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For more than a decade, Daniel Connolly has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for news organizations including The Associated Press in Little Rock, and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. The winner of numerous journalism prizes, he has received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists and the Fulbright program.

In his new book, The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America 18-year-old high school senior Isaias Ramos plays in a punk rock group called Los Psychosis and likes to sing along to songs by Björk and her old band, the Sugarcubes. He’s so bright that when his school’s quiz bowl goes on local TV, he acts as captain. The counselors at school want him to apply to Harvard. But Isaias isn’t so sure. He's thinking about going to work painting houses with his parents, who crossed the Arizona desert illegally from Mexico.

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper's dream forever, and now that senior year is halfway over, she's never felt more ready.

But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper's sister's tyranny thwarts every attempt at happiness for the Perish family. Piper's art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much?

Piper Perish is a new novel by Kayla Cagan.

  Since 1996, Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar has been helping students from low-income families acquire the academic skills they need to earn high school diplomas and enter college.

The agency, founded by civic leaders and social entrepreneurs in 1996, currently serves over 400 aspiring scholars from Albany, Schenectady and Troy High Schools.

Support includes weekly homework sessions, paid tutors, graphing calculators, fees for advanced placement courses, SAT preparation and testing, and for college visits and applications.

Here to tell us more is Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar Executive Director, Bill Corbett.

  America’s higher education system is failing its students. In the space of a generation, we have gone from being the best-educated society in the world to one surpassed by eleven other nations in college graduation rates.

Higher education is evolving into a caste system with separate and unequal tiers that take in students from different socio-economic backgrounds and leave them more unequal than when they first enrolled.

In Degrees of Inequality, acclaimed political scientist Suzanne Mettler explains why the system has gone so horribly wrong and why the American Dream is increasingly out of reach for so many.

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"It's absurd to me that you can refinance a mortgage or a business loan, but you can't re-finance a college loan? I don't think the government should be making money off the backs of students." ~ Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

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New York education officials are postponing plans for a statewide student database until concerns about privacy and security have been addressed.

The state had planned to transfer students' grades, test scores and attendance records to Atlanta-based service provider InBloom this year. But opponents ranging from parents to state legislative leaders raised concerns about storing personal student data on servers in the so-called cloud, accessed through the Internet.

    Ten years ago, James Lasdun, a poet and novelist, taught a fiction-writing workshop at a college in New York. One of his students was a young woman, "Nasreen," as he calls her in his new nonfiction book, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked.

Lasdun will join us to discuss his strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of the student, a self-styled “verbal terrorist,” who began trying, in her words, to “ruin him.” It is a frightening tale that continues for Lasdun to this very day.

Vermont's U.S. Representative Peter Welch is compiling stories about student debt.  WAMC's North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports... 

Welch was at the University of Vermont on Monday where he met with students, some of whom are working multiple jobs and studying full time as they accumulate student loan debt.

Vermont's U.S. Representative Peter Welch is going to be compiling stories about student debt.

Welch is going to be at the University of Vermont on Monday where he will launch an initiative to compile stories from Vermont students and families about the burden of student loan debt.

In Vermont, almost 70 percent of college graduates have an average of $30,000 in debt.

Student debt is topping $1 trillion dollars, exceeding credit card debt.