Eric Westervelt en Q&A: A Union Leader On Tenure, Testing And The Common Core The American Federation of Teachers <a href="">(AFT)</a> is holding its <a href="">annual convention</a> in Los Angeles through this weekend. For the AFT's more than 3,500 national delegates descending on LA, there is a lot on their plate and big challenges ahead for the nation's second-largest teachers union: <a href="">the Common Core</a>, tenure and fierce debate about testing, to name a few. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 64260 at From Calif. Teachers, More Nuanced Views On Tenure In the weeks since a California judge overturned the state's rules governing teacher tenure, the political noise has only grown louder. Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 64184 at Giving Boys A Bigger Emotional Toolbox <em>This story is part of the </em>"<a href="" target="_blank">Men In America</a>"<em> series on All Things Considered.</em><p>Is America's dominant "man up" ethos a hypermasculine cultural construct, a tenet rooted in biological gender difference or something in between?<p>Educator Ashanti Branch doesn't much care or, more accurately, doesn't have time to care.<p>He's too busy trying to make a difference in boys' lives.<p>Boys in American public schools are suspended from and drop out of school at higher rates than girls. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 63234 at A High School Band Where Everyone's Voice Can Be Heard <em>(This is Part 2 of a two-part report. Read the full piece <a href="">here</a>.)</em><p>On the surface, the PS 177 Technology Band looks like a typical high school orchestra. But there are two big differences. First, while they use traditional instruments, they also play iPads. And all of the band members have disabilities. Some have autism spectrum disorders.<p>"I'm Tobi Lakes. I'm 15 years old. I'm in ninth grade. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 20:36:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 62328 at iPads Allow Kids With Challenges To Play In High School Band Tablet computers and a creative teacher have helped open doors for some kids with serious learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. The P.S. 177 Technology Band is in Queens, N.Y. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit<img src=""/></div><p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:10:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 62292 at iPads Allow Kids With Challenges To Play In High School's Band There's a steady stream of hype surrounding the pluses and pitfalls of classroom tablet computers. But for a growing number of special education students tablets and their apps are proving transformative. The tablets aren't merely novel and fun. With guidance from creative teachers, they are helping to deepen engagement, communication, and creativity.<p>In a typical red brick public school building in the Fresh Meadows section of Queens, New York, one creative and passionate music instructor is using tablet computers to help reach students with disabilities. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:57:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 62285 at California Teacher Tenure Ruled Unconstitutional A California judge today ruled the state's laws governing teacher tenure and the firing of public school teachers unconstitutional, saying they interfere with the state's obligation to provide every child with access to a good education.<p>The plaintiffs in the case, <em>Vergara v. California</em>, argued that the tenure system for public school teachers in California verges on the absurd, and that those laws disproportionately harm poor and minority students. In his ruling, Judge Rolf M. Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:58:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 62252 at As More Speakers Get The Boot, Who's Left To Send Off Graduates? Graduation Season? Wed, 14 May 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 60722 at Struggling To Get Out Of Poverty: The 'Two Generation' Approach Policy makers and thinkers have long debated how best to help low-income families break the cycle of generational poverty. A lot of people think one key is high-quality early childhood education. Others say equally important is support parents with job training and education, to get them into stable, decent paying jobs.<p>In Tulsa, Okla., an experimental program is trying to do both. Tue, 29 Apr 2014 21:46:57 +0000 Eric Westervelt 59637 at In Tulsa, Combining Preschool With Help For Parents At preschools in Tulsa, Okla., teachers are well-educated and well-paid, and classrooms are focused on play, but are still challenging. One nonprofit in Tulsa, the Community Action Project, has flipped the script on preschool. The idea behind its Career Advance program is simple: To help kids, the group believes, you often have to help their parents.<p>The program combines Head Start for children with intensive training for their parents, designed to help them find well-paying jobs. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:23:00 +0000 Eric Westervelt 59153 at