American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.

American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.

Back to all reports


CHRISTENSEN, DONNA M, Democratic Party
Virgin Islands

Total number of trips - 37
Total cost of trips - $57,245.40

Average cost per trip - $1,547.17
Total number of days spent traveling - 97 days
Rank of representative - 105 (Out of 638)


Individual trips


Sponsor(s) - Faith and Politics Institute
Dates - March 7, 2003 - March 9, 2003 (3 days)
Location(s) - AL

Purpose - Civil rights pilgrimage to Alabama
Notes - Spouse Christian Christensen accompanied. Member paid $1000 toward cost of trip

Travel Cost - $960.00
Lodging Cost - $536.00
Meal Cost - $250.00
Other Cost - $80.00
Total Cost - $1,826.00

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Morehouse School of Medicine
Dates - October 30, 2003 - October 31, 2003 (2 days)
Location(s) - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Purpose - Conference keynote speaker
Notes -

Travel Cost - $830.40
Lodging Cost - $112.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $942.40

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Carib News
Dates - November 6, 2003 - November 9, 2003 (4 days)
Location(s) - Bahamas - St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Purpose - Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference
Notes - Spouse Christian Christensen accompanied

Travel Cost - $600.00
Lodging Cost - $750.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,350.00

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education
Dates - May 21, 2003 - May 22, 2003 (2 days)
Location(s) - San Diego, CA

Purpose - 2003 Recipient of CBC/ Astohpphe Advocacy Award
Notes -

Travel Cost - $755.00
Lodging Cost - $180.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $935.00

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS
Dates - June 11, 2003 - June 12, 2003 (2 days)
Location(s) - New York, NY

Purpose - HIV Aids meeting
Notes -

Travel Cost - $371.50
Lodging Cost - $238.34
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $609.84

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Dates - June 23, 2003 - June 23, 2003 (1 days)
Location(s) - New York, NY

Purpose - Meeting with John LaRosa, President of the Suny Downstate Medical Center
Notes -

Travel Cost - $81.50
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $81.50

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Association of Black Cardiologists
Dates - August 3, 2003 - August 3, 2003 (1 days)
Location(s) - Philadelphia, PA

Purpose - Advisory Board meeting: Center for Women's Health
Notes -

Travel Cost - $163.90
Lodging Cost - $185.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $348.90

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Partnership for Sight
Dates - August 4, 2003 - August 6, 2003 (3 days)
Location(s) - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands - St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Purpose - 107th Annual NMA Convention and scientific assembly
Notes -

Travel Cost - $1,065.40
Lodging Cost - $820.73
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,886.13

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - National Urban League
Dates - July 28, 2003 - July 29, 2003 (2 days)
Location(s) - Pittsburgh, PA

Purpose - 2003 DLC National Conversation
Notes -

Travel Cost - $998.70
Lodging Cost - $142.50
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,141.20

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - St. George's University
Dates - June 16, 2003 - June 16, 2003 (1 days)
Location(s) - New York, NY

Purpose - Keynote speaker at commencement exercise
Notes -

Travel Cost - $279.35
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $279.35

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Harvard University - RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights Partners in Health
Dates - January 23, 2003 - January 24, 2003 (2 days)
Location(s) - Haiti

Purpose - Congressional Delegation to Haiti
Notes -

Travel Cost - $2,229.01
Lodging Cost - $825.00
Meal Cost - $101.33
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $3,155.34

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Dominican American National Roundtable
Dates - April 23, 2003 - April 27, 2003 (5 days)
Location(s) - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Purpose - To enhance ties between the US and the Dominican Republic
Notes - Spouse Christian Christensen accompanied

Travel Cost - $940.00
Lodging Cost - $482.97
Meal Cost - $600.00
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $2,022.97

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Dates - October 24, 2003 - October 26, 2003 (3 days)
Location(s) - Puerto Rico

Purpose - 2003 Congressional Tri-Caucus Retreat
Notes - Spouse Christian Christensen accompanied

Travel Cost - $189.00
Lodging Cost - $549.70
Meal Cost - $450.51
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,189.21

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Public Governance Institute
Dates - February 28, 2003 - March 2, 2003 (3 days)
Location(s) - White Sulphur Springs, WV

Purpose - 2003 Congressional Retreat
Notes - Spouse Christian Christensen accompanied. Meals included in lodgings

Travel Cost - $350.00
Lodging Cost - $1,035.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,385.00

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Pfizer, Inc.
Dates - January 30, 2004 - February 3, 2004 (5 days)
Location(s) - St. Croix, Virgin Islands - Puerto Rico

