Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For nearly three decades across the U.S., toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were widely used in school construction and renovation work. A WNPR investigation has found that two-thirds of schools in Connecticut could be contaminated.

Despite a 1979 ban on PCBs -- a synthetic chemical -- and their classification as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, there’s no state or federal law that requires testing for the presence of PCBs in schools.

David DesRoches / WNPR

When kids want to volunteer, they're often told what to do by adults. But the RiseUP Group in Hartford is a little different. The non-profit asks young people to create their own events and programs, to help them develop leadership skills and an appreciation for where they live.

Chester E. Finn Jr. has three very bright granddaughters. He thinks they "have considerable academic potential and are not always being challenged by their schools." Finn is not just a proud grandpa; he's a long-established expert on education policy with the Fordham Institute and Hoover Institution.

So it's not surprising that his grandkids got him wondering about — and researching — a big question: How well is the U.S. educating its top performers?

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

School starts next week, and soon kids will begin trickling into classrooms across Connecticut. They’ll sit down behind desks in classrooms and study English, science, math, history -- and then maybe a bit of Spanish, or French, or even Chinese.

Lee Morley / Creative Commons

Bartlomiej Palosz, 15, committed suicide in 2013, on the first day of his sophomore year in high school. Now his parents are suing the town of Greenwich and its school board, claiming that not enough was done to address the years of bullying that their son endured. 

CTN screenshot

The first two years of high school were a breeze for Ibrahim Adetona. But he started to struggle during his junior year, and he was eventually suspended from school for 10 days. After that, his struggles got worse.

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

The state Board of Education has approved more than 1,000 additional charter school seats for the coming school year, a 12 percent increase.

Cynthia Fowx / The Nature Conservancy

A high school internship from the Nature Conservancy is working to improve students’ understanding of the natural world.

"If a kid is in first period when they should still be asleep, how much are they really learning?"

U.S. Department of Education

There will be one less test for eleventh graders this coming school year – at least for students who plan on taking the SATs as part of the college application process.

Common Ground

Common Ground is a bit of a misnomer -- there’s not a whole lot that’s common about this high school. Started in 1997, the school uses agriculture as a key component of its curriculum.

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars.

Hartford Public Schools

A letter sent to a student’s family by a Hartford magnet school said the student should consider going to another school because of her low grades. Now Hartford’s superintendent is telling principals not to push out low-performing students.

Enrollment is increasing for an online K through 12 school in Massachusetts entering its second year.

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

 This hour, two education leaders discuss turnarounds of a very different type. In Bloomfield, not too many years ago, students struggled with some of the worst math scores in the state, and only about half of students went on to colleges. Those numbers have improved substantially over the last few years. We talk about the successes with the school superintendent, James Thompson.

Seattle Municipal Archives / Creative Commons

A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted that Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000. Needless to say, their prediction was a little off. Fifty years later, the five-day, 40-hour work week remains the standard here in the U.S. 

Brett Levin / Creative Commons

Connecticut has seen graduation rates steadily rise over the last five years. But questions are being asked about what’s behind the numbers.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Nearly every lawmaker in the General Assembly voted to create minimum qualifications for the state’s education commissioner. But Governor Dannel Malloy decided to veto the bill and now the state’s largest teachers union is now asking the legislature to override the veto.

Peter Morenus / University of Connecticut

Educators are gathered this week at the University of Connecticut for Confratute – a professional development conference that explores ways for teachers to apply gifted and talented teaching methods towards whole school improvement.

WNPR/David DesRoches

With drop-out rates in New Haven still troubling the district, one high school has been  trying something different to engage kids who are at risk.


For many low-income children in Connecticut, summer isn't a time filled with fun trips to the beach or chances to learn. This often leads to something called "summer slide," as they kids lose some of the gains they made while in school.

Alan Grinberg / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Congress are debating the Student Success Act, which would replace and update the No Child Left Behind law. The Republican House bill passed without the support of Connecticut lawmakers, or any Democrats at all.

Cara Paiuk

A piece written for The New York Times by a mother in West Hartford has gone viral. The article in the Motherlode blog is called, “A Kindergarten Form Asks: Vaginal Birth, or C-section. Why?

WNPR/David DesRoches

The report issued after the Newtown school shooting by the state's Office of the Child Advocate cites the importance of having both school psychologists and social workers on a school's mental health team.

ShellVacationsHospitality / Flickr Creative Commons

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? 

George Chochos

Back in 1990, there were more than 300 college-in-prison programs in the U.S. By 1997, the number was down to less than ten -- eliminated as part of the nation’s movement to get "tough on crime." 

Level Up Village

From her school in Greenwich, Greer sends a video to Ramish, who lives in Karachi, Pakistan. Greer tells her about dissecting a sheep heart.

“It was really cool, but the smell wasn’t so cool, but it was still awesome,” Greer said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed off on one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country a day after the state Legislature gave the measure final approval.

Chilli Head / Creative Commons

One man was killed and three others were shot at a basketball tournament at a Hartford school over the weekend. But city school officials now say the event didn't have a permit or the required security.

The state Board of Regents approved a program that will allow community college students to earn an associate degree while pursuing their bachelor's degree after transferring into a Connecticut state college or university.

It's called the reverse transfer program.