Dan Carsen

Dan Carsen

Reporter



Dan Carsen is our health and science reporter. He’s been a science teacher, a teacher trainer, a newspaper reporter, a radio commentator, and an editor at an educational publishing house. His writing and reporting have won numerous regional and national awards. His outside interests include basketball, sailing, percussion, raptors, and seeking REM brainwaves.

Crime in Greater Birmingham: Literacy as Long-Term Prevention?

Police and prosecutors try to fight crime in the streets and in the courts every day. But how do you fight the long-term root causes of crime? Some people think you do it in small school rooms, one lesson at a time.

Grading Teachers on Student Test Scores? Trisha Crain on “PREP Act”

Should educators be evaluated partly on student test scores? Should it take five years rather than three for teachers to get tenure? If State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh’s “Preparing and Rewarding Educational Professionals (PREP) Act” becomes law, those changes and more are coming to Alabama’s schools. So WBHM’s Dan Carsen talks with Alabama School […]

Dr. Tommy Bice, State Schools Chief, Announces Retirement

Dr. Tommy Bice, Superintendent of the Alabama State Department of Education, today announced his retirement, set to go into effect at the end of this month.

Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South: Student Incentives in Alabama

Given thousands of related job openings but only hundreds of computer science college graduates, Alabama is trying to ramp up its computer science education. That includes a new policy allowing those classes to count toward core math graduation requirements. WBHM’s Dan Carsen concludes the Southern Education Desk series “Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South” with a visit to a Birmingham-area class that’s leading the way.

Trisha Powell Crain on Top Education Stories of 2015

This year has been extremely busy on the Alabama education beat: a study commissioned by the state education department itself called school funding inadequate and unequal; state Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh floated a draft bill that could, among other seismic shifts, tie teacher pay to student test results; and, as Alabama School Connection’s Trisha […]

Sociologists’ Book Urges End of Sex Division 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 […]

Birmingham Mayor, Councilman Involved in Altercation

Details are still coming in, but Birmingham Mayor William Bell and City Councilman Marcus Lundy reportedly had a physical confrontation in a back room during the council’s meeting this morning. Both men received medical treatment.

UAB Student, Iraq Vet Hopes to Help Feed Black Belt with Aquaponics

Ramon Jeter was raised by a single mother on the west side of Birmingham. Right out of Ramsay High School he joined the Navy. He eventually served as a field medic in Iraq. Now the married new father is studying public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he’s been accepted to Clinton […]

Teaching Tough Topics: The South’s Real History

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. WBHM’s Dan Carsen starts with an overview of some the major challenges, and […]

Interview: UAB Space Archaeologist and TED Prize Winner Sarah Parcak

To some, the fact that “space archaeology” is actually a thing will come as news. Practitioners use satellite imagery to discover and analyze ancient ruins, and increasingly, to spot looting. University of Alabama at Birmingham archaeologist Sarah Parcak is a leader in the field, and she’s just been named winner of the 2016 million-dollar TED Prize, […]

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 WBHM’s and the 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. For better or worse, that backdrop always includes money and therefore politics. So our education reporter Dan Carsen sat down with Alabama School Connection founder and BirminghamWatch contributor Trisha Powell Crain to talk about that and more.

A Different Kind of Medical Drama: Local Doctors Give Voice to Bizarre New “ICD-10” Diagnosis Codes

Have you been struck by a duck? Maybe hurt in a spaceship accident? If so, the new medical coding system that went live across the nation this month has a code that applies to you. The tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases, or “ICD 10,” includes almost seventy thousand codes — roughly five […]

Federal Judge: Police Pepper-Spraying Birmingham Students for Discipline Is Unconstitutional

Between 2006 and 2011, police officers patrolling Birmingham City Schools pepper-sprayed students more than a hundred times. But late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon ruled the practice unconstitutional.

