schools

What do the Common Core State Standards have in common with congressional Democrats and the Chicago Cubs?

They all had a really rough year.

Of the 45 states that first adopted the academic standards, many spent 2014 talking about repeal. In Oklahoma (as well as Indiana and South Carolina), it wasn't just talk. The Legislature voted to drop the Core in May. And Gov. Mary Fallin, a longtime champion of the Common Core, signed the repeal in June.

Yik Yak

Local, state police, and federal law enforcement are investigating a post on social media threatening a "hail of bullets" in East Lyme.  The post, which appeared anonymously Dec. 24 on the mobile app Yik Yak, said East Lyme should "get ready for the hail of bullets."

As a boy, Daniel Majook Gai fled the civil war in Sudan, running miles by himself to safety and leaving his family behind. He was one of the so-called Lost Boys — a name given to children separated from their families during that conflict.

After years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, Gai landed in the United States, reunited with his family and got an education. In 2011, he returned home to the newly independent country of South Sudan.

But war came back in 2013 and split the new nation.

One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Unlike other parts of the country, New England has been seeing a growing number of new farms. Connecticut is among eight states recently chosen for a federal pilot program supporting locally-grown food in schools.

Existing federal funds in this year’s Farm Bill will now allow 16 school districts to use tax dollars to purchase fruits and vegetables from Connecticut farms for school lunches. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty calls it a double-win.

U.S. Department of Education

The population of English language learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. According to the data, these students are falling behind. 

Chion Wolf

The population of English Language Learners in Connecticut has increased by nearly 50 percent in the past ten years. Unfortunately, support for these students hasn’t kept up. Despite this steady increase in a learning population, the number of certified, bilingual teachers has been in a steady decline.

Diane Orson / WNPR

The state Supreme Court has ruled that arbitrators are not covered by the state's Freedom of Information laws, denying the public's right to know what evidence is presented in arbitration hearings between teacher unions and school boards.

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill.

Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years.

U.S. Department of Education

State education officials are currently negotiating changes to Connecticut's landmark school desegregation settlement. 

New Haven Promise

President Barack Obama convened a Summit on College Opportunity at the White House Thursday, aimed at helping more students prepare for and graduate from college.

Patricia Melton, executive director of New Haven Promise, a scholarship and support program for New Haven public school students, was there.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor attended his final State Board of Education meeting Wednesday. He announced earlier this year he’d leave the post, and will depart in January. A process is underway to select an interim commissioner.

State of Connecticut

Last month, the Office of the Child Advocate released a report on Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza. It details Lanza's mental health history and how the educational system handled his case.

We sit down with the state's child advocate, Sarah Eagan, to get a better sense of how Lanza slipped through the cracks of the educational system. We also hear from others who worked on the report.

This story was reported for the radio by Eric Westervelt and for online by Anya Kamenetz.

"We, the Committee of Public Safety, find Jean Valjean guilty. The sentence is death by guillotine!"

Molly McPherson, a redhead with glasses, is dressed in a blue bathrobe — in costume as Robespierre. Her seventh-graders are re-enacting the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, with a little assist from Les Miserables.

Supporters of the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts are meeting this evening to urge the new bishop of western Massachusetts to rebuild the tornado-damaged school.

Svigals & Partners

The state bond commission has approved a $5 million grant for the new Sandy Hook Elementary school. 

CT-N

Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met in Newtown on Friday. The panel heard from three parents of children killed in the Newtown tragedy, who offered a host of policy recommendations based on their experiences over the last 23 months since the massacre. 

Granby Public Schools

A Connecticut middle school principal has resigned amid questions about his role in making violent movies featuring scantily clad women. 

New Orleans, where nine of 10 children attend charter schools, has perhaps the most scrutinized public school system in the country.

And since Hurricane Katrina, a major source of information about the city's schools has been the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a research group connected with Tulane University. The institute has been widely cited by political leaders and in the news media, including our reporting.

GHAA

Nearly 20 years ago, I made my first visit to the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts at its original site, just past Colt Park in Hartford, heading south on Wethersfield Avenue.

I pulled into a parking lot protected by a tall, chain-linked fence. It acted like a divider between a worn-out apartment building in the deteriorating neighborhood, and the old funeral parlor that had been resurrected as Hartford’s arts magnet high school.

The school has come a long way since then. Last month, it was honored as the nation’s top arts school by the Arts Schools Network.

There is frustration and anger over a delay in rebuilding the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

   Parents and alumnae of Cathedral High School said they were blindsided by Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s call for more study to help him make a decision on the school’s future.  Mayor Domenic Sarno said Rozanski had reneged on a pledge made by his now retired predecessor to rebuild the high school in the same neighborhood where it had stood since 1959

A suicide bomber who was reportedly dressed in a student uniform detonated explosives at a large boys' high school in northeastern Nigeria, killing as many as 48 students. The attack during a morning assembly is being blamed on the insurgent group Boko Haram.

From Lagos, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports:

"Disguised as a uniformed high school student, a bomber disrupted weekly assembly by detonating explosives.

Office of Mayor Finizio / Facebook

After previously saying he would not seek a second term, Democratic New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has changed his mind.

Finizio made his announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday. After announcing in April he would not run for re-election, "many New Londoners came to me, at my office, at my house, on the street, urging me to reconsider and run for re-election," Finizio wrote.

Flushing International High School is like a teenage version of the United Nations. Walk down the hallway and you can meet students from Colombia, China, Ecuador, Bangladesh and South Korea.

"Our students come from about 40 different countries, speak 20 different languages," says Lara Evangelista, the school's principal.

With schools around the country scrambling to educate the more than 57,000 unaccompanied child migrants who've crossed the border this year, I came to see what lessons International Schools like this one can offer.

iStock / Thinkstock

Tuesday is Election Day, and Connecticut’s gubernatorial battle is down to the wire, with the two major candidates locked in a dead heat.

The race between incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger, businessman Tom Foley, has been fierce and negative. They’ve attacked each other’s views on the economy, taxes, jobs, and more. The third candidate in the race, Joe Visconti, has now thrown his support behind Foley.

But education may prove to be the most telling microcosm of the 2014 election.

Milford Public Schools

Milford schools and the father of a 7-year-old girl barred for three weeks because of Ebola fears have agreed to the youngster's return, three days day earlier than planned. 

Milford Public Schools

A Connecticut school superintendent is defending her decision to bar a third-grader from returning to school after visiting West Africa amid fears the young girl may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

Chion Wolf

Superintendent of the Hartford Public Schools has always been a challenging job. So challenging, in fact, that few in recent years held it for very long.

In the last two decades, the district went through various restructurings, flirtations with private education companies and state interventions, and was the subject of a landmark anti-discrimination lawsuit. The last two Superintendents - Stephen Adamowski and Kristina Kishimoto worked together to transform district schools - opening up a “choice” program and reorganizing around themed academies and magnet schools.

Recent headlines out of West Africa have been flooded with the news of the Ebola outbreak, shifting the attention away from the social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls, aimed at rescuing nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

On Friday, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister said that negotiations to get the girls back were underway and that their release was imminent.

The father of a Connecticut third-grader has filed a federal lawsuit saying his daughter has been unfairly barred from school amid fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while in Africa. 

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