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An informational forum took place on Friday at the State Capitol focusing on Connecticut's controversial Common Core standards. Introducing the event, State Sen. Andrea Stillman described the forum as "a chance to see, hear, and digest information."

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor told lawmakers that the state wants to be flexible with its approach to reform, knowing that local districts are struggling to make sweeping changes while also revising the way teachers are evaluated. 

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A local superintendent's recent letter to Governor Dannel Malloy laid out concerns about changes to Connecticut's educational system. East Lyme Public Schools Superintendent James Lombardo, a long-time veteran of Connecticut's public schools, wrote a letter to Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor saying education reforms are pointing the state and the country in the wrong direction. 

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On Monday, United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez came to Connecticut to discuss minimum wage increases with local business leaders, workers, and politicians. During his trip, he called us to talk about how states like Connecticut are handling a higher minimum wage. What effect could this have on employment in the United States? 

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Legislators are considering a change to a statewide ban of pesticide use on school grounds. It's the first of several proposed challenges to a law that's been in effect since 2010.

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Here's the problem with covering education issues on Where We Live: We broadcast live at 9:00 am on weekdays. If you're a middle school or high school teacher, you might know that time as second or third period.

Our discussions on education frequently lack one key voice: teachers. On February 25, we fix that. Join us for an evening panel discussion in WNPR's building. 

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Governor Malloy’s latest early childhood education proposal centers on universal access to pre-kindergarten. The phase-in plan would offer seats to 1,000 three- and four-year-olds for fiscal year 2015, and would expand to serve 4,000 additional children by 2019. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's agenda includes universal access to pre-kindergarten. But in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing universal pre-kindergarten.

What's the difference?

This hour, we ask the executive director of the Office of Early Childhood, who is working on this issue.

Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.

Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.

Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.

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Last year, Hartford's board of education decided against renewing the contract of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto beyond this coming June. Now, Kishimoto, a reformer who took the job after Steven Adamowski, is leaving.

State of Connecticut

The governor's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is continuing its work. As it does, the law firm that advises it has done a lot of legwork itself, making a searchable database out of the thousands of pages of the Connecticut State Police Newtown investigation.  

Near the end of his State of the State address last week, Governor Dannel Malloy discussed his propsosal for universal preschool by expanding state-supported early childhood education spaces by 4,000 over the next five years. The plan is already garnering nationwide attention. Malloy said the initiative would be a first in Connecticut history.

Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.

Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.

"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

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Governor Malloy was supposed to give his State of the State address on Wednesday, but the snow pushed it back to Thursday at noon. Ah, yes… it’s still winter. Storm today, more snow predicted this weekend. We hope you’re home snuggled in.

As a matter of fact, this hour on The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable, we need your help. Sure, we’ll talk about politics: priorities for the legislative session, education reform, and a new plan to raise the minimum wage. But we also want to hear from you: are you snowed in? Going to work, or not?

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Federal education officials have granted Connecticut’s request to delay standardized testing requirements connected to the Common Core State Standards. That will allow some breathing room for teachers before new evaluations connected to the tests begin. 

Diane Orson / WNPR

A recently-released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that as college tuition costs soared between 2007 and 2012, demand for federal student loans increased more than 300 percent.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

After mounting complaints from teachers, officials recently announced the state plans to delay the implementation of teacher evaluations. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are calling for a re-examination of the Common Core standards. Two years after Connecticut approved sweeping education legislation, we'll check-in on the implementation and receive an update on Common Core in the state. 

We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the Southern U.S. — and that it takes a lot to close them in the Northern half of the nation.

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Imagine a day without adjunct faculty. Many colleges and universities would effectively shut down.  Somewhere between 70-75% of the academic workforce in higher education is not tenured or on track for tenure. Most of those people fall into the category of adjunct. 

Freestyle aerial skier Mac Bohonnon recently finished second at the Val St. Come World Cup in Quebec, and that helped him qualify for the Olympics in Sochi. But when he's not doing triple-twisting double backflips, he's taking Advanced Placement classes at Team Academy in Park City, Utah.

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The price of college textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade, according to a new study that looks at alternatives to the traditional college textbook.

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The State Department of Education has determined that Bridgeport Public Schools have violated their obligation to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Office of Governor Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Thursday that his budget will include more money to improve school security across the state. Last year, over 600 schools got state funding. 

Governor Dannel Malloy was joined by school officials and lawmakers at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven on Thursday to announce a plan to expand the school security grant program as part of his legislative agenda for 2014.The governor’s budget proposal will include a $10 million plan to expand the program.

Malloy Names New DEEP Commissioner

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A Hartford Superior Court judge has denied a request by the state to delay the start of a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. The attorney general’s office had filed motions aimed at postponing the start of the trial until October 2015. Now, the case is set to begin later this year. 

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Connecticut Voices for Children held a forum on Thursday called, "Raising the Grade: Improving Educational Opportunities for Youth in State Care." State lawmakers, child advocates, and community leaders gathered at the capitol to hear sometimes emotional testimony from members of the DCF Youth advisory panel, teenagers who have been in the care of the state for most of their lives.

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

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Rosalind Wiseman's book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, became a bestseller and was inspiration for the popular movie "Mean Girls." While the movie was hilarious and painful to watch, the book took a more serious look at new ways to understand girls’ social dynamics. 

This post was updated at 11 p.m. ET.

A 12-year-old student opened fire Tuesday at a middle school in Roswell, N.M., wounding two fellow students. The shooter, who was armed with a shotgun, was arrested.

The Associated Press reports:

"A boy was critically injured and a girl was in satisfactory condition following the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell.

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The head of the governor's commission studying the Newtown shootings said he is direct contact with the family of gunman Adam Lanza. 

The commission that met Friday is hoping to learn more about Lanza's medical history.

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The transition from high school to college is tough for anyone. But if you’re the first in your family to go to school, you’re a trailblazer and have a whole other set of challenges. From knowledge of the college application process, to financial aid, to campus life, there are more hurdles to get past when you’re the first to go through it.

On this episode of Where We Live we’re joined by a panel of first-generation college students, both past and present to share their stories. Are you a first-generation college student? We want to hear your story!

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