schools

The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high."

Sound the trumpets. This is a really big deal. There's just one problem: The president didn't explain how we got here. For the past few months, the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations in more than a dozen states have been digging into these numbers to find out.

David DesRoches / WNPR

Jennifer Necci is trying to get seventh graders to tell her how well they think they’re writing about a book they’ve read.  

Pixabay / Creative Commons

New charter schools in the state would be subject to a two-step approval process, as well as new laws over disclosing their records. The bill has passed the house and senate, and is now sitting at the governor’s office.

Alberto Cairo / ProPublica

Public schools across Connecticut restrain or seclude students over 30,000 times a year. Some kids are restrained hundreds of times annually, and some are secluded for minor behavior problems, according to an investigation by the Office of the Child Advocate.

A veteran educator with a track record of turning around struggling urban schools will be put in charge of a troubled western Massachusetts school system. The state’s education commissioner has appointed the current superintendent of schools in Wakefield as receiver for the Holyoke public schools.

Stephen Zrike, who was a principal at three Boston schools and led a network of elementary schools in Chicago, will now be in charge of the effort to improve student achievement at one of the worst school districts in the state.

PBS NewsHour

More Connecticut students report feeling sad and hopeless and they are seeking help at school-based health clinics, counselors say.

Their problems range from bullying to family issues to anxiety.

Wikipedia / Public Domain

A controversy has erupted between the state’s largest teachers union and an education reform group over student privacy. 

The Connecticut Education Association claims that Hamden Public Schools gave an education reform group school data that risks exposing personal information about students.

Brown University ranks among the top 10 universities whose undergraduates go on to win the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.

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Connecticut students may soon be learning CPR in addition to reading and arithmetic.

It's one of the biggest challenges in higher education today: What do you do with the nearly one in five working-age adults who have some college experience, but no degree?

Sokeo Ros was one of them. "I just hated" community college, he says. "I wasn't being challenged."

Ros, 34, was born in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. He dropped out of two colleges, switching majors several times.

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Over 4,000 area students have been offered seats in a Hartford magnet school or suburban public school through the regional school lottery. But roughly 15,000 students were placed on wait-lists.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

If you’ve been to any public school lately, chances are you weren’t able to just walk right in. You have to ring a bell, then you’re either buzzed in or greeted by a security guard or school employee.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Obama may have had an unusually tough message on climate change for graduates at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but commencement was still a day for celebration and reflection for the cadets themselves.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Barack Obama will be in New London Wednesday to give the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the second time he's been the keynote speaker for graduation at the Academy. He was last here in 2011. 

Office of Dannel Malloy

The state’s new education commissioner said that about half of all Connecticut school districts have been trained to handle behavior problems in a new way.

Matthias Rosenkranz / Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut is rejecting roughly a fifth of the eligible credits from students who transfer from community colleges, according to a recent study put out by a counselor at Gateway Community College.

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In the United States, men named John, James, Robert, and William hold more corporate board seats than women hold altogether. It’s a pretty striking reality, which begs the question: Why aren’t there more women in corporate America? 

Ella's Dad / Creative Commons

Twelve school districts across Connecticut will be getting state-funded preschools starting this fall. It’s the first step toward the governor’s goal to provide preschool to all children.

Click the above link to hear Joel Rose's Morning Edition report.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is casting his eye beyond the Big Apple — and is trying to cement his legacy as a progressive champion that could help boost his political future.

Stamford Advocate/Lindsay Perry

  One person has been convicted. Two people face criminal charges, and another three might be losing their jobs. All this happened after the school district in Stamford fumbled an investigation into allegations that a teacher was having sex with one of her students.

Rafael Medina / Creative Commons

A study shows the University of Connecticut is rejecting about 20 percent of the transfer credits from students coming into the school from the state's community college system. 

Bain News Service / Creative Commons

Some Connecticut students may soon be taught the history of labor and free markets. A bill passed through the state senate on Monday that would require the education department to make relevant curriculum materials available to local school districts.

Hartford Public Schools

  Principal Julie Goldstein huddled with her staff, anxiously waiting to hear if her school had won. Holding her breath, the announcement was made.

It was confirmed. Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford was named the best in the country by the Magnet Schools of America. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

Advocates for the rights of children met in Hartford to talk about how to reduce the number of students being restrained or secluded in school. Part of the solution involves training educators on alternative ways to handle behavior problems.

Roughly half of the state’s school districts have been trained in what’s called positive behavior interventions and supports, or PIBS. It’s a program designed to limit restraints and seclusions of students with disabilities. Many of these kids have autism, and these incidents often lead to injuries.

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, is in Holyoke today.  It is his first visit since a state education board voted earlier this week to put the city’s public schools under state control.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state legislature's Appropriations Committee made it clear this week that it does not want to fund two new charter schools in Connecticut.

Committee co-chair Senator Beth Bye said there are too many other educational programs that need money. So it cut about $21 million from the governor’s proposed budget that was supposed to be used to fund the new charters.

But the owners of the Stamford Charter School for Excellence went ahead and signed a lease anyway.

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New Haven schools have partnered with various organizations to help discipline students more effectively. The city's efforts are part of a broader statewide push to examine behavior problems through a new lens.

Jeff Millsteen / Flickr Creative Commons

Detentions, suspensions, and expulsions: these are the time-honored  and well-worn enforcements of many a scorned teacher. Even student arrests are not uncommon in some troubled school districts. The practice of addressing bad behavior in the classroom with an even worse punishment has long been the norm.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation

Scarlett Lewis is on a mission. She lost her six-year-old son, Jesse, during the 2012 Newtown school shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead. But somehow, through something barely short of a miracle, she’s been able to use that pain and turn it into something powerful. 

Lewis created the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to honor the message her son left on the family’s chalkboard the day he died – nurturing healing love. One of the things she’s trying to do is bring social and emotional learning into public schools.

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