Eye on Education

Amy Hansen

Broadcast Reporter

Amy Hansen is an education reporter/producer for StateImpact Ohio. Amy previously was an enterprise reporter for The Beaver County Times in Western Pennsylvania, where she covered in-depth community issues such as hunger and homelessness. Amy has also worked for WGBH’s FRONTLINE and The Boston Herald. The Pittsburgh native holds an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College, where she was the 2013 Journalism Graduate Student of the Year, along with a B.A. in Mass Media Communications from The University of Akron.

  • Email: amy.hansen@ideastream.org
  • Twitter: @_AmyHansen

Apprenticeships Gain Renewed Attention

A piece of machinery at Bluffton's Grob Systems.

Amy Hansen / StateImpact

A piece of machinery at Bluffton's Grob Systems.

On the shop floor at Grob Systems in Bluffton, Alex Shaw tells me there’s one thing he loves to do.

“Farm,” he said. “If I’m not here, I’m on the farm.”

But on this recent morning, the soft spoken 20-year-old is operating a CNC machine–CNC stands for “computer numerical control.

Over the shop’s constant low hum, he said  he loves farming so much that he really wanted to go to college to study agricultural business.  But the thought of taking out loans to pay for college made him nervous, so instead, he went a different route, and entered Grob’s apprenticeship program.

“College is good, but it’s also not for everyone,” Shaw said. “Especially a four year college. You can walk out of a four year college and not find a job, and here you’re not in debt, and you have a job.”

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Jim Tressel Lands A Spot on The University of Akron’s List of Presidential Finalists

u of a reynolds james e


The University of Akron has narrowed their presidential search candidates down to three– and there’s a familiar name on the list.

Jim Tressel, the campus’ current executive vice president for student success and former Ohio State football coach, is one of the finalists.

Akron’s top potential candidates also include Ronald Nykiel, The University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, along with Scott Scarborough, current provost and executive vice president at The University of Toledo.

Within the next two weeks, each candidate will spend a day on campus interviewing with administrators, trustees, faculty, and students.

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Does Parental Involvement Really Make A Difference?

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It’s a relatively common belief: the more involved a parent is with their student’s education, the better they’ll perform in school, right?

Well, new research says maybe not.

Researchers Angel Harris and Keith Robinson say that parental involvement, defined by things like parents helping students with homework or volunteering at schools, may be overrated.

The team studied data from thousands of families over three decades to reach their findings, which were published in a book late last year.

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Is Parental Involvement Overrated?

After analyzing American family data, two college professors are going against a popular educational viewpoint: they say that parental involvement is overrated.

“There were more instances in which children had higher levels of achievement when their parents were less involved than there were among those whose parents were more involved,” Keith Robinson and Angel Harris wrote in a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times.

For more on the topic, tune in to WCPN’s daily-call in show The Sound of Ideas at 9 a.m. Monday.

Most people, asked whether parental involvement benefits children academically, would say, “of course it does.” But evidence from our research suggests otherwise. In fact, most forms of parental involvement, like observing a child’s class, contacting a school about a child’s behavior, helping to decide a child’s high school courses, or helping a child with homework, do not improve student achievement.

Read more at: opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

The SAT’s Getting a Facelift

Do you know how to convert American dollars to Indian rupees? What about analyzing a political survey? If you (or your children) are taking the SAT in 2106, those may be some of the questions you see on the new, updated version of the college-entrance test, the Associate Press reports.

Anxious students – not to mention their parents – can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years. Sample questions for the new version of the college-entrance test were released on Wednesday by the College Board, which announced last month that the new test will include real-world applications and require more analysis.

Read more at: www.npr.org

Today’s Role of Collegiate Student-Athletes



Recently, Northwestern University’s football players began to explore options that would allow them to unionize, and someday maybe even earn a paycheck.

“A lot of people will think this is all about money; it’s not,” former Northwestern football player Kain Colter told the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.  “We’re asking for a seat at the table to get our voice heard.”

But the discussions surrounding student-athletes aren’t just about unions or money. There’s another issue at play — questioning if universities are doing enough academically to prepare their athletes for life after graduation.

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College of Wooster Sticks with a High-Tuition, High-Aid Model

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it– well, that’s the thought at the College of Wooster. The private college is sticking with their model of charging each student a hefty amount of tuition, but also providing them with a chunk of financial aid.

Running a tuition-dependent liberal-arts college isn’t easy these days. And the College of Wooster must compete in a crowded market, without a marquee name. Even so, its leaders are sticking with a contested pricing model-and choosing not to pursue other strategies that might make that commitment easier to keep.

Read more at: chronicle.com

Cleveland’s Schools Will Get An Extra $15 Million to Help with Budget Cuts

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland schools will have their budgets cut by $5.2 million next year, instead of the $21 million the district and teachers had predicted in February. The district announced Wednesday that the administration can give schools $15 million more than planned, reducing cuts that had sparked a protest to the school board and confusion across the city.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

The Sound of Ideas: Common Core Update

appleOhio’s almost at a full, statewide launch of the Common Core, a new set of learning expectations for what K-12 should know in math and English.

Beginning in fall 2014, new standardized tests will roll out that are aligned to the new set of standards.

But there’s still some contention, apprehension, and competing ideas about the Common Core– in fact, Indiana officially put their implementation of Common Core  on pause last month.

Earlier today, WCPN’s daily call-in talk show The Sound of Ideas took a deeper look at where Ohio is currently standing on the Common Core.

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Democrats Ask for Annual State Audits for Charter Schools

Two Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday they plan to introduce legislation to increase transparency of how charter schools spend tax dollars. Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman and Rep. John Patrick Carney of Columbus said their bills will call for annual audits of every charter school operator and sponsor and that they comply with public records laws other public schools follow.

Read more at: www.cleveland.com

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