Birmingham-- Each week, Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen sits down with WBHM's Tanya Ott for an interview on education in Alabama. These regular chats span topics as wide-ranging as the education beat itself. Weapons on campus, creationism in public schools ... nothing is off limits. Now, in addition to all Dan's work, all the Carsen-Ott interviews are available in the same place, right here:
| 2012-12-21 -- As we reported yesterday, about 17 million kids in the U.S. are in danger of malnutrition, which can trigger behavior problems and stunt brain development. Given the scope of the problem, the importance of subsidized school meals becomes clear ... but what happens to needy kids from Friday night through Monday morning? In his second story on student hunger, our Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen looks at one solution in Shelby County.
| 2012-11-30 -- Sometimes, poorly run disadvantaged schools defy the statistics and turn themselves around. Sometimes, they even achieve at a level so high they become national models for education in any neighborhood. In the conclusion of our series on "Turnaround Schools," Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen picks up the story of an elementary school that did just that. How did it happen? It wasnât easy, but persistence, teamwork, and a belief in the students is winning out.
| 2012-11-29 -- Imagine a school in a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood. It has discipline problems, a dismal reputation, and some of the worst test scores in Alabama. That was Mobile's George Hall Elementary in 2004. Now imagine an award-winning school known around the country for its innovative teaching and high student performance. That's George Hall Elementary now. So how'd it happen? In Part Four of our five-part series on "Turnaround Schools," WBHM's Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen takes us there to find out.
| 2012-10-09 -- The School Superintendents of Alabama is set to announce today the Superintendent of the Year, and embattled Birmingham schools chief Craig Witherspoon is among the nine people up for the honor. Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen tells Tanya Ott about that and a grade-changing scandal in Montgomery.
| 2012-07-10 -- We've had a short break from Birmingham Board of Education fireworks, but that doesn't mean that story or the Alabama education beat has slowed down at all. In this week's Edu-Chat, WBHM's Tanya Ott inverviews Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen on No Child Left Behind, the Education Trust Fund, local kids in China, and "meatless meetings."
| 2012-06-19 -- Clearly, just because school is out doesn't mean the education beat is slowing down. The question on many people's minds is, what's going on with Birmingham City Schools and the state? WBHM's Tanya Ott interviews Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen on that, tuition increases, "digital districts," and a grant meant to make cancer treatment more cost effective.
| 2012-06-12 -- A lot has been happening on the Alabama education beat since our last chat with Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen, but one story continues to dominate and make national news: the Birmingham School Board. A slim majority recently rejected a state cost-cutting proposal, but ironically, that defiant move could result in the board losing what little autonomy it has left. WBHM's Tanya Ott interviews Carsen on that subject and more.
| 2012-05-08 -- It's the final week of the legislative session and that means Alabama lawmakers are scrambling to pass several bills. One of them would tweak the immigration law by preventing school officials from asking students about their parent's immigration status. Still, the Justice Department is concerned about effects on Latino children. And that's just a little of what's happening on the education beat. Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen tells WBHM's Tanya Ott about that and more in this week's interview.
| 2012-04-17 -- Thereâs a lot happening on the education beat. The problems on the Birmingham Board of Education have risen to the level of national news, and educators worried about everything from charter schools to budget cuts are raising their concerns, loudly. Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen talks with WBHM's Tanya Ott about all this and more, starting with the big story: the drama surrounding the Birmingham Board of Education and the superintendent whom five of them tried to fire.
| 2012-04-10 -- These are interesting times for Birmingham City Schools. Standardized testing is underway just as thereâs a standoff over the future of superintendent Craig Witherspoon. The Board of Education could vote this afternoon to terminate his contract. Check the station website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for the latest developments. Thereâs been some drama on the state and national levels too, with a congressional committee looking into the Alabama Education Association. WBHMâs Tanya Ott interviews reporter Dan Carsen on that and more in this weekâs education chat.
| 2012-04-03 -- Carsen & Ott Talk Explosions and Explosive Issues Several Alabama school communities are reeling after incidents last week shook things up. E.P.I.C. Elementary School in Birmingham had to be evacuated Friday after a propane tank exploded. No one was hurt, but down in Mobile County, a teacher was taken to the hospital after an incident with a student. Nice, tame topics like charter-school propaganda, same-sex prom dates, and Louis Farrakhan round out this week's interview, which ends on a positive note.
| 2012-03-27 -- Is the state legislature pitting business incentives against school funding? And why are some Republicans balking at the charter school bill? At least a situation that's literally toxic -- the mercury spill at Putnam Middle in Birmingham -- has been cleaned up.
| 2012-03-13 -- This week's chat touches on the positive, the negative, and the in-between, or at least the in the eye of the beholder: politics once again makes an appearance.
| 2012-03-06 -- Severe thunderstorms, hail, and multiple tornadoes raked Alabama last week. Were any schools hit? And are there figurative storms on the horizon for the state's Education Trust Fund? In this fifth installment of a weekly series, WBHM's Tanya Ott starts the interview by asking about storm damage and an incredible recovery. The education budget may not be so lucky.
| 2012-02-28 -- Alabama legislators have their hands full with a variety of education bills at various stages of development, including ones that would authorize charter schools and offer credit for creationism classes for public high-schoolers. But for this weekâs chat with Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen, we move outside of Montgomery for some interesting education news. Carsen tells WBHMâs Tanya Ott that some of it is positive, some of it not â beginning right here in Birmingham.
| 2012-02-21 -- When it comes to education in Alabama, it's safe to say there's enough going on to keep a journalist busy. In our third installment of a new weekly series, Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen sits down with WBHM News Director Tanya Ott to break down some of it. The interview starts with a recap of recent reports on religion in public schools.
| 2012-02-14 -- Itâs week two of the 2012 legislative session in Alabama and job creation and budget shortfalls continue to take center stage. Officials predict a budget gap in the many hundreds of millions of dollars â meaning cutbacks, possible layoffs, and other belt-tightening measures. WBHMâs Dan Carsen of the Southern Education Desk tells Tanya Ott that the budget crisis in non-education departments could pit the Education Trust Fund against everything else.
| 2012-02-07 -- When lawmakers returned to Montgomery for the beginning of the 2012 legislative session, they had a lot of meaty issues to deal with, from tweaks to the state's immigration law to a potential $400 million budget shortfall. They're also tackling several education reform initiatives, and as the Southern Education Desk's Dan Carsen told WBHM's Tanya Ott, this year looks to be a lot like last year, with plenty of controversial issues on the table.