Claudio Sanchez

Former elementary and middle school teacher Claudio Sanchez is the 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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6:17am

Sat October 13, 2012
Solve This

With Varied Approach, Candidates Push School Choice

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 12:41 pm

Despite some backlash from their political parties, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have made school choice a cornerstone of their efforts for education reform.
iStockphoto.com

The right to choose the school you want your child to attend has been the subject of court battles and bitter political debates. Still, both President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney have made school choice a cornerstone of their efforts to reform public education.

Romney says he wants to give every student trapped in a failing school the chance to attend a better school. He supports private-school vouchers in states where they're allowed, but his main focus is on creating more public-school choices.

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5:12pm

Thu October 11, 2012
Solve This

Obama, Romney On Higher Ed Help: Dueling Visions

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Gan Golan holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt during at a Occupy DC event last year.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Many Americans today feel like they've lost or are losing their shot at a college education because paying for it often seems out of reach. So how big of an issue is this in the presidential campaign?

Here's what President Obama has done to help families pay for college: He negotiated a deal with Congress this summer that kept the interest rate on government-backed Stafford loans from doubling for 7.5 million students.

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3:24am

Fri September 28, 2012
Education

Parsing Fact From Fiction In 'Won't Back Down'

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:19 am

Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) and Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) share a triumphant moment with Nona's son Cody (Dante Brown) and Jamie's daughter Malia (Emily Alyn Lind).
Kerry Hayes 20th Century Fox

Won't Back Down opens with a little girl's anguished face. It fills the entire screen. The camera hovers as she struggles to read a simple sentence on the blackboard out loud.

She's dyslexic. Not that anyone at Adams Elementary cares — least of all her second-grade teacher, who is berating or slapping kids around when she's not shopping for shoes online.

But if it was your kid who was struggling and nobody at school cared, what would you do? What could you do? That's how director Daniel Barnz hooks you.

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5:18am

Wed September 12, 2012
NPR Story

As Chicago Teachers Strike, Unions At A Crossroad

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:28 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

On the face of it, the teacher's strike in Chicago is about money, job security and how teachers are evaluated. But it's also about the political pressure on teachers' unions to make concessions that not long ago would've been unheard of. Teachers' collective bargaining rights these days have taken a backseat to bare-bones budgets and to claims that unions are an obstacle to efforts aimed at improving the quality of schools. As NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, all these elements have come together in Chicago.

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6:24am

Sun September 2, 2012
Around the Nation

From A Single Charter School, A Movement Grows

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 6:02 pm

City Academy in St. Paul, Minn., became the nation's first publicly funded, privately run charter school when it opened its doors in 1992. Its founders, all veteran public school teachers, had tried but failed to create new programs for struggling students in their own schools.

The school helped launch a movement that has since grown to 5,600 charter schools across the U.S. But back in the late 1980s, it faced strong resistance.

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Education

What's A Charter School If Not A Game Changer?

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

In less than 20 years, charter schools have grown to the point where more than 2 million students will be attending this fall. But not all of the schools are living up to expectations.
iStockphoto.com

The charter school movement is now at a crossroads. More than 2 million students will be enrolled in charter schools in the fall — a big number for a movement that's barely 20 years old. The publicly funded, privately run schools have spread so fast, they operate more like a parallel school system in some places.

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6:23pm

Mon August 27, 2012
All Tech Considered

Online University For All Balances Big Goals, Expensive Realities

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 6:54 pm

Students work at the University of the People student computer center in Haiti. Students from 129 countries are currently enrolled with the institution.
Courtesy of University of the People

Naylea Omayra Villanueva Sanchez, 22, lives on the edge of the Amazon rain forest in Tarapoto, northern Peru.

"Where I live, there's only jungle," Villanueva Sanchez says through an interpreter. "A university education is inaccessible."

And that's true in more ways than one. Villanueva Sanchez is in a wheelchair, the result of a motorcycle accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.

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3:51pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Education

Head Start To Absentee Dads: Please Come Back

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 8:01 pm

Rickie Knox (left) meets with Keith Young at New Haven's Head Start center. Knox comes here almost every day to be with his two grandchildren.
Sam Sanders NPR

It's a typical day at a Head Start center near downtown New Haven, Conn., and restless 3- and 4-year-olds squirm and bounce on a colorful shaggy rug vying for their teacher's attention. Down the hallway several women make their way to a parenting class, stopping to marvel at a 4-month-old baby.

What you don't see, says the center's Keith Young, is men, fathers.

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4:48am

Tue July 17, 2012
Business

Silicon Valley Firm To Help UVA Expand Online Courses

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:17 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we're here next about a new educational partnership with Silicon Valley. It's what the University of Virginia. You may recall last month, UVA's board of governors fired and then rehired President Teresa Sullivan. One reason some board members say they called for her ouster in the first place was that she had not moved quickly enough to expand the university's online courses. That has prompted new initiative being announced today, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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5:55am

Sat June 30, 2012
Education

Student Loan Deal Pales Against Other Education Cuts

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:26 pm

College students surrounded President Obama earlier this month when he called on Congress to stop student loan interest rates from doubling. Congress agreed on a deal to prevent the hike on Friday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

It came down to the wire, but finally, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a deal that keeps the interest rate on government-backed student loans from doubling. It will save the average borrower about $1,000 a year, but the compromise is likely to cost students a lot more than that over the long term.

