Education

Coverage of education issues both in Colorado & Nationally from KUNC, NPR & our education news partners.

It's not exactly how Deilanis Santana planned to spend her 13th birthday: waking up before dawn, packing up her life – and heading to Connecticut to live with her grandma.

But here she is at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, three weeks after Hurricane Maria, waiting anxiously like many other Puerto Ricans for flights to destinations like Miami, Philadelphia, and other cities. The gates are crowded with children — Deilanis among them — leaving their homes, and sometimes their families, to live in the U.S. mainland and go to school.

We're doing things by the numbers this week in our weekly roundup of all things education.

167 of 1,113 public schools in Puerto Rico are open

Not that long ago, the high school in Pittsfield, N.H., had some of the lowest standardized tests scores in the state and was known as a dropout factory.

But over the past six years, the school district has overhauled its approach to education. Now in most classes, grades aren't used to measure progress.

And that is a relief to Jenny Wellington, an English teacher at Pittsfield High School, who says grades never really told her whether her students were actually learning.

The schools in Puerto Rico are facing massive challenges.

All the public schools are without electricity, and more than half don't have water. More than 100 are still functioning as shelters.

But Puerto Rico's secretary of education, Julia Keleher, tells us that the schools that are open are serving as connection points for communities. They've become a place where children and their families can eat a hot meal and get some emotional support, too.

Back-to-school season didn't last long this year in Puerto Rico. First Hurricane Irma and then Maria forced schools to close and turned the lives of students and their families upside down.

Puerto Rico's secretary of education, Julia Keleher, says that of the U.S. territory's 1,113 public schools, 22 reopened last week and another 145 this week. They're hoping that the majority will be open by Oct. 23. Some are still functioning as emergency shelters.

Caring Among Strategies Colorado Schools Use To Improve Graduation Rates

Oct 11, 2017
R. Teal Witter / KUNC

Though Colorado has one of the lowest rates for high school graduation in the country, there is evidence across the state that administrators are working to change that. A big part of their strategy is something simple: caring.

It has been more than six months since Betsy DeVos was confirmed as education secretary after one of the most contentious Cabinet nomination battles in memory, and so we thought it worth an update on her major moves so far — and the public response.

School choice

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You might remember the viral video in 2015 from a high school in Columbia, S.C. A white school resource officer confronts a student who is black. He flips her desk on the ground and drags her out of her chair.

Cookie Monster is all wound up. The Count has him hold up his furry blue fingers, count them (of course), and blow on each one in turn as if he were blowing out a birthday candle. Afterward, Cookie declares, in his familiar growly voice, that he feels much better.

"Hey! Me feel terrific! Me calm. Me relaxed."

There are nearly 700,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and Thursday is the final deadline for them to renew their DACA status, which the Trump Administration announced would be discontinued unless Congress steps in to save it.

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