The Education Session

Jan 10, 2012
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Malloy has called this upcoming legislative session “The Education Session.”

You can see why. Connecticut has one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. Students in wealthy, suburban schools do as well - or better - than any in the country.

2012: Connecticut's "Year For Education Reform"

Jan 5, 2012

Hundreds of Connecticut legislators, teachers, parents, and activists gathered at Central Connecticut State University today to discuss the need for education reform in the state. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, dierk schaefer

David Weinberger, our guest today, argues that our reservoir of information has become so huge and complicated that one of the standard activities of knowledge-making -- shaping facts into testable theories and equations -- doesn't really work any more. Scientists take data and build models. Then they watch the models to see what happens.

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor describes new figures on high school graduation rates in Connecticut as “unacceptable”. Students in poverty and students are color are far less likely to finish high school in four years.

Overall, nearly one in five Connecticut students fails to graduate high school in four years according to new data from the State Department of Education. But for kids who live at or below the poverty level, are Hispanic or black, in special ed or are English language learners -  it's one in three.

Bridgeport’s Board of Education has appointed Paul Vallas, interim superintendent, part of the state’s takeover of the struggling school system. Vallas is a nationally recognized education reformer who’s spearheaded turnaround efforts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans. 

Departing Bridgeport superintendent John Ramos joined a panel of school leaders earlier this month to talk about the effect of inadequate education funding on disadvantaged students. 

Diane Orson

Think college music program in Connecticut and the Hartt School of Music springs to mind. There’s the Yale School of Music and Wesleyan’s ethnomusicology program. Now, a report on the quiet transformation of Southern Connecticut State University’s Music Department – thanks to the generosity of a state resident.

SCSU student Andrew Pinto sings a song he composed. Pinto, a music theory major, says he’s benefited from free private singing lessons at Southern.  

Educating Bullies

Dec 22, 2011

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.’”

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The University of Connecticut announced yesterday that it’s raising tuition starting in 2013. Yearly increases thru 2016 will be 6 percent, 6.3 percent, 6.5 percent and 6.8 percent...nearly doubling the cost of attending UConn in less than 12 years. Tuition and fees for an in-state student is currently $10,670. Under this plan, it could grow to $13,130 by 2016.

A new report calls for a closer look at the role of race in Connecticut’s persistent achievement gap. The study finds that male students of color do not have the same educational opportunities as their white counterparts. 

Many male students of color are struggling in school for reasons that have nothing to do with their socio-economic status, family background or perceived level of ability or motivation, says Jeremy Bond, spokesperson for the State Education Resource Center or SERC, which released the new report.  

School Arrests Bring New Scrutiny, Reforms

Dec 14, 2011
Jordan Valentine Graphic

As a fifth grader at a New Haven magnet school in 2009, Jacob was watching a lot of “Ed, Edd n Eddy” shows on TV—a slapstick cartoon that features adolescent equivalents of the Three Stooges. Maybe too many shows, his mother now says.

On Monday, Connecticut's new Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor addressed the task force charged with finding solutions to Connecticut's achievement gap - the disparity between poor and wealthy students. Connecticut's achievement gap is considered the widest in the nation. Commissioner Pryor joins us now by phone.

Advocates for early childhood education are calling on the state to withdraw its latest motion in a major school funding lawsuit. The state wants to exclude preschool programs from the case. 

Governor Malloy is seen as a champion of preschool education, says Maggie Adair, director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.  

"He did not cut anything in early care and education or early childhood funding for that matter in the last session. He’s proposed 1,000 new preschool slots over the next couple of years"

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Photo by No Division

It's been several months since a new law went into effect allowing illegal immigrants to pay the in state tuition rate at public colleges and universities in Connecticut.

As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, more than one hundred undocumented students have signed affadavits to qualify for the rate this semester.