Education

If you want to get an earful about paying for college, listen to parents from states where tuition and fees have skyrocketed in the last five years. In Arizona, for example, parents have seen a 77 percent increase in costs. In Georgia, it's 75 percent, and in Washington state, 70 percent.

It's become the new buzz phrase in education: "Got grit?"

Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students' success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.

Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it's that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.

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Despite complaints from teachers across Connecticut about the rollout of new education standards and guidelines, education officials are urging state lawmakers to oppose efforts to stop it.

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It’s been estimated that roughly one in five female students experiences some form of sexual assault during the course of her college education. It’s a staggering figure that has caught the attention of activists and politicians across the United States.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced that it would begin efforts to stop sexual assault on campuses, creating a task force designed to improve the handling and awareness of sexual crimes at colleges and universities.

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After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, something changed at many schools in Connecticut. Armed guards started appearing in places they hadn’t before: in elementary and middle schools. Districts have struggled with the questions of whether this kind of increased security is worth the cost, and whether it provides the kind of school environment they want.

America used to have a robust college education system for prison inmates. It was seen as a way to rehabilitate men and women behind bars by helping them go straight when they got out.

Those taxpayer-funded college classes were defunded in the 1990s. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would like to bring them back in the state, prompting a fierce new debate over higher education in state prisons.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Why do teachers want to teach? In the era of education reform, teacher evaluations, and standardized testing, it's a question that some teachers are asking themselves.

Last week, WNPR's Where We Live hosted an evening panel discussion with teachers from across the state in order to accommodate their schedules which don't line up with a live morning call-in show. 

We invited educators to join us in the audience, and there was a general sentiment of openness to new evaluation methods, and ways of measuring performance. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our teacher panel welcomed educators from across the state. We broadcasted live from the CPBN Learning Lab, the home of the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet High School Satellite Campus and the Institute for Advanced Media.

Are you a teacher? Why did you decide to enter this profession and what keeps you going back to school every day? Find our tweets from the discussion at #WhereWeTeach, and watch our video of the event below.

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An informational forum took place on Friday at the State Capitol focusing on Connecticut's controversial Common Core standards. Introducing the event, State Sen. Andrea Stillman described the forum as "a chance to see, hear, and digest information."

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor told lawmakers that the state wants to be flexible with its approach to reform, knowing that local districts are struggling to make sweeping changes while also revising the way teachers are evaluated. 

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According to a report from an independent law firm, University of Connecticut officials knew of sexual abuse allegations against a music professor for a decade before taking action.

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A local superintendent's recent letter to Governor Dannel Malloy laid out concerns about changes to Connecticut's educational system. East Lyme Public Schools Superintendent James Lombardo, a long-time veteran of Connecticut's public schools, wrote a letter to Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor saying education reforms are pointing the state and the country in the wrong direction. 

For those of you keeping track of the headlines detailing sexual assault and hazing at frat houses, it may come as no surprise that fraternities have a dark side. Caitlin Flanagan, a writer at The Atlantic, spent a year investigating Greek houses and discovered that "the dark power of fraternities" is not just a power over pledges and partygoers but one held over universities as well.

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that's for four years."

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here's the problem with covering education issues on Where We Live: We broadcast live at 9:00 am on weekdays. If you're a middle school or high school teacher, you might know that time as second or third period.

Our discussions on education frequently lack one key voice: teachers. On February 25, we fix that. Join us for an evening panel discussion in WNPR's building. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Malloy’s latest early childhood education proposal centers on universal access to pre-kindergarten. The phase-in plan would offer seats to 1,000 three- and four-year-olds for fiscal year 2015, and would expand to serve 4,000 additional children by 2019. 

Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.

Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.

Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last year, Hartford's board of education decided against renewing the contract of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto beyond this coming June. Now, Kishimoto, a reformer who took the job after Steven Adamowski, is leaving.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

State lawmakers heard from educators, students and advocates of sexual assault victims on Tuesday as they consider legislation to improve sexual assault policies on Connecticut's college campuses.

Some of the most dramatic testimony came from the mother of a UConn student, who described the frustration she had trying to find help for her daughter after she reported being sexually assaulted a fraternity party. 

Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.

Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.

"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Federal education officials have granted Connecticut’s request to delay standardized testing requirements connected to the Common Core State Standards. That will allow some breathing room for teachers before new evaluations connected to the tests begin. 

Diane Orson / WNPR

A recently-released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that as college tuition costs soared between 2007 and 2012, demand for federal student loans increased more than 300 percent.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

After mounting complaints from teachers, officials recently announced the state plans to delay the implementation of teacher evaluations. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are calling for a re-examination of the Common Core standards. Two years after Connecticut approved sweeping education legislation, we'll check-in on the implementation and receive an update on Common Core in the state. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Lawmakers have drafted legislation to address sexual assault on college campuses. It will be the first bill heard by the Higher Education Committee when it convenes next month.

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The price of college textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade, according to a new study that looks at alternatives to the traditional college textbook.

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The State Department of Education has determined that Bridgeport Public Schools have violated their obligation to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

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In 1905, a young German physicist proposed an equation that would forever change our perception of special relativity. His name was Albert Einstein and his equation was E = MC2. Over a century later, Einstein’s theory of relativity still stands as one of science’s greatest achievements. It established Einstein as one of the 20th-century’s greatest celebrities, and one of history’s greatest thinkers.

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The 40th session of the Yale Model United Nations is underway in New Haven. Nearly 1,700 high school students from as far away as New Zealand have been immersing themselves in the Model U.N. experience, taking advantage of the plethora of speeches, classes and other activities happening this weekend. 

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A Hartford Superior Court judge has denied a request by the state to delay the start of a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. The attorney general’s office had filed motions aimed at postponing the start of the trial until October 2015. Now, the case is set to begin later this year. 

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Connecticut Voices for Children held a forum on Thursday called, "Raising the Grade: Improving Educational Opportunities for Youth in State Care." State lawmakers, child advocates, and community leaders gathered at the capitol to hear sometimes emotional testimony from members of the DCF Youth advisory panel, teenagers who have been in the care of the state for most of their lives.

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