WNPR

David DesRoches

Reporter

David covers education and related topics for WNPR, and also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students.

His coverage of systemic civil rights violations by a public school system against students with disabilities landed him an Education Writers Association award for investigative reporting in 2013, which was soon followed by state legislation to address some of the flaws he exposed. He was also twice named Reporter of the Year for New England’s six-state region, in 2013 and 2014. In total, he’s received 20 national, regional and state awards since his reporting career began in 2009. 

In addition to education coverage, he’s reported on prosecutorial misconduct during a hate crime trial; the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting-death in Ferguson, MO; a federally-funded pesticide program that put waterways at risk of contamination; the dangers of lightly-regulated use of biosolids on farmland; and he’s reported extensively on the presence of toxic PCBs in the nation’s aging public schools, which led to an investigation and calls for stronger oversight by U.S. senators. His work has appeared on NPR, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and numerous local and regional newspapers. 

David was first published at 8 years old for a story he wrote about the importance of air bags. He got his first taste of journalism as a columnist for the George Street Observer while attending the College of Charleston, where he covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He began his career with the Central Virginian newspaper, before moving to Connecticut where he worked for the Darien Times prior to transitioning to public radio at WNPR.

Before journalism, David ran a flyer distribution company, started a non-profit media organization in Ethiopia, and taught songwriting to people with physical and intellectual disabilities. He believes in the Freedom of Information Act, the First Amendment, transparency, accountability, and journalism as a public service.  

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WNPR/David DesRoches

The state's 12 community colleges could become consolidated into a single school by mid-2019. The 12 campuses would remain open, but would be renamed the Connecticut Community College.

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

It's only a matter of time before Michael McCotter says he'll lose his job.

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

The state's budget crisis is hitting Connecticut schools hard, and special education programs might also be feeling the pain, even though these services are protected by federal law.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark school funding lawsuit. State officials are appealing a lower court decision, that ruled the state's funding system was unconstitutional.

Juhan Sonin/flickr creative commons

Hundreds of jobs for young people were not available this summer, as the state failed to pass a budget in time to fund its Summer Youth Employment Program. But some local organizations stepped up to make some of those jobs available.

Barret Anspach / Flickr/Creative Commons

People hoping to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts might actually be doing more harm than good. That’s according Juanita Rilling, former director of USAID's Center for International Disaster Information.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Classes started on Monday at UConn's new campus in downtown Hartford. 

Mark Dixon / Creative Commons

How do you confront hate?

This hour, we dive into this resurgent — and unfortunate — reality. Should we tolerate hate? Or should we be intolerant? Do we fight hate with more hatred, or something else? We talk about all this, along with the recent incidents in Charlottesville and Boston.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

School districts could see even more severe cuts than originally proposed in Governor Dannel Malloy's executive order, which has proposed to slash another $100 million from schools.

Pixabay/Spooky_kid / Creative Commons

New England Brewing Company’s Robert Leonard has been brewing local favorites Sea Hag and Gandhi Bot, now called G-Bot, for decades. 

David DesRoches / WNPR

It took about 20 minutes and two helium tanks to fill up the huge latex balloon. A rope dangling from the bottom held onto an assortment of gadgets, including a video camera, parachute, and a razor attached to motor that was programmed to cut the rope at just the right altitude.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

If state lawmakers don't pass a budget, then Governor Dannel Malloy said he plans to cut overall state contributions to schools by 25 percent through executive order. But the cuts won’t be distributed equally.

timlewisnm / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials praised the latest 11th grade SAT scores, saying that the state is further closing the achievement gap. But many students from the state's poorest performing districts remain far behind their high-achieving peers from other parts of the state.

ccarlstead / Creative Commons

The NAACP has published a paper that's heavily critical of charter schools. The civil rights group visited New Haven as part of a national listening tour, hearing from all sides of the charter school debate.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Enid Rey is a nationally recognized figure for her work managing and promoting the school choice program for Hartford Public Schools. It’s a lottery-based system that, among other things, tries to pull in white and Asian students from the suburbs into Hartford. But earlier this month, Rey announced her resignation after about six years at the post.

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