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Students and Schools

  

This reporting initiative is made possible by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation — working to reshape public education to better prepare all students for the future.

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Behavior Program Leads to Fewer Connecticut Kids in Court

Jan 15, 2015
David DesRoches

Nate Quesnel, the superintendent of schools in East Hartford, told a story about a student sitting in the back of the classroom, a wool cap pulled over his eyebrows, his faced glued to a cell phone, his fingers attacking the screen in a gaming frenzy.

"Right away, I recoiled inside," Quesnel said. "I felt embarrassed." He was embarrassed because at the time, an executive from Xerox was presenting the students with information on job skills, including how to act during an interview.

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It seems self-evident that parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools. As the argument goes, the overall effect should be to improve equity as well: Lower-income parents won't have to send their kids to an under-resourced and underperforming school just because it is the closest one to them geographically.

UMass Amherst will replace its on-campus textbook store later this year with a virtual store operated by Amazon.

  Under a five-year contract Amazon will provide online textbook ordering through the UMass Amherst website, operate an on-campus pick up location and provide free delivery to off campus addresses in Amherst and five surrounding communities.  UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the change is being made to save students money.

  "Up to about $380 annually per student based on national estimates of what students pay for books," said Blaguszewski.

Goodreads

Novelist Robert Stone, author of A Flag for Sunrise and Hall of Mirrors, died Saturday at his home in Key West, Florida. He was 77.

Stone was a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize, and won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers

NPR reported that Stone "was a neglected and traumatized child who learned early not to trust reality, a lapsed Catholic consumed by questions of sin and redemption."  

Meet The Classroom Of The Future

Jan 12, 2015

The classroom of the future probably won't be led by a robot with arms and legs, but it may be guided by a digital brain.

It may look like this: one room, about the size of a basketball court; more than 100 students, all plugged into a laptop; and 15 teachers and teaching assistants.

This isn't just the future, it's the sixth grade math class at David Boody Jr. High School in Brooklyn, near Coney Island. Beneath all the human buzz, something other than humans is running the show: algorithms.

Columbia Artist Management

Claude Frank died late last month. According to The New York Times, the acclaimed pianist and teacher died from complications from dementia. He was 89.

As a teacher, Claude Frank encouraged his students to explore the entire piano repertoire, including new and avant garde works. As a performer, Frank tended to focus on only a handful of composers, especially the music of Beethoven. 

Driven by higher tuition fees and tighter state funds, America's public colleges now get more money from their students than from all state sources. That's according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, which says tuition revenue reached 25 percent of the colleges' total in 2012.

The numbers are stark, with the GAO saying that from fiscal years 2003-2012, "state funding decreased by 12 percent overall while median tuition rose 55 percent across all public colleges."

Thomas O'Donnell's kindergarten kids are all hopped up to read about Twiggle the anthropomorphic Turtle.

"Who can tell me why Twiggle here is sad," O'Donnell asks his class at Matthew Henson Elementary School in Baltimore.

"Because he doesn't have no friends," a student pipes up.

And how do people look when they're sad?

"They look down!" the whole class screams out.

Yeah, Twiggle is lonely. But, eventually, he befriends a hedgehog, a duck and a dog. And along the way, he learns how to play, help and share.

What do the Common Core State Standards have in common with congressional Democrats and the Chicago Cubs?

They all had a really rough year.

Of the 45 states that first adopted the academic standards, many spent 2014 talking about repeal. In Oklahoma (as well as Indiana and South Carolina), it wasn't just talk. The Legislature voted to drop the Core in May. And Gov. Mary Fallin, a longtime champion of the Common Core, signed the repeal in June.

One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former House Speaker Chris Donovan has a new job. CT News Junkie reports Donovan will take up a position with the Connecticut Education Association. 

Diane Orson / WNPR

The state Supreme Court has ruled that arbitrators are not covered by the state's Freedom of Information laws, denying the public's right to know what evidence is presented in arbitration hearings between teacher unions and school boards.

When it comes to higher education, we've all heard the talking points: More people than ever are pursuing four-year degrees — despite skyrocketing tuition costs — because they don't have many other choices if they want to be competitive in the workforce.

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is in negotiations to buy a hotel in Storrs and eventually turn it into a student dormitory.

U.S. Department of Education

State education officials are currently negotiating changes to Connecticut's landmark school desegregation settlement. 

