teachers

For a moment, let's pretend.

That everything you know about America's public education system — the bitter politics and arcane funding policies, the rules and countless reasons our schools work (or don't) the way they do — is suddenly negotiable.

Pretend the obstacles to change have melted like butter on hot blacktop.

Now ask yourself: What could — and should — we do differently?

There's a reason Jose Luis Vilson's students learn in groups: He wants them to feel comfortable working with anyone in the classroom, something he's realized in his 11 years of teaching doesn't always come naturally.

"I don't really give students a chance to self-select until later on, when I feel like they can pretty much group with anybody," he says.

Diane Orson

Summer's here and many Connecticut kids are heading off to camps and summer enrichment programs.

William Neuheisel/flickr creative commons

As coverage of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida dominates the news, it becomes increasingly more difficult to shield children from these types of events. How much information is too much? 

Waterbury Public Schools

Jahana Hayes is a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. She's also the 2016 National Teacher of the Year. This hour, she stops by to talk about her career, her new national title, and her recent visit to the White House

Harriet Jones / WNPR

A Connecticut man who said he was sexually abused as a child at a private school in Massachusetts wants to see the statute of limitations on the crime abolished. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

It was an emotional school board meeting for Superintendent Alicia Roy. After hearing Thursday evening that more than two-thirds of the district'’s teachers want her to resign, she became visibly upset, and struggled to respond.

Is failure a positive opportunity to learn and grow, or is it a negative experience that hinders success? How parents answer that question has a big influence on how much children think they can improve their intelligence through hard work, a study says.

Jahana Hayes teaches history at Kennedy High School. More than that, Hayes says she teaches empathy. Hayes tells WSHU's Cassandra Basler how growing up in public housing projects in Waterbury, Connecticut, helped her become 2016 National Teacher of the Year.

Kelly Henderson loves her job, teaching at Newton South High School in a suburb west of Boston. But she's frustrated she can't afford to live in the community where she teaches: It's part of the 10th most expensive housing market in the nation.

"For people in the private sector, they're probably saying 'Oh poor you, you can't live in the community where you work, what's the big deal?' " says Henderson, 35. "And I guess part of the nature of public education and why it's a different kind of job, is that it's all-consuming — as it should be."

Stefan Malmesjö / Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to think about language as being endangered or replaceable. But as our culture and means of communication evolve, certain languages find their utility in decline. 

David DesRoches / WNPR

Educators in urban areas are worried that if the state continues with its plan to eventually tie student test scores to evaluations, that nobody will want to teach in these cities.

Uncle Goose / Flickr

A transcript of this show is available here.

It's hard to think about language as being endangered or replaceable. But as our culture and means of communication evolve, certain languages find their utility in decline. Braille and sign language are in just such a predicament.

Maxim Zolotukhin / World Bank

In her new book, The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups, author Erika Christakis said young children are working more and learning less. 

A group of 10- and 11-year-olds giggle as professional cellist Frederic Rosselet flexes his wrist as if he's made of rubber. "Really flexible in your wrist," he tells the students. "It's your arm basically that does the work."

The cello students at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif., drag their bows across their cello's strings, following Rosselet's wrist-shaking lead.

Screeeech. It needs work.

"Guys, wanna try that again? 'Forte' means?"

"Loud!" the students reply.

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

Kent is a small town. Like other small towns, it doesn't have a police force. Residents rely on state troopers.

That's part of the reason why Selectman Jeffrey Parkin wants to arm school personnel. He said it could be the difference between life and death if someone walks into a school and starts shooting.

Shana Sureck / WNPR

The Artists Collective is one of the most recognized landmarks on Albany Avenue. Community activist Denise Best describes it as much more than a well-maintained property.

"It’s pristine because there’s a mind-set that says we protect this building," Best said. "Through all of the dance classes, they set the stage for behavior, for appreciation, for respect for each other. It’s fantastic."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The state’s largest teaching union criticized the current guidelines for teacher evaluations in Connecticut at a press conference on Monday, calling for changes to a system that the organization said puts too much emphasis on standardized test scores -- and not enough on classroom learning.

Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a landmark case that could potentially limit teachers’ unions from collecting fees from non-members. New Haven has joined an amicus brief filed in the case.

Connecticut's largest teachers union wants state lawmakers and the governor to replace a controversial standardized test administered to students in grades three through eight.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

National security expert Scott Bates recently returned from Amman, Jordan where he was working with government ministries and elected officials on a project funded by USAID. This hour, he stops by tell us more about his trip and discuss United States foreign policy in the Middle East. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

College professors say that the state's higher education system is not employing enough full-time teachers. And some professors claim this has caused the full-time faculty to look down on their adjunct colleagues. 

Matthew / Flickr Creative Commons

Across America, low-income, first generation college students are not graduating at the same rate as some of their wealthier peers. Coming up, we take a closer look at this trend with WAMU reporter Kavitha Cardoza. Her documentary is called “Lower Income, Higher Ed."  

Cross your fingers.

Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's not controversial to say the law is in desperate need of an update.

Creative Commons

Connecticut’s students score well overall on standardized tests. But lower-income minority students in urban areas continue to lag behind their classmates. 

Facebook

Recent weeks of violence between Israelis and Palestinians have left dead a total of nearly 40 people from both sides. A former Connecticut resident is among those critically injured.

White House

The sudden announcement that the top education official in the country is resigning has been met with a mix of reactions in Connecticut.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Arne Duncan will step down as President Obama's education secretary in December, a White House official confirms to NPR.

Obama has selected Deputy Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan. King is a former New York State education commissioner. (President Obama is making a personnel announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

Matthew / Creative Commons

Across America, low-income, first generation college students are not graduating at the same rate as some of their wealthier peers. Coming up, we take a closer look at this trend with WAMU reporter Kavitha Cardoza. Her documentary is called “Lower Income, Higher Ed."  

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