Dan Carsen

Dan Carsen


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.

Immigration Law and Schools

Students, parents, and school officials are reacting to Alabama’s new immigration law, the toughest in the nation. The law went into effect last week after a federal judge upheld many of its most controversial provisions, including a requirement that schools check the immigration status of newly enrolled students. And that extra layer of administrative responsibility may pale in comparison with the fear it’s engendered. Dan Carsen has more from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM:

Part 3: Walking School Bus

What has bright colors, traffic signs, dozens of feet, and provides exercise, companionship, and a safe way to school? It’s a new community-oriented health and safety strategy called a “walking school bus.” In the last of a three-part series on school transportation, Dan Carsen has more from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM:


Safe transportation to and from school is a challenge across the country. Roughly 800 children die making that trip each year, and the dangers vary by location. The rural south has its own challenges, some preventable, some not. In Part Two of a three-part series on school transportation, Dan Carsen has more from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM:

School Transpo Safety Pt 1 – Urban Trains

It’s no secret that kids trying to succeed in school face hurdles, some more than others. But for students in many of Birmingham’s urban neighborhoods, serious safety challenges involving massive moving machines start before they even get to school. In Part One of a three-part series on school transportation, Dan Carsen has more from the Southern Education Desk at WBHM:


At Alabama public high schools that first implemented the A+ College Ready Program in 2010-2011, A.P. exam pass rates increased by 111 percent. The pass rate for minority students increased even more. But how did that happen? Click here to read Dan Carsen’s web-exclusive report:


All Alabama public high, junior high, and middle schools now have defibrillators. So, in a state with tightening education budgets, how did this come about? Click here for education reporter Dan Carsen’s web-exclusvie story:


The Alabama State Department of Education has won a $1.3-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support the state’s improving Advanced Placement programs. And at least one reason for that improvement is controversial. Click here for education reporter Dan Carsen’s web-exclusive story:

Jones Valley Tutorial

Birmingham City Schools kitchen staff recently got a tutorial on nutrition and locally grown, sustainable food at Jones Valley Urban Farm. They picked herbs and vegetables and helped bury stereotypes in the process. Dan Carsen covered the event for WBHM and the Southern Education Desk. Click here for the web-exclusive first-person account:

Polluted Schools

[The EPA has named five prominent Birmingham firms liable for pollution in several North Birmingham Neighborhoods. The following is our award-winning story on the subject from two years ago:]
The Walter Coke plant in North Birmingham makes high-grade coke used in blast furnaces and foundries. But according to a class-action lawsuit, that’s not all it makes: property owners allege carcinogens from the plant have drastically lowered their property values. But for people living and going to school in this industrial area, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our Southern Education reporter Dan Carsen has more.

Teach For America in Alabama

The national service program Teach For America has been in Alabama for a full school year. As it gears up to send our state more than 50 new teachers, it makes sense to check on the group’s progress here. Dan Carsen, a former TFA teacher, asks around for the Southern Education Desk at WBHM.

Alabama’s New Immigration Law and Schools

Alabama’s new immigration law has been at the center of heated debate in the state, across the country, and beyond. Of many controversial provisions is one that requires schools to determine the immigration status of students, and in some cases, their parents. Some educators are uneasy with that new role. That’s to say nothing of the feelings of many immigrants, legal and otherwise.

Driver’s Education

If you’re over a certain age, there’s a good chance you took driver’s education in your high school. So why isn’t that true for today’s young drivers? From the Southern Education Desk at WBHM, Dan Carsen reports on a significant shift:

Boman interview

Alabama state representative Daniel Boman has done something rare: he has left the Republican Party to become a Democrat. The reasons, he says, are Republican stances on educational and other issues.

Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

In Alabama and other states, education budgets are being squeezed. Teachers and support staff are facing layoffs and cuts in benefits and supply money. Seen against that background, it’s not surprising that states are looking harder at a tricky but increasingly attractive source of funding. From the Southern Education Desk at WBHM, Dan Carsen has this report:

Lynch vs Alabama: Federal Case Literally Puts History on Trial

A tax-policy trial in federal court recently put more than a century of Alabama history on the stand. The plaintiffs allege the state’s property tax system and its effect on schools are direct outgrowths of the overt racism of the past.

Greg Mortenson Interview

Bestselling author and internationally recognized education advocate Greg Mortenson speaks with WBHM’s Dan Carsen about issues facing education in the South, including teacher pay and tenure.

The Parable of Grog and Zog

A national group representing atheists and agnostics is calling on the Birmingham City Council to stop beginning its weekly meetings with a prayer. The Freedom from Religion Foundation says the prayers are specifically protestant Christian in theme and they step over the church-state line. The debate has commentator Dan Carsen thinking about the Parable of Grog and Zog.

Pop Goes the Liberal

Hey, did you hear the one about the pro-gun-control northern liberal who walked into a gun shop and shooting range in Alabama? You’re about to.

Not Knowing Does Hurt: Dan Carsen on Science

What do Alvin the Chipmunk, pretzels, and the Internet have in common? Believe it or not, WBHM commentator Dan Carsen (who may soon become a dolphin) sees a disturbing pattern here.

Considering Faith: Dan Carsen’s Perspective

Moving to Alabama earlier this year was an adjustment for commentator Dan Carsen. And one of the bigger issues he’s had to tackle is religion.

Dan Carsen’s Bug Lesson

Sometimes instinct isn’t a good substitute for knowledge. Commentator and neophyte gardener Dan Carsen recently learned a lesson about biting the bug that feeds you.