Claudio Sanchez

Former elementary and middle school teacher Claudio Sanchez is an Education Correspondent for NPR. He focuses on the "three p's" of education reform: politics, policy and pedagogy. Sanchez's reports air regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Sanchez joined NPR in 1989, after serving for a year as executive producer for the El Paso, Texas, based Latin American News Service, a daily national radio news service covering Latin America and the U.S.- Mexico border.

From 1984 to 1988, Sanchez was news and public affairs director at KXCR-FM in El Paso. During this time, he contributed reports and features to NPR's news programs.

In 2008, Sanchez won First Prize in the Education Writers Association's National Awards for Education Reporting, for his series "The Student Loan Crisis." He was named as a Class of 2007 Fellow by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. In 1985, Sanchez received one of broadcasting's top honors, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, for a series he co-produced, "Sanctuary: The New Underground Railroad." In addition, he has won the Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Best Spot News, the El Paso Press Club Award for Best Investigative Reporting, and was recognized for outstanding local news coverage by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sanchez is a native of Nogales, Mexico, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University, with post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

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The Obama administration today reissued guidelines for America's schools. The goal is to keep states from turning away children who cannot prove that they are in the U.S. legally. A 1982 Supreme Court ruling allowed undocumented students free access to a public education. But even today, some school districts haven't gotten the message.

NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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Flat, stagnant, static, those are words that the U.S. Department of Education has used to describe the latest reading and math scores for the nation's 12th graders.

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If you're a high school student or you have one at home, then you know it's testing season. America's teenagers spend countless hours taking standardized state and district tests, not to mention the alphabet soup of SAT, ACT, AP, and the list goes on.

Many educators say quality early childhood education programs give young children a strong foundation for kindergarten and beyond.

But what does a high-quality preschool program look like? Early childhood education researchers point to Tulsa, Okla., as a school system that gets it right. NPR's education team went to Tulsa to find out what help sets the city's preschool program apart. You can read more about what they found — and visit a Tulsa preschool classroom, here.

For years, President Obama has been a vocal booster of early childhood education. In his past two State of the Union addresses, he has called on Congress to help fund preschool for every child in the country.

"Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education," Obama told Congress in January.

The federal government spends almost $8 billion on preschool programs across the country, mostly on low income 4-year-olds. States spend billions more. But with at least 30 states planning to expand access to pre-K and President Obama promoting "preschool for all," what constitutes a quality preschool program?

Mike Neal gets annoyed when he talks about politicians in his state. Just three years ago, when the Common Core State Standards for education were implemented, no one had a problem with them, says Neal, president of the Tulsa, Okla., Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"It's been a really frustrating situation to the business community in Oklahoma in that we've all been on the same page, from the governor, the House, the Senate, school board members," Neal says. "They've all been behind this."

Now, things are different.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. Black students in America's public schools are expelled at three times the rate of white students. That's according to a sweeping new report out today from the U.S. Department of Education. The survey of all of the nation's 97,000 public schools found widespread racial disparities in how kids are punished, beginning as early as preschool.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. The University of Maryland, College Park has claimed the title Best School for Hackers. They have got the trophy to prove it. Maryland beat heavyweights like MIT, Stanford, Michigan and Carnegie Mellon and they did it by sending the most students to five hackathons last year. They placed first in two of them.

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If you want to get an earful about paying for college, listen to parents from states where tuition and fees have skyrocketed in the last five years. In Arizona, for example, parents have seen a 77 percent increase in costs. In Georgia, it's 75 percent, and in Washington state, 70 percent.

Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don't start school until age 7.

Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments.

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The College Board made a big announcement yesterday; it is overhauling the SAT. This is the second major revision of the widely used college entrance exam in nine years. Changes to the test will affect over a million college-bound high school students.

And as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, parts of the new SAT are going to be quite different.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: David Coleman, president of the College Board, which administers the SAT, says the biggest change will be obvious.

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The nation's largest teachers union is calling for a delay in the adoption of the Common Core. That's the name of new math and language arts standards that are supposed to be in place next fall in 45 states. The 3 million-member National Education Association has been a strong supporter. But as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, the NEA now says teachers and students haven't had enough time to prepare.

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Staying with the topic of computers and schools, NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports on a recent survey that found parents may have reason to worry about how schools are protecting student's personal data.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: The survey was conducted by Common Sense Media, which focuses on kids and media issues. Its key finding: Six in 10 parents don't know that schools let private companies store personal data about their children, their grades, their disciplinary behavior, their health records, even what they eat in the cafeteria.

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Community college leaders are in Washington this week, pushing for a bigger role in getting more people to enroll in two-year schools. They're also pushing the job training that business and industry say they desperately need.

Still, community colleges are significantly underfunded. And as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, it's unclear whether these schools can open their doors to more people or offer programs that are likely to cost a lot more.

When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don't readily come to mind. But many say that's what they are these days.

Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.

President Obama is expected to propose an expansion of preschool programs in his State of the Union Address. Most states have bought into the idea and restored funding for the programs. What's less clear is where the long-term funding is going to come from, and whether the quality of these programs are worth the investment.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met today with over 140 college presidents at the White House. Also present at the event, were dozens of organizations committed to raising the number of low-income students who attend college.

No more than half of low-income high school graduates apply to college, so the President has asked the first lady to spearhead a national effort to encourage colleges — the more selective ones, in particular — to admit and graduate more students who are poor.

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The Obama administration says schools need to rethink their disciplinary policies because they're doing more harm than good. To deal with serious offenses like physical assaults or drug possession, many states and school districts developed zero tolerance policies. But the administration says those policies were being applied too often, even for small offenses. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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Ten years after education researchers began focusing on big city school systems and monitoring their math and reading scores, there's good news to report. Today, fourth and eighth graders in many of the nation's largest cities have made impressive gains. Surprisingly, school systems with large numbers of low income children have exceeded the national average in both subjects .

Kyrah Whatley, 17, is a bright student with pretty good grades. But the thought of spending two to four more years in a college classroom is depressing, she says.

Masonry, on the other hand, intrigues her. "I'm a kinesthetic learner. ... I learn with my hands," she says.

That's why Kyrah is thinking of joining the Navy as a certified mason right after she graduates from Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio.

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Ever since the Year 2000, 15-year-olds from around the world have taken a test every three years to gauge their reading, math and science skills. It's called PISA, short for Program for International Student Assessment.

And as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, the results of the U.S. are being described as sobering.

This is the first in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Sharron Snyder and Othella Stanback, both seniors at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High, will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. This, their final year, was supposed to be memorable. Instead, these teenagers say they feel cheated.

"We're fed up with the budget cuts and everything. Like, this year, my school is like really overcrowded. We don't even have lockers because it's, like, too many students," Sharron says.

Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.

The College Board, sponsor of the SAT, says latest scores show that roughly 6 in 10 college-bound high school students who took the test were so lacking in their reading, writing and math skills, they were unprepared for college-level work.

The College Board is calling for big changes to better prepare students for college and career.

Stagnant Scores

Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the first-ever national academic standards for students. But opposition is growing, and some lawmakers are having second thoughts about their states' support.

Meanwhile, proponents of the standards are still struggling to explain the initiative to parents, many of whom say they've never even heard of Common Core.

Looking For Direction

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