Report: UC System Most Economically Diverse Among Nation's Top Schools

The University of California is an "upward-mobility machine." That's according to the New York Times, which last week issued its 2015 College Access Index ranking the economic diversity of the nation's most selective colleges. UC campuses took six of the seven top spots, based on the cost of attendance and the number of students enrolled who receive federal Pell grants. We speak with New York Times editor David Leonhardt about what UC has done to earn its rankings, what other schools might learn and about the role of education in helping people climb the economic ladder.

California, Bay Area School Districts Scramble to Hire Teachers

Nationwide, school districts can't find enough teachers to fill their classrooms. And the teacher shortage has hit California particularly hard. Between 2008 and 2012, the state lost 82,000 school jobs to budget cuts, according to the Labor Department. Now, with declining enrollment in teacher credential programs and increased state funding for new hires, local districts are struggling to fill open teaching positions. How is the teacher shortage affecting your classroom or school?

PBS NewsHour

How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers


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CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: This is second week on the job for 22-year-old Renee Alves.

She’s assigned to this third grade class at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, in the Roxbury section of Boston – but she is not a teacher yet. She is part of a training program called the Boston Teacher Residency.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: As one of 40 residents in the teacher training program this year, Renee will spend 10 months watching, emulating, and learning as much as she can from experienced teacher Kayla Morse

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RENEE ALVES: You can learn from a textbook, but I think it’s a lot different when you’re in a classroom and you’re seeing it in person.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Renee’s lengthy training period is part of a transformation in the way Boston and handful of other cities prepare their teachers. While some teacher training programs require only a few weeks in the classroom, these residency models require far more.

In 2003, Jesse Solomon, who taught math in Boston public schools for ten years – co-founded the program that he likens to a medical residency.

JESSE SOLOMON: One thing I saw a lot when I was teaching was– a number of brand new teachers coming into the profession. Smart, committed, hard-working, kind of willing to do whatever it takes– but not really knowing how to teach that first year.

My concern was always that they were learning on the backs on the kids that had them that year, right? So if you’re a first-year teacher in Algebra 1 class, you get another shot next year. For those kids taking Algebra 1, that was their shot at algebra 1. So had in my head that there’s gotta be a better way to do this.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Solomon’s goals were to counteract Boston’s heavy teacher turnover rate, fill key shortages of math and science specialists, and increase the number of minority teachers.

JESSE SOLOMON: Our country right now invests in the preparation of doctors to the tune of about half a million dollars per doctor. So we’ve obviously decided that to invest in the training of those doctors. So I’m not arguing we should spend half a million dollars per teacher.

But if education is really as important as everybody says it is, and if teachers are really as important as everyone says they are, then we should be thinking about how we as a country invest in the recruitment, preparation support of teachers.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Renee spends Monday through Thursdays as Kayla’s apprentice, and Fridays in graduate courses.

She and her fellow trainees will finish the residency with a master’s degree in education and become part of the growing roster of clinically-trained teachers in the Boston public school system.
Three out of four of these graduates from the past twelve years are still teaching in Boston – a city where one out of two have left the profession.

Kayla Morse finished the program four years ago.

KAYLA MORSE: I’ve been teaching at this school for going on two years. And what’s kept me here is how this school is set up. It’s a community of learners. So I feel very connected to the vision of not only preparing students for the world but also preparing more teachers.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: When you’re thinking about how you’ll work with Renee–are you mirroring a lot of your own experiences as a resident?”

KAYLA MORSE: So a lot of times I do mirror my experiences with her, but I also think about if I was new to this profession or this place, what are some of the things that I would need to know to work better.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Do you feel a responsibility to kind of keep her fire burning?

KAYLA MORSE: Yes, yes, because I think this work is challenging, and it can really get to you, but I feel like what keeps me going is that fire, and some of the same things we talk about with our kids, independence, perseverance, problem-solving, those are things that I kind of I carry through in my working relationship with her.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Roxbury has come a long way in the last two decades. These homes have replaced empty lots where city businesses used to dump their trash in the middle of the night, but residents still struggle with high unemployment– almost half of the children in the area live in poverty, and the program recognizes this.

