100 million from schools.

Pixabay/Spooky_kid / Creative Commons

New England Brewing Company’s Robert Leonard has been brewing local favorites Sea Hag and Gandhi Bot, now called G-Bot, for decades. 

David DesRoches / WNPR

It took about 20 minutes and two helium tanks to fill up the huge latex balloon. A rope dangling from the bottom held onto an assortment of gadgets, including a video camera, parachute, and a razor attached to motor that was programmed to cut the rope at just the right altitude.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

If state lawmakers don't pass a budget, then Governor Dannel Malloy said he plans to cut overall state contributions to schools by 25 percent through executive order. But the cuts won’t be distributed equally.

timlewisnm / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials praised the latest 11th grade SAT scores, saying that the state is further closing the achievement gap. But many students from the state's poorest performing districts remain far behind their high-achieving peers from other parts of the state.

ccarlstead / Creative Commons

The NAACP has published a paper that's heavily critical of charter schools. The civil rights group visited New Haven as part of a national listening tour, hearing from all sides of the charter school debate.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Enid Rey is a nationally recognized figure for her work managing and promoting the school choice program for Hartford Public Schools. It’s a lottery-based system that, among other things, tries to pull in white and Asian students from the suburbs into Hartford. But earlier this month, Rey announced her resignation after about six years at the post.

David DesRoches/WNPR

On a muggy July afternoon, Sheena Harris is teaching about the creolization of African people during the years of slavery.

Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut

As Connecticut lawmakers decide where to cut state spending, advocates for early childhood education are concerned that the state could lose millions of dollars in long-term benefits if quality child-care remains on the chopping block.

Matthew / Creative Commons

A group of educators have proposed a plan to hire more teachers of color in Connecticut public schools.

Photo Phiend flickr.com/photos/photophiend/6045345789 / Creative Commons

Connecticut House Democrats said they've come up with a two-year budget proposal that could be ready for a vote on July 18.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

High school English class is usually a time to read books and write essays. If you draw pictures, you might get into trouble. But not in James Shivers’s English class at CREC Public Safety Academy in Enfield -- he actually asks his students to draw.

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