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What is the future of higher education?

This hour, we preview an upcoming Connecticut Forum with one of the forum panelists -- Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III. The President of the University of Maryland Baltimore County tells us how his school encourages diversity and innovation.

WNPR/David DesRoches

Before last Thursday, David Coss warned his AP government students that he wasn't going to be in class the day right after the election.

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Some students in Connecticut will go from preschool through high school graduation without ever having a teacher of color. Some districts only have a single black teacher. Others might have only one Latino teacher.

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Public school superintendents in the state’s three largest cities — Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford — have all recently announced their resignations.

This hour, we look at superintendent turnover in Connecticut.

For Ross Roberts, it was a lack of resources that drove him from the classroom. For Danielle Painton, it was too much emphasis on testing. For Sergio Gonzalez, it was a nasty political environment.

Welcome to the U.S. teaching force, where the "I'm outta here" rate is an estimated 8 percent a year — twice that of high-performing countries like Finland or Singapore. And that 8 percent is a lot higher than other professions.

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As traditional college graduates shoulder large student loan debt and companies hunt for skilled labor, technical and vocational high schools are garnering more attention. Do skills like 3D printing and precision machining really help students get jobs and higher wages?

This hour, we explore the value of career and technical education in Connecticut and nationwide.

Bertha Vazquez has taught earth science for more than 25 years.

"For many years I covered the basic standard, probably like most people in the country do," she says.

Then one day, she says, she decided to throw that all out the window after seeing former Vice President Al Gore speak at the University of Miami at a screening of An Inconvenient Truth, his documentary about climate change.

"And it really ... hit me. This is 2007 and, I've got to tell you, I lost sleep," Vazquez says.

This story is part of a series from NPR Ed exploring the challenges U.S. schools face meeting students' mental health needs.

Every year, thousands of children are suspended from preschool.

Take a second to let that sink in.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 6,743 children who were enrolled in district-provided pre-K in 2013-14 received one or more out-of-school suspensions.

COD Newsroom / Creative Commons

As traditional college graduates shoulder large student loan debt and companies hunt for skilled labor, technical and vocational high schools are garnering more attention. Do skills like 3D printing and precision machining really help students get jobs and higher wages?

This hour, we explore the value of career and technical education in Connecticut and nationwide.

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.

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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

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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."

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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