Alongside comprehensive teacher education, the residents work with local community groups. Not only learning some of the history of the Boston public school system, but about the particular nuances of the neighborhoods in which they teach.

Here at the Dudley Street School this approach has led to a strategic partnership with the Dudley street neighborhood initiative – one of Roxbury’s oldest and most influential community organizations.

Program director Sheena Collier says even with 13 schools in Roxbury, more than two-thirds are bused to schools outside of the district.

SHEENA COLLIER: We believe in parents choosing to send their child to school wherever they like, but we’d like them to have the option to send them to a quality school in their neighborhood if that’s what the choose.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: She says the Dudley School is an integral part of keeping kids close to home.

SHEENA COLLIER: Unlike the other schools in our neighborhood, we were able to be a part of the visioning of what this school would look like, what would it mean for our community, what would it mean for the students that attend.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: In addition to the forward momentum, teachers like Sabine Ferdinand, a graduate of the residency program, say it is important to recognize the challenging home environment some of their students may come from.

SABINE FERDINAND: I have to be really mindful of everything that my students come into the classroom with. You know, students who come from a difficult home life.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How familiar were you with Roxbury beforehand?

SABINE FERDINAND: Not too familiar, surprisingly. I grew up maybe 25, 30 minutes away from here but before, you know, starting to teach here, the residency– took us throughout the neighborhoods and really taught us about where we’re going to be working. And so that really allowed me to understand Roxbury.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Twelve years in, this program has shown success not only retaining more teachers but hiring more science and math specialists, and placing more Black, Latino, and Asian-Americans in the classroom.

It hasn’t all gone according to plan. A 2011 Harvard study found that standardized math test scores were lower among students taught by 1st year residents than the 1st year teachers coming from traditional programs. This trend continues until the 4th year of teaching when scores in resident classrooms surpass their counterparts.

JESSE SOLOMON: It was a pivot point. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there haven’t been lots of pivot points. You know, it’s sorta like you– you go institute a bunch of things, you get some success. But all that really does is teach you about the next challenge that you need to take on.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: In response to the study, the program retooled concentrating a greater number of residents in fewer schools.

JESSE SOLOMON: So if you have, you know, seven math residents and seven math mentors and a math clinic teacher educator, you have 15 people all in the same school talking together on a daily basis about what, like, does good math teaching look like– for– for the kids in this school. But I think the big question that we’re wrestling with now is ultimately are our teacher good for the kids they serve in the years down the line.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Only a few weeks in, Renee has a long year in front of her, but says she is undeterred – driven by her time with the students.

RENEE ALVES: When you have those aha moments, or you see a child have that aha moment, and their face lights up, it makes everything worth it.

The post How a Boston program is transforming the way we train teachers appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

‘They don’t allow you to fail': In custom classrooms, at-risk students thrive


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HARI SREENIVASAN: As technology plays a larger role in the classroom, what happens to the role of the teacher? An alternative high school in the Bronx is charting a course for both to coexist through an increasingly popular model called “blended learning.”

HARI SREENIVASAN: Bronx Arena High School is one of nearly 300 schools under a New York City program called innovation zone, or I-zone. Started in 2010, I-zone schools use online courses and technology to support personalized learning in the classroom. The curriculum is computerized and customized for each student. Evelyn Revollar has been teaching here for five years.Amgrad Logo

EVELYN REVOLLAR: It’s more targeted teaching than a traditional classroom. We’re grouping them based on what do you need to graduate? What holes can I fill? What academic holes can I fill that haven’t been filled yet? The computer’s just a tool.

HARI SREENIVASAN: In the past, Revollar would have taught the entire class at once, moving from one concept to the next. Instead, students here — equipped with laptops — work more independently and at their own pace.

LESLIANNA ALLEN: The teachers work one-on-one with you. So it’s not like I’m in a big classroom and with a bunch of kids, and I don’t understand something.

HARI SREENIVASAN: An online tracker helps students record their progress throughout the day. Now, Revollar can intercept problems as they happen for each student, based on real time feedback she gets.

