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School districts across Connecticut are wrestling with how to implement  the new Common Core state standards, which mean changes to the way teachers teach reading and math along with new computer-based tests. 

The transition is expected to take place over the next year and a half. But some districts say that time frame may be hard to meet.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for language arts and math. The goal is to ensure that  students have the skills they need for success in college and careers. 

Flickr Creative Commons

There is a lot happening in Connecticut education.

Public school districts are busy preparing for the new Common Core State Standards that promise more rigor, a different kind of high-stakes testing, and a teacher and Principal evaluation system that could lead to job loss if students don’t make the grade.

Is the common core the key to closing the achievement gap? To preparing students for a career? Or are these big changes a grand, untested...and expensive experiment? We’ll find out more from a panel of experts.

Connecticut’s largest teachers’ union filed a complaint Tuesday against Bridgeport School Superintendent Paul Vallas.  The dispute centers on the city’s school governance councils,  whose members say they’re being shut out.

School governance councils were established by law in Connecticut in 2010.  Parents, teachers and community members have a chance to serve as advisors, and collaborate with school administrators to improve student achievement.  

Connecticut’s largest teachers’ union filed a complaint Tuesday against Bridgeport School Superintendent Paul Vallas.  The dispute centers on the city’s school governance councils,  whose members say they’re being shut out.

School governance councils were established by law in Connecticut in 2010.  Parents, teachers and community members have a chance to serve as advisors, and collaborate with school administrators to improve student achievement.  

Wikipedia

Going to class wasn't enough. Victoria L. Soto wanted to help children. So, she started as a volunteer.

Pool Safety Bill On Table In Wake Of School Drownings

Apr 10, 2013
Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to create pool safety standards in swim classes across Connecticut is moving forward for a vote by the General Assembly following two drowning deaths in East Hartford and Manchester schools. 

Flickr Creative Commons, The U.S. Army

If you had to tell the story of 10 years ago today, the story of our invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, what story would you tell? How hard would it be to assemble a narrative?

Today we'll look at that story through the lens of collective (or collected) memory, a fascinating branch of history that looks at the way people and societies assemble and preserve factual narratives.

 We'll also look at one high school history teacher's attempt to teach the Iraq War even as it hovers on the cusp that separates contemporary issues from history.

Eren {Se+Prairie} on Flickr Creative Commons

Good teaching is the single biggest indicator for student success, and while we spend more money to teach our students than in any other country, we achieve at lower levels than our foreign counterparts.

So, what makes for a good teacher, and how do we know it when we see it?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation asked that question of 3,000 students and their teachers in a recently released study that took 3 years and cost $45 million dollars to complete. 

What they learned is what most kids already know, students are the best judge of what works. 

Local municipalities open their charters for revision at least once every ten years. New Haven is in the midst of a charter revision process, and the issue getting the most attention, is whether the school board should remain appointed by the mayor.

In New Haven, the mayor appoints the entire school board and is also a member. 

J Holt

Teaching business can be a pretty rigorous discipline, and sometimes a bit dry. But Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business has embraced an unconventional teaching tool - one that involves its professors taking to the stage. WNPR’s J Holt has this report.

In the black box theater at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Performing arts, the cast of Glengarry Glen Ross is taking their places backstage as a sold out crowd assembles in the lobby, and after a final check of the lights, 

Alistair Highet “And, I guess that’s it.”  

Connecticut’s House of Representatives has unanimously passed a wide-ranging education reform bill. Legislators describe the bill as an important step toward improving the state’s public schools and closing Connecticut’s achievement gap.

The chamber erupted in cheers after the 149 to zero vote, giving final legislative approval to a compromise education reform measure. 

Jonathan McNicol photo

Connecticut is going for education reform. We hear from teachers this time about what reforms they think will provide the best outcomes for students.

Diane Orson

Governor Malloy was in New Haven last night for a Yale conference on the future of education. In contrast to recent town hall meetings, this time the Governor was met by a receptive audience.

Governor Malloy outlined key proposals in his school reform package to nearly 200 people at the Yale School of Management’s Education Leadership Conference.

On the highly-charged issues of teacher evaluation and tenure, the Governor said there needs to be honest and frank discussion.  

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc. must pay the state millions of dollars in taxes and penalties. The court found that teachers in the classroom act as local salespeople for the out-of-state bookseller. 

The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously reversed a trial court judge’s decision, and ruled that Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc should pay the state more than 3 million dollars in sales tax, interest and penalties. 

Reporter Roundtable

Mar 13, 2012
Chion Wolf

While we’ve been obsessed with the big changes that may be coming to the state’s education system - there’s plenty more that lawmakers are considering.

On that long list: Red light cameras, hotel taxes, racial profiling, Sunday liquor sales and the death penalty. There’s also news about more firings over the D-SNAP scandal, and there’s the state of the budget in a slow-recovery economy.  Some economists are saying that it will take several more years to undo the damage of the last recession.

Union leaders representing Connecticut teachers say they agree with many of Governor Malloy’s education reform proposals, but are concerned that new teacher evaluations be used fairly. 

Earlier this year, Connecticut teachers’ unions agreed to a process that evaluates teachers based, in part, on student performance. This plays a key role in Governor Malloy’s education proposals. 

Teachers Unions

Mar 7, 2012
LizMarie_AK, creative commons

Connecticut teachers have been feeling under fire since Governor Malloy announced a sweeping new education plan.

Among the many points in his 163-page plan that’s now being debated by the legislature is a provision to change the rules on teacher tenure.

Malloy says that unions have already agreed to a deal that would tie student performance to teacher evaluations – but they’re cool to the Governor’s tenure plan.

In his State of the State address, Governor Dannel Malloy called on legislators to take bold steps to reform Connecticut’s public schools. He addressed the highly-charged issue of teacher tenure, and called for an overhaul of the system.

"Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away."

Governor Malloy outlined six principles for education reform, but devoted the most time to teacher tenure. 

Diane Orson

Connecticut’s largest teachers union added its voice on Tuesday to a growing chorus of proposals for school reform.  The union’s plan addresses the controversial issue of teacher tenure.

Connecticut Education Association Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine says teachers are proposing to replace tenure with a streamlined dismissal process, "...to remove underperforming teachers and also allow for due process. We want teachers to be evaluated."

But she says, a teacher’s performance should not be judged solely by test scores.

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.

Paper Trails: The Chairs Are Where the People Go

Oct 21, 2011
Lee Towndrow

Sheila Heti writes experimental fiction. Her good friend Misha Glouberman holds art happenings in Toronto — he teaches improv classes, he gathers people in a room to make nonsensical noise, that sort of thing. Sheila thinks Misha has fascinating opinions about people, and that maybe he should write them down. Misha does not write.

What's an experimental fiction writer to do? Heti hung out with Glouberman, drinking coffee, taking notes, and then transcribing what he said into monologues by him.

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. 

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."

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.  

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

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.

Bonnie Brown, Creative Commons

Today is Connecticut Association of Boards of Education day at the state Capitol.  Some 200 school board members, students, and teachers will spend the day talking with state lawmakers about their concerns and their legislative agenda.  Joining us is Patrice McCarthy, Deputy Director and General Counsel of The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. 

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is taking the city's schools superintendent to task for issuing a series of bonuses to district employees. Segarra says he understands the bonuses total about $2.7 million -- a figure that seemed to frustrated the mayor of this cash-strapped city. In a letter to Superintendent Steven Adamowski, Segarra said he wants to know why these bonuses were issued, what criteria was used in a awarding them, and who approved them.

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