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Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

For the past five years, the Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, has handed out about 1,200 book bags to Hartford public school students in preparation for the new school year, but this year the annual block party became a drive-thru.

Mark Ojakian Is Retiring As CSCU President

Aug 12, 2020
Mark Ojakian
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Mark E. Ojakian, the influential behind-the-scenes operative at the State Capitol who became the high-profile president of the troubled Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system in 2015, persisting in a job that defeated two academics, is retiring at year’s end.

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.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

The University of Connecticut has canceled its football team’s 2020 season because of the risk of COVID-19.

Smaley / Wikicommons

When we talk about going back to school, we usually focus on what will happen when K-12 students return to the classroom. But what about the students coming from across the nation to return to campus? 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Select Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus, Friday, July 31, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Erin Scott / Pool via AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci says Connecticut is in a good place when it comes to the pandemic. 

Empty desks in a classroom
Don Harder / Creative Commons

The school year starts soon, and teachers and parents still ask: How will schools open safely?
This hour, we talk with Jeff Leake, the president of the state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association.
The union says the state should only open school buildings if CDC and other safety guidelines are met. Some teachers worry that crowded classrooms won’t have sufficient measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
And if schools become fully remote, how can districts ensure that all students are able to access online learning? We, hear from a Columbia University researcher who is helping districts plan ahead for the possibility of returning to fully-remote education.
Are you a teacher or a parent? What fears or concerns do you have for this upcoming school year?

Barbara Dalio makes a point at second meeting of the Partnership for Connecticut in December.
Kathleen Megan / CTMirror.org

Two months after abandoning its private-public education partnership with the state, hedge fund giant Ray Dalio’s philanthropic group Dalio Education announced Monday that it would work with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to give another shot at ensuring students across the state have access to computers and internet connectivity.

Summer vacation is traditionally a time for kids to step away from academics and spend time with family, at camp or poolside. But the coronavirus upended this school year and Connecticut students have not physically been in class since mid-March, and that's posing fears for many families that their kids could suffer from summer learning loss. 

Courtesy: FaithActs

As the national discussion continues to center on whether we should -- or whether we can -- send our kids to school in the fall, one group out of Bridgeport says that students of color in particular are not being served well by the state of Connecticut’s return-to-school plan. 

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump spoke in the White House Rose Garden on a broad range of topics on Tuesday, pitching himself as the stronger competitor over rival Joe Biden to manage the deadly coronavirus pandemic and steer the U.S. economy to prosperity.

His remarks come amid mounting concerns raised by public health officials about his administration's aggressive pitch to return the United States to normalcy, including pushing guidance for schools to reopen for in-person classes this fall.

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

As Connecticut continues to project that it will be able to open K-12 schools this fall, individual districts are already grappling with what that might mean in reality. Plans to hold in-person summer school in Norwalk were dealt a blow last week when a staff member came down with Covid-19 after classes began. Experiences like that have many people asking, is this a window into what we can expect when schools open in the fall? 

Senior Jacob Gilman, 18, wears a Red Hawks shirt while his friend, 18-year-old Josh Monty, wears a Redmen shirt during a Killingly High varsity basketball game on Jan. 11. Gilman says he wore the shirt mostly because he got it for free.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

The racial injustice reckoning the nation is experiencing in the wake of George Floyd’s death has only amplified calls for sports teams to get rid of Native American nicknames. That’s a movement that was already underway in Connecticut. 

Nick Allen / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration’s decision to issue a policy requiring international students at American universities to attend in-person classes in the fall or lose their visa status has caused a firestorm of criticism. The dean of Yale Law School, Heather Gerken, has released a strong statement in opposition to the move.

coronavirus, Quinnipiac
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Many colleges plan to resume in-person learning in the fall. Others, including prestigious schools like Harvard, are going all online. In the midst of a pandemic, returning to dorms or even a classroom is a hard choice to make for some students and professors.

