Larry Abramson

Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to his current role, Abramson was NPR's Education Correspondent covering a wide variety of issues related to education, from federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. His reporting focused on the impact of for-profit colleges and universities, and on the role of technology in the classroom. He made a number of trips to New Orleans to chart the progress of school reform there since Hurricane Katrina. Abramson also covers a variety of news stories beyond the education beat.

In 2006, Abramson returned to the education beat after spending nine years covering national security and technology issues for NPR. Since 9/11, Abramson has covered telecommunications regulation, computer privacy, legal issues in cyberspace, and legal issues related to the war on terrorism.

During the late 1990s, Abramson was involved in several special projects related to education. He followed the efforts of a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, to include severely disabled students in regular classroom settings. He joined the National Desk reporting staff in 1997.

For seven years prior to his position as a reporter on the National Desk, Abramson was senior editor for NPR's National Desk. His department was responsible for approximately 25 staff reporters across the United States, five editors in Washington, and news bureaus in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The National Desk also coordinated domestic news coverage with news departments at many of NPR's member stations. The desk doubled in size during Abramson's tenure. He oversaw the development of specialized beats in general business, high-technology, workplace issues, small business, education, and criminal justice.

Abramson joined NPR in 1985 as a production assistant with Morning Edition. He moved to the National Desk, where he served for two years as Western editor. From there, he became the deputy science editor with NPR's Science Unit, where he helped win a duPont-Columbia Award as editor of a special series on Black Americans and AIDS.

Prior to his work at NPR, Abramson was a freelance reporter in San Francisco and worked with Voice of America in California and in Washington, D.C.

He has a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Abramson also studied overseas at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

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10:30pm

Wed November 2, 2011
Education

College Students' Borrowing Hits An All-Time High

College students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year, according to new data. In this photo from last December, a student fills out an application for a chance to win a scholarship worth $30,000, at a Cash for College event organized by the California Student Aid Commission.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Students are borrowing more money to pay for college than ever before. New data shows that students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year. And education debt is expect to grow in the coming years, as students struggle to pay higher tuition costs.

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12:34pm

Wed October 19, 2011
Education

Why Is College So Expensive?

Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 4:16 pm

Sproul Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley. Tuition at U.C. Berkeley was about $700 a year in the 1970s. Today, families pay over $15,000 per year to attend.

Eric Risberg AP

Many of the protesters occupying Wall Street and other places say they are upset about the rising price of going to college. Tuition and other costs have been going up faster than inflation, and family incomes can't keep up. Despite public outrage about the problem, there's little sign these costs will drop anytime soon.

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12:55pm

Tue October 11, 2011
Education

No Child Left Behind Waivers Worry Some Advocates

Originally published on Tue October 11, 2011 5:02 pm

Mill Creek Middle School Principal Rebecca Bowen says her school is "by no way, shape or form a failing school." But it is according to federal and state standards because its low-income, special education students were about 10 points behind the goals set on standardized tests.

Larry Abramson NPR

The Obama administration wants states to focus more of their attention on the lowest-performing schools, where large numbers of students are failing state tests year after year.

So the Department of Education is inviting all states to apply for waivers from the No Child Left Behind law.

The waivers could win relief for schools where a small number of students are falling short of federal requirements.

But advocates for minority and special education students worry their students will be ignored.

The 'Failing School' Stigma

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2:00am

Wed October 5, 2011
Education

Thieves Scam Aid From Online Education Sites

The Department of Education says that as distance learning has grown so has fraud. An inspector general's report found that scam artists are taking advantage of the popularity of online education to steal federal education money.

3:22pm

Thu September 22, 2011
Education

Too Much GI Bill Money Going To For-Profit Schools?

The nation's for-profit colleges and universities have reaped a windfall from the new post-Sept. 11 GI bill.

The top for-profit companies brought in around a billion dollars in benefits in the last year alone.

Some lawmakers say federal regulations encourage these schools to target current and former members of the military.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, lawmakers and witnesses praised the two-year post-Sept.11 GI bill, saying it had helped many vets and active-duty service personnel go to college.

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2:38am

Thu September 15, 2011
Education

Md. Teachers Must Promote Environmental Literacy

The start of a new school year in Maryland brings a new requirement: All schools in the state must develop plans to promote environmental literacy. The new requirement is creating some challenges for teachers. The goal is to integrate environmental concerns into science, social studies and other topics.

11:44am

Mon September 12, 2011
All Tech Considered

Comcast Offers A Digital Lifeline To The Disconnected

Comcast has started offering Internet access for $9.95 per month for low-income families, in addition to an optional voucher to let families buy a computer for $150.
iStockphoto.com

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, has launched a new program aimed at reducing the digital divide, or the gap between high- and low-income communities in Internet accessibility and digital literacy.

The company says low-income families will now be able to get a fast Internet connection for $9.95 per month; the question now is whether the effort can overcome the many barriers that keep the poor from getting online.

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9:20am

Tue August 30, 2011
Education

Former GM Exec Hopes To Kick-Start Detroit Schools

Originally published on Tue August 30, 2011 8:31 pm

Roy Roberts, emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools, speaks at Amelia Earhart Elementary-Middle School. Roberts, a former General Motors executive, came out of retirement to try to fix the school system.
Larry Abramson NPR

If there were an award for the "most challenged" school district in the United States, the Detroit public school system would have good reason to claim the title.

The system is wrestling with crumbling buildings, low achievement and a decline in enrollment that just won't stop. But this year, the system has added some new faces and plans to the mix in an attempt to revive it.

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2:15pm

Mon August 29, 2011
U.S.

Irene Disrupts Power, Commutes, Travel Plans

Irene knocked out power to millions and threatened transportation systems up and down the east coast. The restoration of most subway and bus lines in New York City helped avoid the commuting nightmare that some had feared, but the storm will leave many without power for days.

Hurricane Irene caused havoc for many rail lines, forcing crews to face a maze of downed trees and branches on the tracks and restoring power to some lines.

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5:19am

Sun August 28, 2011
Education

States Search For Answers To Cheating Scandals

Originally published on Sun August 28, 2011 6:28 pm

Students leave Atlanta's Emma Hutchinson School in July. Hutchinson is a year-round school that has been identified as one of 44 schools involved in a test cheating scandal.
John Bazemore AP

Cheating scandals have rocked a number of school districts across the country this year. The publicity is pushing states to look for better ways to detect and prevent tampering with the test results, and some say constant vigilance is required to guard against cheating.

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4:28am

Fri August 12, 2011
Education

Detroit Residents Monitor Fate Of Local Schools

Detroit Public Schools will continue closing schools this year, in an effort to keep up with a steady decline in the number of students. Neighbors fear that a closed school will add to the city's rapid decline in population.

10:01pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Movies

On Location: Cruising With 'American Graffiti'

Cruising on Main Street: A scene from George Lucas's 1973 film American Graffiti.
MCA/Universal Pictures PhotoFest

Watch the opening scenes of George Lucas's 1973 classic American Graffiti, and you will catch glimpses of my hometown, San Rafael, California, as it flits past the windshields of the classic cars that serve as the real set of this movie. As the film opens, Steve, played by Ron Howard, and Curt, played by Richard Dreyfuss, are whiling away their last night home before leaving for college back east. Curt is plagued by doubts, and Steve has to speak a little courage to him. "We're finally getting out of this turkey town and now you want to crawl back into your cell, right?

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