Proving Preschool with Performance

Pre-Kindergarten education is a hot topic right now. In his State of the Union address, President Obama made it a priority. But critics say the research just doesn’t support long-term gains from Pre-K. Today, we launch a series examining the value of Pre-K .

Nashville Works to Balance School Improvement and Diversity

This week we’ve been visiting schools across the south where student populations have increasingly resegregated. In the final installment in our series, we go to Nashville, where public school officials are finding it a challenge to balance school improvement plans with a desire for racial diversity.

Segregated Schools Fact of Life

New research shows southern schools are increasingly resegregating. In one town in Mississippi the black students attend one high school and the white students attend another. It was a conscious decision that’s spurred a lot of debate about the concept of separate but equal.

Alabama Versus The Volcano

Climate change is forcing some Alabamians to consider a move. Coastal areas and islands like Dauphin are losing land as the sea rises, flooding is more frequent, and hurricanes could be more dangerous than ever. But for one couple, natural disasters are no deterrent. They’ve left the Yellow Hammer state for a new life in one of the riskiest places on earth.

Southern Schools Mix MLK and Robert E. Lee

Schools around the country are closed today in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But schools in the Deep South are also observing the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi all officially roll the holidays together and leave it to schools to communicate the confusing marriage to students.

Turnaround Schools: Mississippi

Failing schools can flounder for years. But occasionally, a school will buck the trend and turn things around. Case in point: in Mississippi, a former failing magnet school has made the biggest gains in test scores of any school in the state.

Turnaround Schools: Tennessee

This week we’re running a special series on Turnaround Schools: failing schools that have managed to pull themselves back from the edge and thrive. Statistics show the odds are stacked heavily against them. Today, we have the story on one Tennessee school that climbed from the state’s failing list to a Top Ten list, only to be set back by a violent attack.

Turnaround Schools: Georgia

This week, we’re taking a focused look at failing schools that have managed to turn things around. We wanted to find out what goes into successfully turning around failing schools.

Southern States Lag Behind in Women’s Sports

This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IV, the federal legislation that dramatically increased opportunities for women to play sports at the high school and college levels. But a new report finds that Alabama and other Southern states still lag behind.

School Takeover and Controversy in Educational Television

The Birmingham Board of Education has until tomorrow to submit its list of people it’s going to lay off as part of the $12 million cost cutting plan and more Alabama Educational Television Foundation members quit to protest changes at Alabama Public Television.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Treat Depression

One in ten Americans suffers from depression. All of us probably know someone who’s living with the condition. Anti-depressants work for some, but many find it difficult to keep their depression at bay with just medicines. Could magnets offer relief?

Training School Principals

Research says the role of the principal is changing. They’re not just managers: they are instructional leaders. And as the expectations of principals change and grow, so too does the process of training them.

Good Teaching: Middle School Teacher of the Year

Teachers have long debated the best way to get students to absorb lessons. Whether it’s learning ABCs or trigonometry, there is no definitive answer on the best way to engage students. The Southern Education Desk asked a well-regarded Louisiana educator to talk about what works for him.

Good Teaching: May The Force Be With You

Inner city schools are tough places. In Jackson, Mississippi, only half of the kids make it out with a diploma, and far fewer leave ready for college work. But on occasion, a teacher can nurture a science scholar or even get a whole class to geek-out on grammar. In part four of our Southern Education Desk series, Good Teaching, Annie Gilbertson profiles a young teacher struggling, and sometimes succeeding, to share his love for Latin.

Good Teaching: High Schoolers Learn to Be Good Teachers

Studies estimate that a third of novice teachers quit in the first five years. Many say their training didn’t prepare them for the classroom. In Rome, Georgia, a program for high school students who aspire to be teachers is exposing them to the rigors of leading a class full of students now, even before they enroll in a college education program.

Good Teaching: A Reporter Returns to School

Every parent wants a good teacher for their child, and across the South, states are creating policies to make that happen. The Southern Education Desk’s Christine Jessel travels back in time for a personal look at the question at the heart of these controversial evaluations: What does a good teacher look like?