File Photo: Children that go to the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School dig right into their meals served by Hartford Public Schools at Samuel Valentine Arroyo Recreation Center in Hartford.  
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Connecticut’s Department of Education says that state COVID-19 data will guide the decision-making process regarding how K-12 students should learn in the fall, but Thursday's numbers inched in the wrong direction:  The state reported 101 new positive COVID-19 test results and an uptick in the number of hospitalizations by two.

Admissions Quest

College campuses across the country are preparing to reopen in the fall. But with the potential for a second wave of coronavirus infections, students and staff are being asked to be flexible. This hour, we’re speaking with students, faculty and leaders throughout the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system on what it will take to reopen campus in the fall. 

Photo by Bart Everson (Flickr)

If you want to find a group of people whose ears really perked up when the state announced plans to return K-12 students to classrooms this fall, look no further than parents of kids with severe disabilities. These special needs students got invaluable help learning and socializing from a team of professionals in school. That help was left up to the parents alone as schools moved to distance learning to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Black And Puerto Rican Caucus 'Agenda For Equity' Includes More Than Police Reforms

Jul 7, 2020
State Rep. Brandon McGee announces the agenda crafted by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
Connecticut House Democrats

Members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus added their voices Tuesday to the growing calls for systemic reforms that would make life safer and more equitable for Connecticut’s residents of color.

Fiber optics
Groman123 / Flickr

COVID-19 has shown the Internet is more important than ever. From Google Classrooms for distance learning to endless Zoom meetings for some professionals, the Internet has become even more essential during the pandemic.

But how many Connecticut residents still don’t have access to a high-speed connection? This hour, we look at Connecticut’s digital divide.

How does the lack of broadband in communities exacerbate existing disparities in education and economic opportunity? We talk with experts and hear how some communities want to address the issue.

We want to hear from you, too.  Have your children struggled to access remote learning?

Bonnie-Brown / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut has released the details of its plan to return K-12 students to in-person classes in the fall. So what could it mean in practice? Teachers representatives are concerned and call the plan “lacking.”

Bus Company First Student Gets $7M For Not Driving Kids

Jun 30, 2020
Sam Gurwitt / New Haven Independent

New Haven will pay its school bus contractor $1.5 million less than normal for time the buses were idle during the pandemic — but more than they should, according to some Board of Education members.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The academic school year has just ended, but parents, students and teachers are already wondering what next year will look like. This hour, Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona joins us to talk about the state's plan to reopen schools in the fall.

Connecticut Orders Schools To Reopen In Fall, Teachers Are Concerned

Jun 25, 2020
School buses
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Connecticut schools will reopen for a five-day school week in the fall – as long as the coronavirus behaves, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday.

Governor Ned Lamont
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The school year may have just ended, but plans are taking shape for the return of students inside schools this fall. Gov. Ned Lamont announced the plans Thursday, noting that several COVID-19 trends are holding steady in Connecticut while the virus continues to spread in other parts of the country.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Faced with a massive deficit -- only exacerbated by the economic pain of coronavirus shutdowns -- the University of Connecticut’s athletics department is making cuts.

UConn Students Contemplate Life Back On Campus

Jun 22, 2020
Jackson Mitchell / WNPR

The University of Connecticut plans on having students back on campus for classes in the fall, after students were sent home in March to shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the announcement of a return to campus life is drawing mixed reactions.

Ryan Martins / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s been a school year like no other. Once the coronavirus hit, schools across Connecticut and around the country had to adapt to distance learning for a large part of this academic year.  

Naugatuck High School moved its entire curriculum online.

Courtesy: Shardé M. Davis

Shardé M. Davis, a communications professor at the University of Connecticut, is the co-founder of the Twitter hashtag #BlackintheIvory. Along with Joy Melody Woods, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, Davis sparked a public conversation about racism in academia when she tweeted out some of her own experiences as a Black scholar.

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