LESLIANNA ALLEN: The tracker is just for us and the teachers to keep track of our courses. It tells me how many tasks that’s in that course and how many tasks I’m supposed to be doing that day.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The technology helps students who did not finish traditional high school. Leslianna Allen quit school in 10th grade and needed extra help in global studies and math. At 18, she is getting a second chance at Bronx Arena.

LESLIANNA ALLEN: I used to struggle with global and math a lot, like I hated math. I hated global and since I came here, I finished my whole math course, because I went at my pace and had teachers to help me too.

You can actually help yourself moreover because everything is on the computer. You get what you need, and you’re able to get it faster.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Joseph Mcfadden was expelled from his previous school. This is his third year at Bronx Arena, and he is on track to graduate in January. He also credits his success to something a computer cannot do.

JOSEPH MCFADDEN: It’s a different experience. Like the teachers, they play the role of a teacher but they’re more of; they’re counselors. They’re advisors. They watch over you. They help you with your lessons.

LESLIANNA ALLEN: They don’t allow you to fail here, I got accepted, and my grades went way up.

JOSEPH MCFADDEN: She said at the end of the day, I can’t force you to do anything. I just want you to look back at yourself and ask yourself, where do you really want to be? Do

You really think school is for you? Do you really want to be something?’ If you do, then take your own actions into your hand and do something with yourself.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All that individual motivation per student takes time, and principal ty Cesene, who founded Bronx Arena in 2011, says the technology enables that.

TY CESENE: We wanted to use technology to maximize that time and really rely on the human part to do the human work, and try and take off some of the sort of administrative responsibilities that we have– that a computer could do.

HARI SREENIVASAN: As a result, teachers spend more time giving students individual attention and meeting with small groups for focused lessons.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Technology in and of itself is not a panacea for every classroom, but this Bronx school so far is having positive outcomes.

TY CESENE: In terms of the kids who leave us — eighty percent go to college, and over an 80 percent college retention rate, for the Bronx, for the whole city, and we’re proud of that.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Leslianna Allen hopes to be part of that success.

LESLIANNA ALLEN: My plans after graduation is to go to college and potentially be– potentially work with kids. I want go to college for early childhood. It makes me feel good because I’m a step closer to graduation.

The post ‘They don’t allow you to fail': In custom classrooms, at-risk students thrive appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

WATCH LIVE: American Graduate Day 2015 celebrates efforts to build student success

Tune in Saturday, October 3rd from 11:00am-6pm ET for the fourth annual American Graduate Day, broadcast live from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

Throughout the country, families, teachers and entire communities are working to help young people find meaning in education and develop their talents to achieve success.

Those efforts will be celebrated Saturday, October 3 on PBS with American Graduate Day, a seven-hour event featuring celebrities, public figures and journalists like PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Hari Sreenivasan exploring innovative solutions to the challenges that millions of students face every day.

Solutions like a nonprofit in Austin, Texas partnering with a juvenile justice center to help students manage their emotions and finish their high school education by learning classical guitar. Student Reporting Labs special correspondent Kennedy Huff reported this story for KLRU in Austin.

Detroit‘s Clark Park has offered young people opportunities to grow and learn from community elders for generations. Student Reporting Labs producer Evan Gurlock took a close look at this vital local asset during his summer internship with Detroit Public Television. 

In the spring, Student Reporting Labs asked students to find stories about peers who had taken unique paths to overcome challenges in order to graduate. Their Road to Graduation series profiles teens who overcame immigration problems, poverty and homelessness to reach their goal.


This year, the PBS NewsHour American Graduate reporting team brought us stories of school success from across the U.S. and abroad this year, like this report on Freedom Schools still carrying out the mission started during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

American Graduate also profiled a school in rural Alaska where native Yu’pik traditions live in and out of the classroom.

Check your local PBS listings for Saturday’s American Graduate Day programming. Or, check back on this blog post during the day for a live stream of the seven-hour broadcast.
PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Seeing need, Cleveland program trains steelworkers of tomorrow


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JUDY WOODRUFF: This Saturday, public TV stations across the country will Air American Graduate Day 2015, a national public media initiative to help communities address the school dropout crisis.

Tonight, a preview from Cleveland about a school-to-work program that leads to work in a local steel plant.

Amy Hansen from WVIZ/PBS ideastream in Cleveland reports.

