Tag Archives: school

What is restorative justice?

In the United States, three million kids are suspended from school every year.

Yet research shows suspension is often ineffective: it doesn’t make students behave better when they come back to school.

Restorative justice is one alternative to suspension or expulsion. But what exactly does “restorative justice” mean?

Thalia Gonzalez is a Professor of Politics at Occidental College. She joins producer Catherine Winter to discuss her research on restorative justice programs in schools nationwide.

A homeless student struggles towards graduation

This week, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidelines to states and school districts for supporting homeless children.

Over one million homeless students are enrolled in K-12 schools in the United States.

Due to their lack of housing, many of them struggle in school. Research has found homeless children struggle with vocabulary and sentence formation. Homeless students score lower on standardized tests and are more likely to drop out than their peers.

Laura Yuen (@laura_yuen) of Minnesota Public Radio followed one homeless high school senior in the suburbs of Minneapolis over the course of this past school year.

Her story is part of MPR’s Minnesota Graduation Gap series.


Race in suburban schools

Picture the suburbs. Before Arcade Fire, there was Leave It to Beaver, the white picket fence, perfectly manicured lawns. You’re probably not conjuring an image of a diverse place.

Yet data show the suburbs are increasingly diversifying. Today more than one-third of all suburban residents are people of color.

As the suburbs are diversifying so are their schools. Yet even in a diverse and well-resourced school district, a racial achievement gap remains.

Dr. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy studied one Midwestern suburban school district to find out why. He wrote up his findings in the book, Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources and Suburban Schooling.

Few teachers, little money, low test scores: Rural schools in the South

Rural schools in the United States face an abundance of problems: budget cuts, shrinking enrollments, teacher shortages, poor internet.

Nowhere is that more true than in the South. In states like Alabama and Mississippi, around half of all public schools are located in rural areas.

Jackie Mader is the Mississippi bureau chief at The Hechinger Report, a non-profit news organization that covers eduction. She also blogs for EdWeek about rural schools.

Mader joins host Stephen Smith to talk about how rural schools in the South are dealing with these issues.

Merging small, rural school districts

Last week we started a series on rural schools by looking at Vermont – a state where more than half of public school students are enrolled in rural districts.

A recent law, Act 46, encourages consolidation of smaller school districts there.

Daniel French is the former superintendent of Bennington-Rutland SU and writes about Act 46.

He calls Act 46 a “historic opportunity.”

French joins host Stephen Smith on the podcast to chat about why small school consolidation could be important for Vermont and other states around the country.



Fighting for ‘our school’

School in Smalltown, USA is changing. Over the past several decades, rural schools have suffered as enrollment has dropped and districts have merged.

Yet some estimate more than twenty percent of all public school students in the country go to school in rural districts.

We begin our series on rural schools by looking at Vermont, a state in the middle of a big fight over the role of its schools.

Over half of all students in Vermont go to rural schools.

Last year, the Vermont legislature passed law Act 46. It aims to provide better quality education for students through greater efficiency.

But not everyone agrees it will do that.

Erica Heilman produced this episode for her excellent podcast, Rumble Strip Vermont.

Theological schools feel the squeeze

Roughly 7 in 10 Americans still identify as part of the Christian faith. But the numbers have been declining over the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

That has some Christian theological schools worried about dropping enrollment numbers. Less students, of course, means less money.

As some of the mainline Protestant seminaries feel the squeeze, they are exploring mergers and selling off buildings. The oldest theological graduation school in the country, Andover Newton, joined the Yale Divinity School for example.

Our guest, Rick Seltzer, wrote an article in Inside Higher Ed on just that.

High school job prep

Typically, a student’s education is supposed like this: elementary, middle, high school. College. Job.

The idea that high school can directly prepare students for a job is more controversial. But it has a long history. Vocational education goes back to the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 – the law that first authorized federal funding for what is today called “career and technical education” (CTE)  in American schools.

Nowadays, most good jobs require a college degree. But a new study finds that some CTE students are more likely to graduate from high school, actually do better in college, and earn higher wages than their peers.

The report’s author, Shaun Dougherty, joins Stephen to talk about his findings.