Purpose - Caribbean summit meeting on HIV/AIDS
Notes -

Travel Cost - $2,128.00
Lodging Cost - $404.39
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $2,532.39

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Medical Herald
Dates - April 1, 2004 - April 2, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - New York, NY

Purpose - Urban diabetes leadership forum
Notes -

Travel Cost - $226.00
Lodging Cost - $250.84
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $476.84

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Dates - April 2, 2004 - April 3, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - West Palm Beach, FL - St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Purpose - panelist: access to medicine
Notes -

Travel Cost - $1,378.30
Lodging Cost - $536.65
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,914.95

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - U.S. Brazil Business Council
Dates - April 11, 2004 - April 17, 2004 (7 days)
Location(s) - Brazil

Purpose - CBCF trip to Brazil
Notes - spouse, Christian Christensen

Travel Cost - $9,719.66
Lodging Cost - $1,476.00
Meal Cost - $522.48
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $11,718.14

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Multi Cultural Caribbean United Against HIV & AIDS
Dates - March 4, 2004 - March 5, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Purpose - HIV/AIDS Conference
Notes - DCA - MIA - Santo Domingo / Santo Domingo - SJU - St Croix (Washington, DC - Miami, FL - Santo Domingo - San Juan, PR - St Croix)

Travel Cost - $824.00
Lodging Cost - $250.10
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,074.10

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Womens Missionary Society
Dates - April 23, 2004 - April 24, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - Chattanooga, TN

Purpose - African Methodist Episcopal Church Summit On Women's Health
Notes - DCA - Chattanooga, TN / Chattanooga, TN - St Thomas

Travel Cost - $1,533.41
Lodging Cost - $200.40
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,733.81

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Norfolk State Univ
Dates - May 7, 2004 - May 9, 2004 (3 days)
Location(s) - Norfolk, VA

Purpose - Commencement Guest Speaker
Notes - New York - Norfolk / Norfolk - Washington, DC

Travel Cost - $708.70
Lodging Cost - $109.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $817.70

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Duke Univ Medical Center
Dates - May 11, 2004 - May 12, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - NC

Purpose - Keynote Speaker: Community Legacy Award
Notes - DCA - North Carolina / North Carolina - DCA

Travel Cost - $308.70
Lodging Cost - $224.77
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $533.47

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Harvard Univ Civil Rights Project
Dates - May 18, 2004 - May 18, 2004 (1 days)
Location(s) - Boston, MA

Purpose - Roundtable On Racial And Ethnic Health Disparities
Notes - DCA - Boston / Boston - DCA

Travel Cost - $394.70
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $394.70

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Inter-American Economic Council
Dates - May 24, 2004 - May 25, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - Miami, FL

Purpose - Meeting Of The Caribbean Trade Ministers
Notes - St Croix - Miami / Miami - St Thomas

Travel Cost - $823.90
Lodging Cost - $237.30
Meal Cost - $105.50
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,166.70

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - American Legacy Foundation
Dates - July 9, 2004 - July 10, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - Miami, FL

Purpose - Tri Caucus Minority Health Summit
Notes - DCA - Miami / Miami - DCA

Travel Cost - $849.99
Lodging Cost - $336.74
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,186.73

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Winston Salem State Univ
Dates - September 28, 2004 - September 28, 2004 (1 days)
Location(s) - Greensboro, NC

Purpose - National Conference To End Health Disparities
Notes - DCA - Greensboro - DCA

Travel Cost - $233.70
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $233.70

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Public Governance Institute
Dates - March 7, 2005 - March 8, 2005 (2 days)
Location(s) - MD

Purpose - Committee on Homeland Security Retreat
Notes - Washington, DC - Maryland

Travel Cost - $54.00
Lodging Cost - $350.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $404.00

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Inter-American Economic Council
Dates - January 12, 2005 - January 16, 2005 (5 days)
Location(s) - Antigua and Barbuda

Purpose - Business roundtables 2005 Congressional Delegation
Notes - Washington, DC - Dominican Republic - Antigua - Washington, DC Including spouse

Travel Cost - $4,583.40
Lodging Cost - $1,924.69
Meal Cost - $1,653.88
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $8,161.97

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Faith & Politics Institute
Dates - March 4, 2005 - March 6, 2005 (3 days)
Location(s) - Birmingham, AL

Purpose - Congressional Civil Rights pilgrimage
Notes - Washington, DC - Birmingham - Washington, DC Including spouse

Travel Cost - $930.00
Lodging Cost - $268.00
Meal Cost - $260.00
Other Cost - $62.00
Total Cost - $1,520.00

