Education

Voicemail Project
3:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

The WNPR Voicemail Project: Teens On the Edge

chiesADIbeinasco Creative Commons

WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple: we provide a theme; you call our hotline and tell a story.

The theme: What's so hard about being a teen?

On Friday, January 30, WNPR's Where We Live will talk about the challenges of being a teenager.

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Standardized Tests
3:39 am
Thu January 22, 2015

The Past, Present And Future Of High-Stakes Testing

PublicAffairs Books

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:57 pm

After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test.

This week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee's chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.

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White House
5:50 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

What To Expect From Obama Tonight On Education

President Obama speaks at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., on Jan. 9. Obama is promoting a plan to make publicly funded community college available to all students.
Mark Humphrey AP

On the education front, President Obama's State of the Union address is likely to focus on three big proposals:

First, the president wants to talk about the idea he floated last week of making community college tuition-free. This is new.

The plan would benefit about 9 million full- and part-time students and would cost the federal government about $60 billion over 10 years. According to the administration's numbers, that would account for three-fourths of the total cost. States and community colleges would come up with the rest.

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Discrimination
8:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

U.S. Attorney to Investigate Discrimination in Connecticut Schools

U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly.

Discrimination claims from people across Connecticut led the U.S. Attorney’s Office to announce that it would form a working group to investigate possible civil rights violations by public and private schools and childcare programs.

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Catholic School
12:00 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Meriden's St. Stanislaus School to Close

St. Stanislaus School in Meriden.
Wikimedia Commons

A Catholic school in Meriden that's over a century old will close at the end of the year as enrollment, finances, and demographics continue to change the state of parochial schools in the Nutmeg State. 

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Juvenile Arrests
8:44 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Behavior Program Leads to Fewer Connecticut Kids in Court

Jeff Vanderploeg, vice president for mental health initiatives at the Child Health and Development Institute, discusses a behavior intervention strategy at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
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.

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School Choice
8:08 am
Thu January 15, 2015

A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools

A painted map of the U.S. seen from inside a classroom at Homer A. Plessy Community School, a charter school in New Orleans.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 9:13 am

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.

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Higher Education
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

UMass Amherst Replacing Book Store With Amazon

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:31 pm

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.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Inside Cyber Security: Experts Talk Tech

Christian Schauer Flickr Creative Commons

Threats against cyber security seem to be everywhere these days. From viruses slowing down your computer or smartphone, to major attacks on international companies. It’s hard to go a day without hearing about some new and increasingly sophisticated cyber attack. Incidents at Target, Home Depot, and most recently Sony Pictures all illustrate the problems of living in a world more digitally connected than ever.  

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Virginia
3:27 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

U.Va. Reinstates Fraternity Accused In 'Rolling Stone' Rape Story

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. The fraternity was at the center of a controversial Rolling Stone article describing an alleged gang rape at the school.
Steve Helber AP

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the center of a disputed Rolling Stone account of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia has been reinstated, according to a statement released on the school's website Monday.

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Education
12:28 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Meet The Classroom Of The Future

A blended learning classroom at David Boody Jr. High School in New York City.
Courtesy of New Classrooms

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:17 pm

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.

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Reaching Kids
3:47 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Connecticut Science Center's Revamped Energy Exhibit Aims at Engaging Children

Children can play in an energy conservation house.
Connecticut Science Center

Will a hands-on energy efficiency exhibit aimed at children help them to think about their carbon footprint? 

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Springfield
1:55 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Final Decision On Cathedral High School Now Expected By Mid-February

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speak at a Dec. 16,2014 rally to urge Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to rebuild Cathedral High School

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:10 pm

An announcement about the long-term fate of the historic Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts is now expected by mid-February.  Advocates of rebuilding the school that was wrecked in the 2011 tornado are encouraged by word the school will operate for one more year, at least, at its temporary campus. 

       Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will begin a series of meetings on January 24th in what will amount to the final due diligence on whether to rebuild the Catholic high school with a 130-year- history in Springfield. 

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Affordable Tuition
7:35 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Student Tuition Now Outweighs State Funding At Public Colleges

During the fiscal years 2003-2012, "median tuition rose 55 percent across all public colleges," while state funding decreased by 12 percent, the General Accountability Office reports.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 7:45 pm

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."

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Standardized Testing
7:03 am
Tue January 6, 2015

What Schools Could Use Instead Of Standardized Tests

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:26 pm

Close your eyes for a minute and daydream about a world without bubble tests.

Education Week recently reported that some Republican Senate aides are doing more than dreaming — they're drafting a bill that would eliminate the federal mandate on standardized testing.

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:08 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Smart Living: The Surprising Truth About How We Learn

Credit Tom Woodward/flickr creative commons

Sleeping is studying? Distractions are good?

Turns out both those things can help us learn faster and better. Cognitive scientists have been putting learning to the test, and once you cruise through the most important studies, you see myths about learning popping like balloons. Concentration? Repetition? Not so much.

