EDUCATION

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
Coralie Mercier / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/koalie

Students at the high school in South Hadley, Massachusetts, have embarked upon a letter-writing campaign to convince state legislators to pass bills that would increase public school funding.

When it comes to philanthropic giving to public schools, the hype is always big. Like when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oprah Winfrey’s show that he was giving $100 million to Newark, New Jersey, schools.

But the results don’t always live up to the hype. 

It’s hard for rural schools in Massachusetts to get kids to and from class every day — especially now, in muddy season, when the snow has melted and the rain begins.

“This is mud and ruts and a mess,” says bus driver Joanne Deady as she points to the narrow, unpaved road on her route from Colrain Central School in northwestern Massachusetts.

It’s just after the school day and she’s about halfway through her route. Standing between her and the next drop-off is a big patch of what she calls “greasy mud” — the kind her bus can easily get stuck in if it’s deep enough.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio and his wife Barbara are making a $100 million donation to Connecticut Public Schools. It’s part of what the state hopes will be a $300 million public private partnership. 

Students wait to start a new sensory walk at the H.B. Lawrence School in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

A Holyoke, Massachusetts, public school has something new to help students learn. It's not on a chalkboard or in a book. It's on the floor.

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