The agreement that lawmakers passed Friday will keep interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. Anthony DeLaRosa, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, says it's a big victory.

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6:23am

Sat June 23, 2012
U.S.

What Title IX Didn't Change: Stigma About Shop Class

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 1:05 pm

Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, which said no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from any education program or activity. Vocational education courses that barred girls — such as auto mechanics, carpentry and plumbing — became available for everyone. But it's still hard to find girls in classes once viewed as "for boys only."

Zoe Shipley, 15, has a passion for cars and tinkering with engines.

"It's just kind of cool to learn how to fix a car or learn about it," she says.

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2:53am

Wed June 6, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

Grad Who Beat The Odds Asks, Why Not The Others?

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

Juan Carlos Reyes is studying for his master's degree. The son of poor Dominican parents, Reyes is convinced his success is an aberration and wonders about the kids from his neighborhood who were left behind.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Fewer than 5 percent of Americans had completed college when historian James Truslow Adams first coined the term "American dream" in 1931.

Today, many consider higher education the gateway to a better, richer and fuller life. But for many kids growing up in poverty, college might as well be Mars, and the American dream a myth.

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4:48am

Thu May 24, 2012
Education

Romney Declares National Education Emergency

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Mitt Romney laid out his education agenda on Wednesday. In a speech in Washington, he compared the American public education system to that of a third world country. But Romney's plan to deal with what he called a national education emergency does not appear to be a major departure from the policies that have been in place since 2001, under both Presidents Bush and Obama. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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5:48pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Education

Cal State Faculty On Strike Amid A 'Scary Future'

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:44 am

California Faculty Association Vice President Douglas Domingo-Foraste (right) helps Cal State, Long Beach, professor Mark Sugars vote last month on whether to authorize a strike. The strike was authorized Wednesday.
Damian Dovarganes AP

California State University, the nation's largest four-year, public university system, is in trouble. Wednesday, professors authorized a strike over working conditions and pay, and students began a hunger strike demanding a tuition freeze.

The faculty authorization allows for two-day strikes at each of the schools in system, one after the other. A strike date is pending, though, and will only take place if negotiations fail.

This unfolding crisis is the result of massive state cuts in funding that have pushed higher education in California to the breaking point.

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1:36am

Wed April 25, 2012
Education

Negotiating The College Funding Labyrinth

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 10:16 am

About 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college. Here, a Stanford University student walks through the campus in Palo Alto, Calif.
Paul Sakuma AP

Now that your child has gotten into college, have you figured out how much it's actually going to cost — and who's going to pay for it?

These questions are hitting college-bound students and their parents right about now, along with the other million questions that nobody seems to have straight answers for. Paying for college can be complicated, if not mind-boggling.

Roughly 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college, and for many, the process might as well be a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

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5:11pm

Mon April 9, 2012
The Salt

Now On The Menu For Hungry Kids: Supper At School

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Students at Garfield Elementary School eat dinner as part of an after-school program in Kansas City, Mo. In the past few years, a federally subsidized school dinner program has spread from six to all 50 states.
Charlie Riedel AP

Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.

"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."

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8:00am

Sat April 7, 2012
NPR Story

Embattled D.C. School District Has A New Vibe

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 12:16 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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2:44pm

Tue April 3, 2012
Education

Under Scrutiny, Some Head Start Programs In Limbo

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 11:05 pm

President Obama plays with children at a Head Start center in Yeadon, Pa. The Obama administration is requiring some Head Start programs to compete for continued federal funding.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration is calling for major changes in Head Start, the 46-year-old early childhood education program that helped launch President Johnson's War on Poverty.

President Obama says too many children today aren't learning, and too many education programs are mismanaged.

"We're not just going to put money into programs that don't work," the president announced late last year. "We will take money and put it into programs that do."

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4:11pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Education

Case Renews Focus On Race In College Admissions

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 8:39 pm

Students hoping for a repeal of California's ban on affirmative action in college admissions protest outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Feb. 13. The Supreme Court will decide an affirmative action case next fall that could affect college admissions policies across the country.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

College and university presidents are wringing their hands over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revisit the issue of affirmative action next fall. Critics of racial preferences are thrilled because the court could significantly restrict the use of race in admissions, but proponents of affirmative action say this would be a huge setback for institutions struggling to diversify their student body.

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5:30am

Sat February 18, 2012
Education

In Today's Economy, How Far Can A GED Take You?

In Cleveland, 2010 GED graduates from the Get On Track program parade down the aisle during their commencement. In today's economy, some experts say, the GED may not be enough to provide "gainful employment."
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Every year, roughly 750,000 high school dropouts try to improve their educational and employment prospects by taking the General Educational Development test, or GED, long considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The latest research, however, shows that people with GEDs are, in fact, no better off than dropouts when it comes to their chances of getting a good job.

