James Hanks, 18, before speaking with the Southern Education Desk at Birmingham City Schools' Lincoln Professional Development Center. While working several jobs, he got his high school diploma May 14. But as he'll tell you below, he used to focus on all the wrong things. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Students prepare to bow at Lagniappe's kindergarten graduation.
Mallory Falk WWNO
Jen Pike-Vassell walks first grader Bre'Yelle to class on the last day at Lagniappe Academies.
Credit: Mallory Falk / WWNO
Wilson parents Dana Wade and Miesha Jackson pose in front of the bumper cars at InspireNOLA Family Night. They want to make sure Wilson's new operator won't treat the school, or the students, like failures.
Credit: Mallory Falk / WWNO
Alabama / Audio / Multimedia / Special Coverage James Hanks, 18, before speaking with the Southern Education Desk at Birmingham City Schools' Lincoln Professional Development Center. While working several jobs, he got his high school diploma May 14. But as he'll tell you below, he used to focus on all the wrong things. Photo by Dan Carsen.

INTERVIEW: James Hanks, Birmingham Dropout Recovery Graduate

The U.S. Secretary of Education recently recognized Alabama for having one of the nation’s steepest increases in high school graduation rates. Birmingham City Schools’ rate increased even more – up roughly 23 percent in the last four years. The latest data reported to the state education department puts the system’s rate at 79 percent — just below the national average. Regardless of that and the larger question of what the diplomas actually mean, having that piece of paper is helpful. Alabama reporter Dan Carsen sits down with James Hanks, an 18-year-old who just graduated through Birmingham Schools’ Dropout Recovery Program, which runs three Alternative Learning Centers spread throughout the city. The five-minute on-air interview below starts with the former Woodlawn High School athlete and drum major explaining — really admitting — why he had trouble graduating on time last year.

Good Teaching Series / Public Insight Network Join The Conversation: “What Is Good Teaching?”

Join The Conversation: “What Is Good Teaching?”

Please help public media stations across the South better understand a very basic question – What is good teaching? Share your knowledge and insights on what you think makes a good teacher here.

Resources / What You Need To Know What You Need To Know: Summer Learning Loss

What You Need To Know: Summer Learning Loss

Summer learning loss occurs in most children who are not actively learning during the summer months. This loss of information is usually greater in children from low-income families, but experts say there are potential solutions – if political will can be found to support them.

American Graduate

Back on Track: Louisiana Graduates

Louisiana’s graduation rate has jumped nearly ten points over the last decade. But at 74.6%, the state’s high school graduation rate still lags behind the national average of 81%. And last year 19 school districts saw their graduation rates decline. How do students stay in school despite these odds? This [...]

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James Hanks, 18, before speaking with the Southern Education Desk at Birmingham City Schools' Lincoln Professional Development Center. While working several jobs, he got his high school diploma May 14. But as he'll tell you below, he used to focus on all the wrong things. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Multimedia / Special Coverage

INTERVIEW: James Hanks, Birmingham Dropout Recovery Graduate

The U.S. Secretary of Education recently recognized Alabama for having one of the nation’s steepest increases in high school graduation rates. Birmingham City Schools’ rate increased even more – up roughly 23 percent in the last four years. The latest data reported to the state education department puts the system’s rate at 79 percent — just below the national average. Regardless of that and the larger question of what the diplomas actually mean, having that piece of paper is helpful. Alabama reporter Dan Carsen sits down with James Hanks, an 18-year-old who just graduated through Birmingham Schools’ Dropout Recovery Program, which runs three Alternative Learning Centers spread throughout the city. The five-minute on-air interview below starts with the former Woodlawn High School athlete and drum major explaining — really admitting — why he had trouble graduating on time last year.

Students prepare to bow at Lagniappe's kindergarten graduation.
Mallory Falk WWNO
Charter Schools / Louisiana

Closing Costs: One Parent’s Search For A New School

When a school shuts down, families have to figure out where to go next. Anthony Parker faced that decision this year. His son AJ was a kindergartner at Lagniappe Academies, which closed on May 8. Parker spoke with WWNO Education Reporter Mallory Falk about finding a new school for AJ [...]

Some of Unidos Dual Language Charter School teacher John Rendon's second-graders getting into a lesson. Play the audio to hear what comes next. For more on Unidos school, see Part One of this series. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Georgia / National / Special Coverage / Tennessee / Uncategorized

Bilingual Education In The South, Part Four: “Enormous” Economic Consequences

Students who don’t speak English as their first language – or “language minorities” – rank toward the bottom in almost every measure of academic achievement. Moral and legal concerns aside, even if their population were to stop rising, the situation signifies a looming hit to the national and regional economies. [...]

Tarrant High School junior Angelina Baltazar (left), her mother Maria Baltazar, and ESL teacher Anne Pace. The Baltazars are from Guatemala, but Maria's first language was not Spanish -- it was an isolated Mayan language from western Guatemala and eastern Mexico. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Georgia / National / Special Coverage / Tennessee / Uncategorized

Bilingual Education In The South, Part Three: The Hurdles

Students who don’t speak English as their first language, or “language minorities,” are some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged in our nation and in the South. So far in our series we’ve looked at two dual-language schools (a more common description since the phrase “bilingual schools” became politically [...]

Lesther Martin, a World Language Academy teacher originally from Guatemala, teaches his fourth-graders social studies. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Georgia / National / Special Coverage / Tennessee / Uncategorized

Bilingual Education In The South, Part Two: Another Program Across The Border (In Georgia)

As public schools become more linguistically diverse, some see bilingual or “dual-language” programs as a way to improve education for all – English speakers too. Yesterday we checked out an innovative dual-language school in a low-income Georgia neighborhood just outside Atlanta. Today we’ll visit a program 50 miles to the [...]

Science! These students at Unidos Dual Language Charter School in Clayton County, Georgia are learning their science in Spanish. And there's science to suggest the approach benefits Spanish- and English-speakers alike. Photo by Dan Carsen.
Alabama / Audio / Georgia / Multimedia / National / Special Coverage / Tennessee / Uncategorized

Bilingual Education In The South: It Is Happening, Even Here

The number of Latinos in America’s schools is rising faster than any other group’s. And their share of the school population is rising fastest in the South. Many don’t speak English as their first language, making them “language-minorities.” And the question of how best to educate them is becoming crucial in places with little bilingual history – places like Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. So WBHM and the Southern Education Desk are kicking off a four-part series on language-minority education in the South. In Part One, we cross the border (into Georgia) to see an innovative school and a counterintuitive concept in action.

American Graduate

Back on Track: Louisiana Graduates

Louisiana’s graduation rate has jumped nearly ten points over the last decade. But at 74.6%, the state’s high school graduation rate still lags behind the national average of 81%. And last year 19 school districts saw their graduation rates decline. How do students stay in school despite these odds? This [...]

American Graduate / Early Education / Tennessee / Uncategorized

Story Time to Graduation

Story time for preschoolers on a regular, consistent basis can have a positive effect on their ability to read later– and possibly their likelihood to graduate.