AMY HANSEN: Like many Midwestern cities, Cleveland was built on a foundation of manufacturing. Today, Cleveland’s largest steel mill is operated by ArcelorMittal, Which continues to employ thousands in the area.

GARY NORGREN, Manager of Raw Materials, ArcelorMittal: ArcelorMittal back in late 2007 was faced with a huge problem. They were worried that the number of skilled craftspeople, electrical/mechanical, who are eligible to retire, were going to leave in the next five years, and we didn’t have the backfill to be prepared for that attrition.

JOHN PAWLOSKI, Electrician, ArcelorMittal: Well, I am 61 years old. And, yes, retirement has come into mind, and a lot of my co-workers are of the same age. We’re all in that same category.

GARY NORGREN: We are projecting at ArcelorMittal to lose over 200 electricians and mechanics per year for the next five years, so when we lose 200 people, it’s imperative that we find either within our current work force people who want to become mechanics or electricians or we go outside the work force.

AMY HANSEN: So, ArcelorMittal reached out to community colleges near their five Midwestern plants to create a program, combining an in-class curriculum with an on-the-job internship that trains locals to become steelworkers for the future.

GARY NORGREN: The overall objective of Steelworker for the Future is to grow students who have an interest in mechanical hands-on type work to enter U.S. manufacturing and basically fill our needs.

KEIHEN KITCHEN, Intern, Steelworker for the Future: Originally, I wanted to be an engineer. And when I started doing more research and taking engineering classes, I realized that the majority of engineers actually are doing designing. They don’t actually get to work too much with their hands.

And I’m the kind of person, I want to do the work with my hands. I want to be a part of what I’m doing. I don’t want to just design it and hand it off to someone else.

AMY HANSEN: After hearing about the Steelworker for the Future program through a friend, 18-year-old Keihen Kitchen enrolled through Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. She is now training to become an electrician.

GARY NORGREN: In high school, many students are pushed towards a four-year degree to become engineers and doctors and lawyers, and the whole need for U.S. manufacturers to have electricians and mechanics has kind of been lost.

You go into high school and everyone is talking to you about, well, you have got to go to college to be successful and you have to go to a four-year university, you will be nothing without a bachelor’s degree. It really puts so much pressure on your shoulders to do well at everything you do. And in high school, that was a really hard thing to deal with.

Connecting all of the lights together

AMY HANSEN: Hard to deal with because Keihen faced a host of other obstacles outside the classroom.

KEIHEN KITCHEN: I had a mother who was very sick. She was diagnosed with cancer when I was 7 years old. I had a biological father who wasn’t in my life, so my brother and I really had to take care of our mom. She was on disability, so we were really on the low end of poverty. And it makes you scared, you know, what’s going to happen in the future? What about when I’m done with high school?

And I think that’s some questions a lot of people have. And the Steelworker for the Future program really opened up my eyes to a way of going to school where you were going to have a job at the end of the program.

JOHN PAWLOSKI: The motor has a history of lasting five years before it starts — we change it right before that.


JOHN PAWLOSKI: I have been down here for 41 years, 38 years as an electrician, done a lot, seen a lot.

Because he said the flames were shooting up and…


JOHN PAWLOSKI: Something different happens every single day.

KEIHEN KITCHEN: My first mentor was John Pawloski. He explained to me step-by-step what he was doing and why he was doing it, which was an amazing experience to really get to take what I’m learning in school and apply it to a real career. This is how I’m going to be using what I’m learning in school.

JOHN PAWLOSKI: This way, I can share my experiences with the new generation. You feel kind of proud.

I did my first internship this summer, and every day I wish I could be coming back to work here.

So, just hold it down, turn it on and then let it go?

AMY HANSEN: Now back at Cuyahoga Community college, Keihen is even closer to her wish.

And this is going to be my final semester before I get my associate’s degree. I have been working in customer service, everything from retail to the restaurant business, ever since high school. So, it’s exciting to be looking at a real career where I’m working one full-time job. I’m very excited to start at ArcelorMittal.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The seven-hour American Graduate broadcast can be seen tomorrow, Saturday, October 3, on this and other PBS stations.

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