This is raising lots of questions, especially in school districts with high dropout rates and rising GED enrollments.

A Second Chance, But Is It Enough?

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5:22pm

Fri January 27, 2012
Education

Higher Dropout Age May Not Lead To More Diplomas

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 6:19 pm

President Obama delivers the commencement address for Kalamazoo Central High School's class of 2007 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The state requires students to stay in school until they turn 18.
Charles Dharapak AP

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on every state to require students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. "When students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma," he said.

The White House cited studies that showed how raising the compulsory schooling age helps prevent kids from leaving school. And while some of that is true, some of it is also wishful thinking.

For New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Education Paul Leather, the president made the right call in his address.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Education

Texas Schools Grapple With Big Budget Cuts

What's known as Middle School No. 8 in Leander, Texas, was supposed to help relieve overcrowding in the rapidly growing community. But after significant statewide cuts to education, the district can't afford to open the school.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

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4:00am

Fri December 9, 2011
U.S.

Finals On Hold, Vigil Set After Va. Tech Shooting

Virginia Tech is quiet Friday morning after a gunman shot and killed a campus police officer and then killed himself Thursday afternoon. For hours the sprawling campus in Blacksburg, Va., relived the horror of a 2007 shooting that left 33 dead and raised troubling questions about the university's slow response to the tragedy.

10:59am

Tue November 29, 2011
Education

In Texas, Keeping Kids In School And Out Of Court

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 6:49 pm

Seventy students a day are sent to the Waco Alternative School Campus, after being "ticketed" for bad behavior in municipal court.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

The sort of offenses that might land a student in the principal's office in other states often send kids in Texas to court with misdemeanor charges. Some schools have started rethinking the way they punish students for bad behavior after watching many of them drop out or land in prison because of tough disciplinary policies.

In a downtown Houston municipal court, Judge David Fraga has presided over thousands of cases involving students "ticketed" by school police. His docket is still relatively small at the moment, with only 45 to 65 cases per night.

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10:30am

Fri October 21, 2011
2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.

In Miami, School Aims For 'Bi-Literate' Education

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 12:00 pm

At Coral Way Elementary School in Miami-Dade County, students take classes in Spanish in the morning, then switch to English in the afternoon.

Claudio Sanchez NPR

In the fall of 1963, in the throes of the Cold War, Coral Way Elementary took in the children of political refugees fleeing Fidel Castro's Cuba. The goal was not just to teach them English, but to make sure they remained fluent in Spanish and held on to their culture. Cuban-Americans thrived in Miami, and so did Coral Way's bilingual immersion model.

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3:00pm

Wed September 28, 2011
Education

Obama Delivers Back-To-School Speech

President Obama delivered his annual back-to-school speech at Benjamin Banneker High School, one of Washington, D.C.'s top performing schools.

8:31am

Sun July 31, 2011
Education

North Carolina Cuts Squeeze Education Programs

By now, all 50 states have passed their budgets and education spending is getting one of the hardest hits. In North Carolina, the cuts are so severe, Gov. Beverly Perdue warns "they will do generational damage" to public education.

Deep cuts in funding for education were inevitable in North Carolina for three basic reasons: The state is $2.5 billion in the hole, education takes up over half of the state budget, and there's a new Republican majority in the legislature.

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4:57am

Thu July 28, 2011
School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis

Why Dropout Data Can Be So Unreliable

Accurate dropout figures are very hard to find because most states don't adequately collect or analyze the data.

Part of the problem is that every state has had a different definition for dropout. In some states, for example, students who leave school aren't counted as having dropped out if they enroll in adult education classes like night school.

Many schools don't count kids as dropouts if they enroll in a GED program. The U.S. Department of Education says GED recipients should be counted as dropouts but that rule isn't uniformly applied.

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4:54am

Thu July 28, 2011
School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis

A High School Dropout's Midlife Hardships

Kenny Buchanan, 44, dropped out of school as a teenager. He lost his job when the economy collapsed.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Fifth in a five-part series

Today, the people who seem to be hurting the most in our sputtering economy are dropouts in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Despite their work experience, some can't even apply for a new job without proof that they completed high school. One man has thought a lot about his education and the decisions he made as a teenager.

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4:54am

Wed July 27, 2011
School's Out: America's Dropout Crisis

Despite Interventions, No-Show Students Drop Out

Danny Lamont Jones, 16 (right), missed nearly two years of school, and relies on Rose Street Shelter and Zion Hunter for support.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Fourth of a five-part series

In Baltimore, the vast majority of kids who never finish school drop out because of extreme poverty, homelessness and a drug epidemic that has left some neighborhoods desolate and dangerous.

In the toughest neighborhoods, kids miss lots of school days, and that puts them at risk of dropping out. Now, Baltimore's efforts are driven toward reaching these children early.

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