Education

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As stricter nutrition regulations go into their fifth year, some New Hampshire students and schools, continue to push back against these federal guidelines to make meals healthier.  But the rules have many supporters too who say that serving food with less sodium, fat, and calories is a necessity in an era of childhood obesity.

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Labels get thrown around willy-nilly during primary season...among them? Progressive.  However candidates Clinton & Sanders use the term, its history is not so straightforward. 

On today’s show, the rise and fall of progressive politics. Then, from anti-bullying seminars to the dare to keep kids off drugs program, ushering a gaggle of students into an auditorium or gymnasium for an all school assembly is a time honored tradition. But sometimes the educational value of the message is questionable.

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With the number of diagnoses and prescriptions on a twenty-year rise, these days, having a kid with ADHD is no longer outside the norm. Still: there's plenty of disagreement over the nature of the diagnosis itself, when medication can help kids, and when other approaches might be better. 

After Bernie Sanders announced his proposal to make college free, college affordability has been front and center in the Democratic primary. When it comes to broad goals, the candidates agree. But as for the best way to get there, that’s where they differ.

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Over the last decade, high schools and universities have adopted programs encouraging female students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, and there’s been a lot of talk about closing the gap.  But now, this divide is changing, with women dominating in some stem fields and men in others.  We’re getting the latest picture.

Guests:

meridiannh.com

Students in Manchester schools are heading back to classes this morning at new times.

The school district is changing hours based on its new contract with the Manchester Education Association.

The high schools will start at 7:45 this morning, the middle schools at 7:35 and elementary schools in the city will begin at 8:45. 

 

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A new state law limiting when schools can record in classrooms is having unintended consequences for some New Hampshire school districts.

The law was aimed at protecting the privacy of teachers and students, but school officials say the added regulations have made it more difficult to film classrooms for legitimate reasons.

Priscilla Morrill is a reporter for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

When the Department of Education released its latest round of state-level reading and math scores this week, it was cause for cheer in New Hampshire. The state ranked in the top two or three states in every category and grade-level tests.

Those kind of high marks have been common in New Hampshire for years. But a recent report suggests the state’s status as one of the nation’s top test-takers should come down a few notches. 

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The latest batch of national assessment tests shows New Hampshire students remaining among the highest achievers in math and reading.

The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress shows the average scores for reading in New Hampshire holding steady compared to 2013 for both fourth graders and eighth graders. For the younger group, only one state had a higher average score than New Hampshire. For eighth graders, New Hampshire was tied with four other states at the top of the list.

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The Attorney General’s office has refused to defend the law that caps state aid to schools in a case brought by the city of Dover.  It’s the latest in a long string of battles over education funding in the state.

New Hampshire's Charter Schools: A Growing Choice

Oct 26, 2015
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New Hampshire now has 25 of these alternative public schools, after a spate of rapid growth. We’ll look at some of the themes raised in NHPR’s recent series, A Growing Choice.  These include how charter schools are funded, who their students are, and what overall role they play in public education. 

Guests:

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire’s congressional delegation will be among those on hand for the opening of a Job Corps center today in Manchester.

The facility will provide vocational training to 300 students ages 16 to 24. 

The effort to build the center began in 2001, but construction stalled several years ago over contract language that would have required that it be built by union labor.

The agreement was later lifted, and construction began in 2013.

Patrick / Flickr/CC

The number of homeschooling families in New Hampshire and nationwide continues to grow, and they’re more diverse: including families with a wider range of political, religious, and educational approaches. But even as this group expands, it is less regulated by the states, sparking debate on how much oversight is needed. 

The show was originally broadcast on September 22, 2015.

GUESTS:

File Photo

Custodians in Nashua and their supporters are expected to hold a rally Monday evening ahead of a school board meeting to protest the board’s decision to end their union contract.

In a move that took many by surprise, the board voted 7-1 earlier this month to seek bids from private contractors to take over the district’s custodial services — and union members aren’t taking the move sitting down. 

Ron Turiello's daughter, Grace, seemed unusually alert even as a newborn.

At 7 months or so, she showed an interest in categorizing objects: She'd take a drawing of an elephant in a picture book, say, and match it to a stuffed elephant and a realistic plastic elephant.

