Articles written by: Dan Carsen

Dan Carsen is our reporter stationed at WBHM in Birmingham. He’s been a teacher, a teacher trainer, a newspaper reporter, a radio commentator, and an editor in an educational publishing house. His writing and reporting have won numerous awards. His outside interests include basketball, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, and hoping his toddlers let him sleep.

Spectators take in a middle-school football game in Wilcox County, Alabama. If Adrienne Milner has her way, these girls -- or at least more girls -- might be on the field instead of watching. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / school sports

Sociologists’ Book Urges End of Sex Divisions in Sports

Can you imagine a world with no gender divisions in sports? University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Adrienne Milner can. Not only that — she wants to help make it happen. Along with University of Miami professor Dr. Jomills Henry Braddock II, she’s written a new book called “Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal.” Our Alabama reporter caught up with her to ask what else she hopes to accomplish, and why.

Time for serious discussion in JohnMark Edwards' eighth-grade social studies class at Phillips Academy in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Teaching Tough Topics

Teaching Tough Topics: The Real History of the South

Teaching subjects that trigger strong emotions and political divides is challenging. In the South, many of those fault-lines — racial, religious and otherwise — are intimately tied to its history. This week the Southern Education Desk is exploring how teachers tackle tough topics. Our Alabama reporter starts with an overview of some the major challenges, and some of the ways teachers can get around them. Please note this report contains language some might find offensive.

Credit: Bonnie Brown/Flickr.
Alabama / Events

Alabama School Connection’s Trisha Powell Crain Talks Money, Politics, and More in Alabama Education

There’s never a shortage of stories coming from Alabama’s schools. But before the WBHM/Southern Education Desk’s “Issues and Ales” education forum Thursday evening, we wanted to shed as much light as possible on the big picture behind the headlines because — for better or worse — that backdrop always includes money and therefore politics.

All In The Game: College Athletes Talk Tensions Between Sports And Academics
Alabama / All In The Game / school sports

All In The Game: College Athletes Talk Tensions Between Sports And Academics

Across the South, college football is in full swing. But football is just one of dozens of NCAA sports. In any season, student-athletes are pushing themselves on the field, in the gym, and in the classroom. They get scholarships and generate billions of dollars. But they also get hurt and struggle with their studies on top of what’s basically a demanding full-time job. In Part One of our series, “Pressure and Performance on the Field of Play,” our Alabama reporter looks at tensions between sports and academics, through the eyes of the athletes themselves.

LA Johnson/NPR
Alabama / Audio / science

Alabama’s Science Standards Get A Makeover

Alabama schools are getting new science standards for the first time in a decade. The state Board of Education voted unanimously today to replace old standards that some teachers say were behind the times the moment they were approved.

The view from a science classroom at nationally recognized Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School in Irondale, Alabama. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Multimedia / science / STEM

INTERVIEW: Dr. Minda Berbeco On Alabama’s New Science Standards

Alabama’s State Board of Education is set to vote tomorrow on new K-12 science standards that would go into effect next school year. Most science teachers in the state say the new standards are better than the current decade-old ones. We wanted a national perspective too, so our Alabama reporter caught up with Dr. Minda Berbeco, Programs and Policy Director for the National Center for Science Education. He asks if she’s surprised there hasn’t been much controversy on standards dealing with evolution, climate change, and more.

Spectators take in the middle-school homecoming football game at Wilcox County High School in Camden, Alabama last year. It was the main event in the area that night. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Multimedia / school sports / science

A Window On Other Arenas: Sports, Race, & More With Sociologist Adrienne Milner

You don’t have to be a scholar to know that African-Americans are heavily represented in contact sports like football and basketball, but underrepresented in “lifetime sports” like tennis or golf. Some casual observers have come up with simple explanations for that. But a University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist and author who studies race and gender in sports says the reality is anything but simple, or fair. Adrienne Milner, who played college basketball until an injury ended her athletic career, tells the Southern Education Desk’s Dan Carsen that she’s intrigued by inequity in all fields, but sports are special for her area of focus, for a reason you might not guess.

Ashton Bridges of Phenix City, Alabama about to pounce on timpani drums at the University of Montevallo. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Multimedia / Summer Learning Series

Summer Learning: Ambitious Program Gears Up To Push Middle-Schoolers Past High School

Fewer reading materials in the home. Less access to camps or museums. Those are some reasons summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income kids. There are many in the South, which can hamper efforts to raise graduation rates. But in Part Two of this Southern Education Desk series, WBHM’s Dan Carsen reports on “GEAR UP Alabama” — a wide-ranging federally funded attempt to meet those challenges, and more.