New Haven Promise

President Barack Obama convened a Summit on College Opportunity at the White House Thursday, aimed at helping more students prepare for and graduate from college.

Patricia Melton, executive director of New Haven Promise, a scholarship and support program for New Haven public school students, was there.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor attended his final State Board of Education meeting Wednesday. He announced earlier this year he’d leave the post, and will depart in January. A process is underway to select an interim commissioner.

This story was reported for the radio by Eric Westervelt and for online by Anya Kamenetz.

"We, the Committee of Public Safety, find Jean Valjean guilty. The sentence is death by guillotine!"

Molly McPherson, a redhead with glasses, is dressed in a blue bathrobe — in costume as Robespierre. Her seventh-graders are re-enacting the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, with a little assist from Les Miserables.

Massachusetts education officials have dropped a proposal to include classroom performance evaluations as a criteria for renewing the licenses for teachers, administrators and other educators. The move came just days after newly released data gave most educators in the state high marks.

New Orleans, where nine of 10 children attend charter schools, has perhaps the most scrutinized public school system in the country.

And since Hurricane Katrina, a major source of information about the city's schools has been the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a research group connected with Tulane University. The institute has been widely cited by political leaders and in the news media, including our reporting.

GHAA

Nearly 20 years ago, I made my first visit to the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts at its original site, just past Colt Park in Hartford, heading south on Wethersfield Avenue.

I pulled into a parking lot protected by a tall, chain-linked fence. It acted like a divider between a worn-out apartment building in the deteriorating neighborhood, and the old funeral parlor that had been resurrected as Hartford’s arts magnet high school.

The school has come a long way since then. Last month, it was honored as the nation’s top arts school by the Arts Schools Network.

If there's one thing college kids do best, it's thinking creatively. Often operating with limited resources and tight deadlines, they're used to coming up with ingenious solutions to life's everyday problems (usually on little sleep). So it's no surprise that experts are turning to students for help in battling one of this year's most pressing global health issues: the Ebola outbreak.

Mexican Federal Police captured the former mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda, near Mexico City this morning, the spokesman for the Federal Police said in a tweet.

iStock / Thinkstock

Tuesday is Election Day, and Connecticut’s gubernatorial battle is down to the wire, with the two major candidates locked in a dead heat.

The race between incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger, businessman Tom Foley, has been fierce and negative. They’ve attacked each other’s views on the economy, taxes, jobs, and more. The third candidate in the race, Joe Visconti, has now thrown his support behind Foley.

But education may prove to be the most telling microcosm of the 2014 election.

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Artist? Carpenter? Quidditch player? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

When she's not teaching second-graders in Connecticut, Mei-Ling Uliasz turns bottle caps and little tin cars and brass protractors and other found objects into whimsical "upcycled" jewelry.

Tell us about your secret life.

A student has died after being injured in Friday's shooting at a high school in Marysville, Wash. She died at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, health officials said at a news conference Sunday night.

Dr. Joanne Roberts read a statement from the teenager's family, which said in part, "We are devastated by this senseless tragedy."

Mexico's top prosecutor says a mayor and his wife ordered the attack on 43 students who have been missing for nearly a month. The couple — of the town of Iguala in the southern state of Guerrero — are now fugitives.

Thousands of protesters marched down Mexico City's grand Reforma Boulevard on Wednesday night, banging drums, carrying pictures of the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26, and demanding the resignation of the governor of the state of Guerrero and even of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Okay, I'm warning you. You're going to have to adjust the band on your thinking cap. Christian Bok, our first guest, is an experimental poet with some fascinating ideas, some of which will strike you as unfamiliar and maybe dissimilar to any other ideas you ever heard. In a nutshell, Bok is part of a small movement of thinkers and writers who want to revolutionize the way literature is produced, stored and consumed. For example, Bok has spent years trying to encode  a poem into the DNA of a bacterium able to survive extreme conditions, like vacuums.

Yale Alumni Magazine

Yale-New Hospital received word late Friday from the Centers for Disease Control confirming preliminary test results showing the patient hospitalized in isolation last week with Ebola-like symptoms does not have the Ebola virus.

The patient is one of two unidentified Yale doctoral students who returned recently from a research mission in Liberia. Though the student did not come directly in contact with Ebola patients, Yale officials say the hospitalized student did come in contact with one person who eventually developed Ebola.

The scare has raised questions about educational research, foreign exchange, and study abroad travel to countries with Ebola outbreaks.

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