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FUSE Scandal
9:06 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Report Finds "Rampant Nepotism" At Hartford Charter School Organization

Jumoke Academy was managed by The Family Urban Schools of Excellence.
Helder Mira Creative Commons

A newly released investigative report describes “rampant nepotism,” and ineffective oversight of the Jumoke Academy charter school in Hartford, and its management group The Family Urban Schools of Excellence, also known as FUSE. The probe was commissioned by the State Department of Education and carried out by an independent special investigator. 

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Teaching Feelings
3:27 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Why Emotional Learning May Be As Important As The ABCs

Thomas O'Donnell reads about Twiggle the Turtle to his kindergartners at Matthew Henson Elementary School in Baltimore.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 11:03 am

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.

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Oklahoma, Indiana, South Carolina
4:49 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Common Core Repeal, The Day After

Hugo High School, like many public schools in Oklahoma, was a battleground in the fight over Common Core.
Elissa Nadworny NPR

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 8:32 pm

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.

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Yik Yak Mobile App
10:36 am
Tue December 30, 2014

'Yaks' Threaten East Lyme and College Campuses Everywhere

Yik Yak logo for the popular social media app.
Yik Yak

Local, state police, and federal law enforcement are investigating a post on social media threatening a "hail of bullets" in East Lyme.  The post, which appeared anonymously Dec. 24 on the mobile app Yik Yak, said East Lyme should "get ready for the hail of bullets."

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Refugees
3:56 am
Tue December 30, 2014

A 'Lost Boy' Helps The Girls Of South Sudan Find An Education

Daniel Majook Gai from South Sudan goes in and out of his war-torn country to help children there go to school.
Courtesy of Project Education South Sudan

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:17 pm

As a boy, Daniel Majook Gai fled the civil war in Sudan, running miles by himself to safety and leaving his family behind. He was one of the so-called Lost Boys — a name given to children separated from their families during that conflict.

After years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, Gai landed in the United States, reunited with his family and got an education. In 2011, he returned home to the newly independent country of South Sudan.

But war came back in 2013 and split the new nation.

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Uglish
4:17 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Don't Bench That Dentist: A Guide To Ugandan English

Students in Uganda may use Uglish words, but you can be sure they're not learning them at school.
Courtesy of Will R. Potter/Said&Seen

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 1:42 pm

You want to bench a pretty woman and launch your manifesto. Only you get bounced from her muzigo because she's pursuing a pensioner.

In the end, you were lucky. She's just a detoother who's after a rich guy.

Welcome to Uglish (pronounced "YOU-glish"), the Ugandan variant of English. Bernard Sabiti has written the first Uglish dictionary (not yet available outside of Uganda, but he's working on an e-book version for January).

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The Salt
4:18 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

An illustration depicts Jesus Christ transforming water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7).
Joseph Martin Kronheim Kean Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:20 pm

Inside the Boston Wine School, Jonathon Alsop places empty glasses and plates of figs and cheese before a small group of students. Alsop, who founded the school in 2000, is doing a test run of a new class that poses the question: What would Jesus drink?

"This is ... a cheese that Jesus might have eaten," he tells students. "It's called Egyptian Roumy — it was a cheese that was introduced to the Egyptians by the Romans. It's a sheep's milk cheese."

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Boston
10:25 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Teacher Wins $150,000 Prize — And Donates It All To Her School

Third-grade teacher Nikki Bollerman, 26, won a contest that gave her students books for the holidays. When she also won $150,000, she decided it should go to her school.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:43 pm

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?

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Language
11:53 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Advocates Push for Changes to Bilingual Education in Connecticut

A bilingual classroom in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of Education

The population of English language learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. According to the data, these students are falling behind. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Are Connecticut's English Language Learners Falling Behind?

Orlando Rodriguez, LPRAC
Chion Wolf

The population of English Language Learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. Unfortunately, support for these students hasn’t kept up. Despite this steady increase in a learning population, the number of certified, bilingual teachers has been in a steady decline.

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Higher Education
10:48 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Quinnipiac's Irish Famine Museum to Launch Digital Database

"Burying the Child" by Lilian Lucy Davidson.
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum Quinnipiac University

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is launching a digital database with about 1,500 articles and illustrations related to Ireland and the Great Famine.

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Theater
9:28 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Hartford Stage Presents Autism-Friendly Rendition of Christmas Classic

Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage produced its first-ever "sensory-friendly" performance this week. The staging of "A Christmas Carol" was geared toward audience members on the autism spectrum.

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Higher Education
9:14 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Community College Programs Can Lead To Big Payoffs — In The Right Fields

Dental students use practice dummies Aug. 27 in a newly renovated section of Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Health care is one field for which a recent study found that a community college degree produced a strong financial return.
Zach Gibson MLive.com/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:54 pm

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.

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Personal Essay
9:47 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Hartford Student, Born in a Nepali Refugee Camp, Prepares for College

Bishnu Khatiwada
CPBN Learning Lab

I was born to a world of bamboo huts, food rations, and dirt roads. My family was in Beldangi 2, a refugee  camp in Nepal. We were floating there, in a kind of limbo, unsure of who we were and what our future held. 

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