Carrie Jung

Carrie began reporting from New Mexico in 2011, following environmental news, education and Native American issues. She’s worked with NPR’s Morning Edition, PRI’s The World, National Native News, and The Takeaway.

Carrie graduated with a masters degree from Clemson University in 2009. 

On a recent weekday, Jaime Carillo and his son waited for the ride to school in their usual spot on the front porch of the family’s duplex. When classes first started, the two were spending a lot of time there; the van that takes his son to school was coming much later than its 7:28 a.m. scheduled arrival.

“During the first three weeks of school I had to start dropping him off myself because they would come here around 8 [a.m.],” explained Carillo. “[The school] said that because there weren’t enough drivers they had to pick kids up in two groups each morning.”

Ipswich resident Matthew Cullen said he knew he wanted to go to college since his early teens.

“My friends and brother and sister went off to college, and I said, ‘Why can’t I?’ ” Cullen told lawmakers in a recent public hearing for the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Higher Education.

Cullen has Down Syndrome. At first it didn’t seem like college would be in the cards for him. In Massachusetts, high school students typically must pass the state standardized test, called the MCAS, and get a regular high school diploma in order to enroll in higher education institutions.

Skyleigh D’Ambrosia, 17, loves learning about science. She’s taken pretty much every science class available at her high school in the western Massachusetts town of Athol.

“I want to be a doctor when I’m older,” she said. “So those are just kind of important classes.”

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Malden.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to phase out remote learning starting in April, making it possible for every student to return to the classroom before the school year ends.

About half of Massachusetts high school students said they’d prefer to learn in-person full-time, according to a Gallup poll commissioned by the Barr Foundation.

The poll of 1,000 Massachusetts high school students and the accompanying report released Tuesday also showed that 34% of 14-18 year olds preferred a hybrid learning model while 16% said they liked remote learning best.

It’s a snowy afternoon in early January and the carpool lane at the Bromfield High School in Harvard, Mass. is packed with cars. But the families inside aren’t here to drop off their kids. They’re here for COVID-19 tests.

“I’m going to just swab each side about four times around,” says a healthcare worker to 13-year-old Emma Squire and her 16-year-old sister, Molly. The two girls look straight ahead as they got the test.

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With just a few weeks before the new school year starts, tensions over how to restart classes are rising in many districts. Superintendents are often caught in the middle and many are feeling frustrated by state guidance that they say is coming too late.

The latest source of tension is the state’s “expectation” that educators show up in their classrooms, even if their students are all remote.

State education leaders released new guidance about how schools could reopen this fall.

Child care providers are facing some new requirements to reopen this summer. On Monday afternoon Gov. Baker released detailed guidelines about how child care can operate safely.

Massachusetts lawmakers are very close to a landmark increase in funding for the state’s public schools.

Hampshire College has been struggling financially for years. But officials like Luis Hernandez, chair of the school’s board of trustees, said things hit “crisis mode” in May 2018 when 77 fewer students enrolled than expected.

“We were really wondering: ‘How do we survive?’ ” he said.

Being down by that many students meant the school would have to do without about $3.4 million in tuition. That shortfall left a budget gap so wide that Hernandez said he and other college leaders weren’t sure if they’d be able to cover payroll through the next school year.

Part 1 in a series.

On April 6, 2018, students and staff at Mount Ida College got an email from President Barry Brown declaring that that spring semester would be the school’s last. The college had disclosed it was in a difficult financial spot, but the news came suddenly and with little public warning.

The Hampshire College Library Lawn in Amherst was a busy place Saturday morning. By 10 a.m. most of the school’s 295 graduates were lined up just outside a large white tent, getting ready for the ceremony.

“I’m scared. I’m sad. It’s bittersweet,” said astrophysics major Andy Cohn, who was putting the finishing touches on a bright blue graduation cap decorated with googly eyes in the shape of a galaxy.

Harvard University’s longtime dean of admissions defended the school in federal court on Monday as a contentious trial over racial considerations in the admissions process began.

Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the case, is arguing that there’s no explanation for the racial makeup of Harvard’s first-year classes, except for racial balancing, which the Supreme Court has said is unlawful.

Lawyers laid out their key arguments in opening statements.

In Kelly Stevens' kindergarten classroom, each day begins with circle time for what sounds like a menu of lesson options.

Students — or "friends" as Stevens calls them — can read at the green table, they can build boats or make things out of clay, among other options.

Students Marco Carias Castellanos and Holden Free chose a writing activity today. But there's no worksheet in front of them. Instead, they're standing in front of wolf statues they made out of blocks and their assignment is to write labels for body parts.