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 […]

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. As evidence, they point to their students’ biology textbooks, many of which currently come with warning […]

Dr. Minda Berbeco On Alabama’s New Science Standards

Alabama’s State Board of Education on Thursday approved new K-12 science standards that will go into effect next school year. Science teachers across Alabama say the new standards are better than the current decade-old ones. We wanted a national perspective too, so WBHM’s Dan Carsen caught up with Dr. Minda Berbeco, Programs and Policy Director for […]

A Window On Other Arenas: Sports, Race, And More With UAB 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 relatively simple explanations for that phenomenon. But a University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist and author who studies […]

Pushing Middle-Schoolers All The Way Through College

Fewer reading materials in the home. Less access to camps or museums. Those are some reasons summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income kids. And there are many in the South, which can hamper efforts to raise graduation rates. But in the second part of this Southern Education Desk series, WBHM’s Dan Carsen reports on “GEAR […]

In Football Country, Concussions Spark A Parental Dilemma

More and more people are learning about the risks contact sports pose to the brain. So even here in football-loving Alabama, parents and young athletes are wrestling with a serious dilemma, one that could affect them decades later: to play or not to play. To help parents facing that decision, WBHM’s Dan Carsen got some […]

INTERVIEW: Carsen & Lindley On Emotional Vestavia Mascot Meeting

Since the mass shooting by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina last month, symbols like the Confederate flag have come under renewed scrutiny. In Vestavia Hills, it’s the high school’s rebel mascot — sometimes called Colonel Reb or The Rebel Man — that’s drawing national attention. WBHM’s Dan Carsen went to an emotional public […]

Capacity Crowd Turns Out For Vestavia Mascot Forum

An emotional issue across the South and the nation came to a head in Vestavia Hills last night — the debate over symbols related to the Confederacy. The school board held a public forum, partly spurred by residents who want the system to drop its “Rebel” mascot. Listen above or read below. Under the text, […]

Alabama’s Teacher Of The Year On Teaching, Common Core, Mascots And More

Vestavia Hills science teacher Jennifer Brown is Alabama’s 2015-2016 Teacher of The Year. The 16-year educator, who once wanted to be a professional basketball player, sits down with WBHM’s Dan Carsen to talk about her motivations and about controversial issues like Common Core, charter schools, standardized testing and Vestavia Hills City Schools’ “Rebel” mascot. But the […]

Birmingham City Schools Free From State Control

Birmingham, Alabama’s school system is now free of state control. The state had taken over after financial mismanagement, corruption, and fighting among local board members so intense it sometimes got physical. Voters have since elected a very different school board. And now, Birmingham’s schools are independent again.

James Hanks, a Dropout “Recovered”

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 […]

Bilingual Ed in the South: 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. This week we’ve been exploring […]

Bilingual Ed in the South: 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 loaded). Now, WBHM’s Dan Carsen […]

Bilingual Ed in the South: Another School Across the Border (in GA)

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 northeast, where staff combine the […]

Bilingual Ed in the South: It’s Happening, Even at This School

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 relatively little […]

A Recovering Addict’s Story In Her Own Words

Elizabeth Drennen tells the story of how she became addicted to prescription pain medication and then heroin to Addiction Prevention Coalition student leaders

Preventing Addiction In Schools

In Part One of WBHM’s five-part series, we heard about how and why heroin use is on the rise in Alabama. Now in Part Two, education reporter Dan Carsen looks at how some young people are trying to slow its spread in their schools. The story starts with a confession in a small office just outside downtown Birmingham.

US Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Alabama’s high
school graduation rate jumped eight percent between the years
2011 and 2013. That may not sound like a lot, but it was one of the
largest increases in the country, which also saw its rate increase while racial gaps decreased. WBHM’s education reporter Dan
Carsen caught up with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to
talk about what the numbers mean for the state and for the nation.

Recovering Heroin Addict Brad Blount On A Dark Time, And How He Escaped It

Heroin use is on the rise in Alabama. And contrary to old
stereotypes, it doesn’t respect race, class, or neighborhood
boundaries. Brad Blount of Vestavia Hills is proof. He’s from a
solid family in that well-heeled suburb, but the 24-year-old tells
WBHM’s Dan Carsen that despite it all, his life took a dark turn.