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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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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. 

Is Adult Education Right For Teens?

Mar 15, 2012

INTRO: More and more Connecticut teens are leaving high school for adult education programs. Some say these programs offer more flexibility to kids who would otherwise just drop out of school. But others say adult education is not for teens. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

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.

STEM Series: Improving STEM Education in College

Feb 15, 2012
Neena Satija

Connecticut employers are saying that students in the state aren't coming into the workforce with the skills they need in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  In part, that's because more than half of students who enter college thinking about a science major end up leaving the sciences before they graduate.  In the third segment of our series on STEM education in Connecticut, WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on  efforts to change that.

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. 

Increase in Test Scores Questioned

Jan 26, 2012

Connecticut’s seen a jump in student test scores in recent years. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a study released today/Thursday suggests that jump may be explained by a new way of collecting data.

Adult Education...For Teens

Jan 20, 2012
Neena Satija

In the previous segment of our three-part series, we heard about students who leave the traditional public school system for so-called alternative schools. But more and more teens are choosing adult education programs instead, often to finish school more quickly. In the final segment, WNPR’s Neena Satija asks if these students are getting the same education.

(Noise from a classroom; students talking with the teacher)

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.

Dropouts Or Pushouts?

Dec 22, 2011

Laura McCargar is giving some high school dropouts a new label. She’s calling them “push-outs,” or students who get counseled, and sometimes coerced, out of school.

McCargar became aware of the issue as an education advocate in New Haven.

“This work began because I worked with young people in New Haven who would walk into our afterschool program and tell me, ‘I don’t go to high school anymore,'" she says. "'What do you mean?’ ‘Well, my principal told me that I can’t be here anymore.’ ‘Well, what do you mean? You should be a high school student.’”

UConn Docs Offer New Shoes, and Healthy Feet

Nov 24, 2011
Uma Ramiah

Each year, the New England Musculoskeletal Institute at the University of Connecticut  provides free foot health screenings -- and new shoes -- for the homeless.

Dr. Vinayak Sathe is inspecting ... a foot.

"Can you move your ankle up and down? Good. And can you move it sideways? So just swelling right? And how far up does it go, like up to here?"

Morning Edition: Weight-Based Bullying

Nov 18, 2011
Jean-Pierre (Flickr Creative Commons)

Being overweight is the biggest reason why teens are bullied at school. That's according to a survey of Connecticut adolescents. Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Published the report online in the Journal of School Health. Joining us by phone is the lead author of the report, and director of research at the Yale Rudd Center Rebecca Puhl.

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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