Back to School: Common Core, Bilingual Education, and School Safety

Aug 27, 2013

Students across the state are heading back to school this week – and they’ll be seeing a lot of changes.  The common core state standards are taking effect and changing the way teachers teach and students take tests.

Schools are struggling to find the best way to teach ESL kids English.  New Britain school system was recently featured on PBS Newshour for changing all their bilingual classes to English only. 

New Britain superintendent Kelt Cooper says, "if you don't acquire English, then you are effectively barred from all sorts of different opportunities."  He was also featured in the Hartford Courant, who outlined his new motto for discipline: “Don’t talk smack, don’t show crack.” 

And many schools are instituting a series of post-Newtown safety changes, and even the GED test is different.  We’ll check in with a few very different districts and with education reporters.  

From a baggy pants ban to high stakes testing, it’s back to school day on Where We Live.


  • Diane Orson, WNPR education reporter and managing editor
  • Leslie Abbatiello, Director of Professional Development and School Improvement at ACES (Area Cooperative Educational Services)
  • Emily Hanford, Education Correspondent for American Radio Works
  • Dr. David Title, Superintendent of Fairfield Public Schools 
  • Suzanne Carlson, Staff Writer at The Hartford Courant

American Radio Works' documentary "One Child at a Time: Custom Learning in the Digital Age" will air Monday September 2nd at 9AM and "Second Chance Diploma: Examining the GED" will air at 1PM