At 5 or 6 years old, when snorkeling with her family in Hawaii, she identified a passing fish correctly as a Heller's barracuda, then added, "Where are the rest? They usually travel in schools."

Manchester School District

 

A preschool teacher in Manchester has been named the 2016 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year.

Ashley Preston, who teaches at Parker Varney Elementary School, becomes the state's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Preston has been teaching for nine years, all of them in the Manchester School District. The Department of Education says the selection committee recognized her ability to help her students be curious, critical thinkers and problem solvers.

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Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. So why does it remain tax free? Then - meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere, from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? We find out why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

9.15.15: Mindfulness in Schools & The Song of the Fall

Sep 15, 2015
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Meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere - from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? Today, why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/dSuxV1

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today, is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools…a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. 

9.08.15: A Neurodiversity Primer & Miranda July

Sep 8, 2015
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The CDC estimates that about 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Today, the author of a new book on the science of autism gives us a primer on the neurodiversity movement. Then, Miranda July may be known for her quirky role in the 2005 film Me and You and Everyone We Know but the actress and artist has since written a debut novel which borrows heavily from her personal life. 

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Machines will soon take over for humans and slog through the dirty work, leaving people free to do whatever they choose in a world without work. We talk about what a post-job society might look like, and how we might prepare for it. Then, from 9 to 5 to The Office, we’ve got plenty of examples of cookie-cutter cubicles where workers toil away in soul-crushing boredom and fatigue. On today’s show: in defense of office life. Plus, we discover a class that brings a serious approach to leisure. 

You could say 36-year-old Matt Ray works in paradise — on a barrier island off the Florida's southern coast. As athletic director of the Anna Maria Island Community Center, Ray is doing what he loves.

"I grew up playing sports," he says. "I actually played two years of college basketball. So sports have pretty much been my entire life."

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As schools across the country struggle to meet the new national common core standards, one controversial aspect of education is not part of the curriculum: sex education. On today’s show: the evolving debate around sex ed, and why it’s not strictly an American phenomenon. Plus, from false confessions to inadequate defenses, wrongful convictions can happen for many reasons. We’ll look at faulty eyewitness testimonies, the number one contributing cause of wrongful convictions.

peter honeyman via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/a1wRcF

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today we’re asking: is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools with a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And, a job you may have thought was already obsolete – we’ll learn why the humble stenographer may be one of the most essential – and under-appreciated people in the courtroom. 

mas-concorp.com

As a new school year gets underway, more New Hampshire high schools are looking for ways to help students dealing with mental health issues.

Exeter High School is introducing new mental health services this year, in response to a rise in students dealing with issues such as depression and anxiety.

Jim Tremblay, principal of Exeter High School, joined NHPR’s Morning Edition to talk about the program.

When did you realize this was something the school needed to do?

Students are about to return to their classrooms after a long summer break. One thing their teachers are all wondering: how much did they forget over the vacation?

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Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes in American history, but hardly one of the strongest to hit the Gulf Coast or the city of New Orleans. Today, a look at the geography of poverty and how societal factors turn natural disasters into disproportionate catastrophes. Plus, a primer on gifted kids. Many parents try to nurture their child to bring out the very best, but some may be looking over signs that their child is truly exceptional. And, new research on an old question: do babies make new parents unhappy?

The conversation around early childhood education in New Hampshire today is often focused on the availability of half-day versus full-day kindergarten programs.

Governor Maggie Hassan weighed in when she spoke to NHPR in May:

"Full-day kindergarten would be a very important next step in making sure our young people have the kind of education that really prepares them for the 21st century global economy."

However, kindergarten here was not guaranteed until a 2007 law mandating public programs state-wide – making New Hampshire the last state in the nation to fully adopt public kindergarten.

Jason Moon / NHPR

Six GOP presidential candidates visited Londonderry High School Wednesday for a forum on K-12 education. The Republicans largely agreed that federal bureaucracy is behind many of the problems in public education and that more school choice is the solution.

NHPR staff photos

Six Republican presidential hopefuls are taking part in an education summit at Londonderry High School on Wednesday.

The summit is being put on by American Federation for Children, a conservative school choice advocacy group.

Lauren Camera, a reporter for Education Week, joined NHPR’s Morning Edition to help sort out where the candidates stand on K-12 education policy.

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