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - African Caribbean Reparations & Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA)
Dates - April 8, 2005 - April 12, 2005 (5 days)
Location(s) - Denmark

Purpose - Foster a partnership between Denmark and the Virgin Islands
Notes - Washington, DC - Denmark - Washington, DC Lodging: $232.18 PAID BY MEMBER Meal: $414.28 PAID BY MEMBER Other(Ground transportation): $118.96 PAID BY MEMBER

Travel Cost - $747.00
Lodging Cost - $232.18
Meal Cost - $414.28
Other Cost - $118.96
Total Cost - $1,512.42

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - California Black Health Network Inc
Dates - April 21, 2005 - April 22, 2005 (2 days)
Location(s) - Atlanta, GA

Purpose - Conference keynote speaker
Notes - Washington, DC - Atlanta - California

Travel Cost - $514.30
Lodging Cost - $146.00
Meal Cost - $50.00
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $710.30

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Wake Forest Univ Student National Medical Assn
Dates - April 22, 2005 - April 23, 2005 (2 days)
Location(s) - NC

Purpose - Graduation Keynote speaker
Notes - California - North Carolina - Washington, DC

Travel Cost - $211.69
Lodging Cost - $204.00
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $415.69

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Carib News
Dates - November 4, 2004 - November 7, 2004 (4 days)
Location(s) - St. Kitts and Nevis

Purpose - not specified
Notes - STX (St Croix) - St Kitts - San Juan, PR This information is from a House of Representatives personal financial disclosure report and does not include dollar amounts.

Travel Cost -
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost -

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Assn of Black Cardiologists
Dates - November 7, 2004 - November 8, 2004 (2 days)
Location(s) - New Orleans, LA

Purpose - not specified
Notes - SJU (San Juan) - Miami - New Orleans - STT (St Thomas Island) This information is from a House of Representatives personal financial disclosure report and does not include dollar amounts.

Travel Cost -
Lodging Cost -
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost -

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - American Legacy Foundation, Coalition to Promote Minority Health, SEIU, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AHIP, Wellpoint
Dates - July 22, 2005 - July 24, 2005 (3 days)
Location(s) - Chicago, IL

Purpose - Minority health summit
Notes - Washington, DC - Chicago, IL - Washington, DC Including spouse

Travel Cost - $977.32
Lodging Cost - $459.30
Meal Cost -
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,436.62

Additional family members - Yes


Sponsor(s) - Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Dates - July 15, 2005 - July 16, 2005 (2 days)
Location(s) - Cleveland, OH

Purpose - Conference examining disparities in healthcare
Notes - Washington, DC - Cleveland, OH - Washington, DC

Travel Cost - $496.40
Lodging Cost - $227.72
Meal Cost - $149.92
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $874.04

Additional family members - No


Sponsor(s) - Inter American Economic Council
Dates - June 3, 2005 - June 4, 2005 (2 days)
Location(s) - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Purpose - Inter American Economic Council IV annual and investment council
Notes - St Croix, VI - Fort Lauderdale, FL - St Thomas, VI

Travel Cost - $625.43
Lodging Cost - $405.16
Meal Cost - $243.70
Other Cost -
Total Cost - $1,274.29

Additional family members - No

American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
Students in Kentucky taking a Common Core math test. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Greater Expectations

The United States is in the midst of a huge education reform. The Common Core State Standards are a new set of expectations for what students should learn each year in school. The standards have been adopted by most states, though there's plenty of controversy about them among activists and politicians. Most teachers, however, actually like the standards. This American RadioWorks documentary takes listeners into classrooms to explore how the standards are changing teaching and learning. Teachers say Common Core has the potential to help kids who are behind, as well as those who are ahead. But many teachers have big concerns about the Common Core tests. The new, tougher tests are meant to let the nation know how kids are really doing in school -- but bad scores could get teachers and principals fired.

Recent Posts

  • 08.29.14

    Greater Expectations transcript

  • 08.28.14

    A teacher loses faith in the Common Core

    New York teacher Kevin Glynn was once a big fan of the Common Core, but he says the standardized testing that's come along with it is reducing students to test scores and narrowing what gets taught in schools.
  • 08.28.14

    Are you smarter than a Common Core student? Try a Common Core test

    New Common Core tests are supposed to measure students' ability to think critically, analyze information, and cite evidence as well as test their conceptual understanding of mathematics and their ability to apply math to the real world. See how you'd do on a Common Core test.
  • 08.28.14

    Questioning the Common Core tests

    In the United States, education standards come with tests. Most students haven't been tested on the Common Core yet. But in one state where they have, the controversy is so intense that it's threatening to bring down the Common Core altogether.