Richmond: The Educational Struggle And How They’re Fixing It

Richmond’s students are lagging behind Virginia’s average on tests and graduation rates, but the city is trying to lessen the gap. According to the KIDS COUNT database, in the 2016-2017 school year 14.6 percent of students in Virginia were below the expected level for the PALS-K, which determines if a student’s readiness for kindergarten. In Richmond, 25 percent were below the expected level on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screen. In the same year, 80.2 percent of high school students graduated within four years while 91.3 percent of Virginia’s students did the same. The KIDS COUNT database also shows that in the 2015-2016 school year, Virginia had a passing rate of 76 percent on the third grade Reading SOL, or Standards of Learning, a mandatory test going over the material students have learned throughout the year.

Study: Gender Inequality Remains Rampant In Nation’s Newsrooms

Women had just 37 percent of the bylines at the 10 most circulated U.S. newspapers in 2015, while just 32 percent of those delivering the evening news at the major TV networks that year were women, according to a major study. Although 51 percent of the country’s population is female and, according to Nielsen Scarborough, women make up 54 percent of media consumers, gender inequality exists across the media landscape, said the Women’s Media Center in its 2015 report. This includes online and in wire services. “We can do better. And we must,” said Julie Burton, president of the women’s center, in comments on the group’s website.

Thousands Of Bodies Go Unclaimed Annually In the U.S.

The body of John Back, 67, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, spent 8 months in the chief state medical examiner’s morgue, even though he had a girlfriend and family who could have taken his remains. Back’s situation, as recounted by the Connecticut Post, is not unique. There are an estimated 40,000 unclaimed bodies nationally stored in morgues, sixwise.com reports. It is a situation that coroners and others fear could become worse because of the opioid epidemic and financial constraints on states trying to deal with growing numbers of unclaimed bodies. States ranging from Connecticut to California have been trying to find ways to deal with the financial and practical burdens of disposing of the unclaimed deceased residents, some of whom are homeless without anyone to take their remains or family members who don’t want to pay for them to be buried or cremated.

Deaths From Opioid Overdoses Soar In West Virginia

West Virginia had the highest rate of deaths for opioid drug overdoses in 2015, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. West Virginia’s rate was 41.5 per 100,000, followed by New Hampshire at 34.3; Kentucky at 29.9; Ohio at 29.9, and Rhode Island at 28.2. Connecticut’s rate was 22.1 per 100,000. “Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999,” the 2015 report from the CDC said.

Amusement Park Rides: Summer Fun With Some Risk Of Injury

This summer, millions of Americans are flocking to amusement parks, and more than 1,500 will likely leave with injuries. In 2015, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions reported from a survey from 154 parks that an estimated 1,508 people were injured, while 82 were seriously injured. From 2003 to 2015, the number of injuries fluctuated. The highest number of injuries were reported in 2003 at 1,954 injured, and the highest percentage of severe injuries out of all injured were reported in 2014 with 9.6 percent. The actual chance of being severely hurt at one of these parks are 1 in 16 million, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, making the chances of dying extremely rare.

UConn Students: University Encourages Victims To Report Sexual Assaults

From 2013 to 2015, the University of Connecticut reported having more sexual assaults in each year than the University of Massachusetts. UConn had a total of 104 reported sexual assaults from 2013 to 2015, compared to 42 at UMass, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Former and current UConn students interviewed said the number of reported sexual assaults is high, in part, because the university encourages sexual assault victims to come forward. “People look at the numbers as a bad thing when it isn’t,’’ said Julia Werth, a 2017 UConn graduate who served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Campus newspaper. “They should make it less intimidating” to report assaults.

UConn Men’s Basketball Team Earns Perfect Score

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team has dramatically increased its Academic Progress Rate (APR) over the past six years, surpassing the national average, according to the NCAA. The APR is the NCAA’s measure of eligibility, retention and graduation for Division I student-athletes. In 2012, because UConn had fallen below the required four-year rolling average of 930, a postseason suspension was imposed on the Huskies and they were forced to sit out the NCAA tournament. UConn, known for being so good on the court, was criticized for failing too often in the classroom, according to media reports. However, in the past few years, UConn’s men’s basketball APR has increased dramatically, and it recently earned a perfect APR score of 1,000, compared to the national average of 967, according to the NCAA.

Year-Round Schools Gaining Popularity Nationally

Traditionally, schools are in session nine months, but an increasing number of districts nationally have turned to year-round calendars to improve academics and better serve struggling students. Year-round schools have increased by about 26 percent since 2007, according to Niche.com. There are 3,181 year-round schools in the United States, according to the website. In the United States, 46 out of 50 states have at least one year-round school. Esther Fusco, a professor at Hofstra University’s School of Education, Health and Human Services, told the Associated Press in 2012 that overall, “research suggests that students in high-needs districts and those who have disabilities do better in year-round learning situations.

New Law Aims To Restrict Teen Marriages

Advocates were successful in their efforts to restrict teen marriages in Connecticut. But the work of Unchained At Last—a national organization fighting to end child marriage—isn’t done yet. The General Assembly approved a bill that prohibits teens 16 and under from getting married. But lawmakers opted to include a provision that permits 17-year-olds with parental consent to marry. The governor signed the bill, which takes effect Oct. 1.

High School Students Struggle With Obesity

As much of the nation struggles, successfully or unsuccessfully, with being obese or overweight, high school students in New York and Connecticut show both trends. Between 2011 and 2015, the rate of obesity among all high school students in New York jumped 2.1 percent, while the rate among Connecticut students during that period dropped 0.2 percent. The numbers are according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance System, and reported on The State of Obesity website. According to the CDC survey, 12.5 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 was classified as obese in 2011, dropping to 12.3 in 2015. The percentage of girls reported as obese increased during that period, however, from 8.4 percent to 9.3 percent.