Adventure the Great Brings the Show to Birmingham

Starting a band is a time-honored tradition in college towns. And there’s a new band from Auburn that’s starting to get some attention. The Southern Public Media Group’s Kelly Walker spent some time with them and has this profile.

Bike Sharing in Alabama

Birmingham often finds itself at back of the pack when it comes to friendliness to cyclists. In fact, Bicycling magazine named Birmingham as one of the worst cities for cycling in the country in 2010. But a new pair of so-called “bike sharing” programs are trying to encourage residents to hit the streets on two wheels. WBHM intern Dannial Budhwani reports.

Sam Frazier

The Blues run through the blood of Birmingham musician Sam Frazier Jr. He grew up in Edgewater, the son a coal miner who brought home stories that would eventually inspire Frazier’s songwriting. His family would host local barbeques and shows at his mom’s house. Performing next to big name artists such as Howl’n Wolf and Jimmy Reed was a typical thing in Frazier’s life. Frazier’s latest album is The Long Lonesome Blues.

Tragic City Rollers

You’re probably familiar with the Blazers and the Barons. But have you heard of the Tragic City Rollers? If not, you’re missing out on another home team to root for.

A Healthy Novella

The typical Spanish novella drips with passion, love, and jealousy. It usually doesn’t explain how to manage diabetes or stop smoking. But a Birmingham-based radio project is trying to do just that. WBHM intern Clare Gamlin explains how this broadcast is teaching new Alabamians health information they might not otherwise hear.

Birmingham Bus Cuts

The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority’s motto is “We’ll get you there.” But they might not be able to due to a lack of funding.

Hunger Hits A New Target

The USDA reports that in 2010 more than 17 million households in America had difficulty providing enough food due to lack of resources. The problem is hitting one group of people that haven’t traditionally had to worry about it before.

Gulf Economy Rebounds

Quarterly revenue reports show spending along the Alabama Gulf Coast is up significantly over previous record years. Although the BP oil spill is not forgotten, tourists are back.That’s good news for the coastal businesses, but state officials note this doesn’t mean BP is off the hook.

C-FISH Program Aims to Help Charter Boats Rebound

Salt water fishing is a $226 million a year business in Alabama. But the industry took a serious blow after last year’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill. As the 2011 fishing season kicks off this month, many charter boat captains aren’t sure how they’ll fare. Some of them are pinning their hopes on a new educational program called C-Fish.

John Davis Treks East for Wildlife Conservation

There’s nothing more enjoyable than a walk in the park, but what about a walk through several parks? Or better yet, what about a walk through several states? Not many people would take on such a long on a trek, but that’s exactly what one man is doing.

Holy Family Cristo Rey School

The dropout rate in Birmingham city schools is nearly three times the state average, leading some parents to consider more costly alternatives to public education. One school in Birmingham is making the option available to families that otherwise couldn’t afford a private education.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Gulf Fish Numbers Up

Since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, marine scientists have come upon a surprising finding: more fish. Researchers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab report dramatic increases in some species. But the seafood industry is responding to the news with a wave of skepticism.

Alabama and the Oil Spill: Bayou la Batre

It’s hard to put a number on the economic losses the Gulf region has experienced since the B-P oil spill. But it’s clear that communities along the coast are hurting. The tiny Alabama fishing town of Bayou la Batre was still recovering from hurricanes Katrina and Ivan when the oil spill sent it into another tailspin. For many residents there just isn’t enough money for basics, even food.

Polling Place Confusion

There are long lines at polling places across the state, but one of the most frustrating is in Homewood, where voters mix with people just trying to renew their vehicle tags.

Southern Transplants Enjoy Football Above the Mason-Dixon Line

Auburn and Alabama football fans love their teams. But what happens if you move out of the South to somewhere there aren’t huge stadiums to watch the game? And instead of a Quad for tailgating, there’s only asphalt? It turns out, you start a fan-base of your own.

Birmingham-Southern’s Interim President

One week ago today, David Pollick stepped down as President of Birmingham-Southern College. Trustees named Mark Schantz as the school’s Interim President.