Education Desk

Can a kid succeed in school with only a mobile device for Internet access at home?

Lorena Uribe doesn't have to think about that one:

"Absolutely not," she says.

When her old computer broke down several years ago, she and her teenage daughter found themselves in a bind for about five months: homework to do and no computer or broadband access at home.

"I would take her to the mall and have her sit in Panera so she could use the Wi-Fi on her iPad from school," Uribe says.

OK, Google, Where Did I Put My Thinking Cap?

Feb 5, 2016

Take a look at this question: How do modern novels represent the characteristics of humanity?

If you were tasked with answering it, what would your first step be? Would you scribble down your thoughts — or would you Google it?

Terry Heick, a former English teacher in Kentucky, had a surprising revelation when his eighth- and ninth-grade students quickly turned to Google.

"What they would do is they would start Googling the question, 'How does a novel represent humanity?' " Heick says. "That was a real eye-opener to me."

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan today announced that he will re-convene hearings on the state’s education funding formula. The state's current formula relies heavily on property taxes, creating a big disparity among schools based on their geographic location. Some districts can spend more than $32,000 per student every year, while others scrape by on a fraction of that amount. 

"Squat! Squat! Squat! Higher! Faster!"

In the basement of the Duane Physics and Astrophysics building at the University of Colorado Boulder, a science demonstration is going on, but it looks more like a vaudeville act.

One by one, students balance precariously on a rotating platform. Then they are handed what looks like a spinning bicycle wheel, holding it by two handles that stick out from either side of what would be the hub of the wheel. When you flip the wheel over, like a pizza, your body starts rotating in the opposite direction.

Acting U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. wants states and districts to focus on streamlined, higher-quality tests in a broader effort to win back some classroom time.

And here's the kicker: The feds will actually pay for (some of) the transition.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Courtesy of District 186

Springfield school board last night approved a request to add baseball to the athletic program at Franklin Middle School. 

Springfield currently has only one middle school team participating in America's greatest past-time -- baseball. That team represents the Lincoln Magnet School/Ball Charter collaborative. The board unanimously supported Franklin Middle School's request to field a team. It will be coached by Brett Troemper, a science teacher at Franklin and assistant baseball coach at Springfield High.

A Michigan emergency manager tied to two major controversies has resigned from his current post running Detroit's public school district.

Darnell Earley has faced escalating criticism over poor conditions in Detroit schools. Before that, he ran the troubled city of Flint. As Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports:

"He carried out the now-infamous decision to use the Flint River as a temporary source of drinking water for the city. The untreated corrosive river water caused lead to leach from old pipes into the drinking water.

The Science Of Getting Kids Organized

Feb 2, 2016

If you've ever gotten a glimpse inside a high schooler's backpack or locker, you know organization doesn't always come naturally to teens. Being scatterbrained in school can make make it tough to stay focused and do well.

That was the case when Lilli Stordeur was about halfway through her freshman year of high school in Northampton, Mass. She felt totally overwhelmed.

"I was being tutored for the classes I was having trouble in," she says, "but I would be having a hard time organizing my binders, and notebooks and stuff, and knowing when to hand things in."

About three months ago, Bill Nelson got an unusual phone call.

Nelson oversees data and assessment for the Agua Fria Union High School District in southwest Phoenix, Ariz. The call was from a former student, who left the district back in 2011.

He was "not quite a graduate," Nelson recalls. At the time, the young man had failed part of Arizona's high school exit exam, called the AIMS.

But in 2015, Arizona rescinded the AIMS requirement, and made that retroactive. So this former student was in luck.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Recent government sanctions against predatory for-profit colleges that preyed on veterans by using inflated job promises have opened the window on the wider challenges of helping veterans transition from service to higher education.

What's 12 divided by 302, 532?

It comes out to 0.00003967 or 0.003967 percent. That's the percentage of students in the entire world who took the test and earned a perfect score on the infamously difficult college-level Advanced Placement calculus exam last year.

Cedrick Argueta, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, was in that tiny fraction of perfection, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced.

As the Islamic State uses social media and the Internet to recruit followers, a group of American Muslim millennials are also using the same tools to clear up misconceptions.

Tired of being called a terrorist, Ranny Badreddine, a youth from Evansville, Ind., joined other young teens to create World Changers, an initiative that uses the cyberspace to combat misconceptions about Islam.

DeVry University, which has at least 55 locations across the U.S., advertises that 90 percent of its graduates seeking employment found jobs in their field within six months of graduation.

That claim by the for-profit university is coming under fire. The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against the university's operators, saying the ads are deceptive.

Copyright 2016 WFCR-FM. To see more, visit WFCR-FM.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tens of thousands of GED test takers who barely missed the cut may soon receive a diploma, after the company that oversees the test said this week it's lowering the minimum passing score.

Since the new GED was unveiled two years ago this month, complaints have been rising. Students and teachers don't like that the high school equivalency test is now a for-profit venture, that it is more expensive than before and that it is solely computer-administered.

Amherst College Drops Mascot Criticized As Offensive

Jan 26, 2016

Amherst College says it will stop using the controversial "Lord Jeff" as an unofficial mascot following complaints that the character is racist.

The mascot is a caricature of Lord Jeffery Amherst, an English general who proposed giving blankets from smallpox patients to Native Americans.

"Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?" Lord Amherst wrote in one letter, the college says.

In a high school theater in Arcadia, Calif., Amber Zhang and the rest of the teenage cast of a production of Molière's comedic play The Miser gather in a tight circle.

"Everyone say, 'Hey, hey, hey!' " bellows Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, an instructor at Arroyo Pacific Academy. "Helloooo!"

Zhang, cast as a spunky ingénue, throws her body — and pipes — into the exercise.

One month after photos emerged showing cadets wearing white pillowcases on their heads, The Citadel says its investigation found that while 14 cadets may not have meant to be offensive, their behavior warranted punishments — and in some cases, dismissal.

Copyright 2016 Southern California Public Radio. To see more, visit Southern California Public Radio.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For Some Schools, Learning Doesn't Stop On Snow Days

Jan 26, 2016

For kids up and down the East Coast, the snow that piled up over the weekend translates into a day or two without school. But in other parts of the country, snow days are taking on a new meaning.

Students in Delphi, Ind., are expected to log onto their classes from home when schools are closed for snow.

The seniors in Brian Tonsoni's economics class at Delphi Community High School are no strangers to technology — everybody has an Internet-connected laptop or smartphone in front of them in class as they work on business plans.

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees voted 5-to1 during a special meeting Monday to authorize staff reductions for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.  Staff cuts are just one part of Western’s plan for cutting spending by roughly $10 million due to declines in enrollment and state financial support.

Picture your favorite college professor. Here are some adjectives that might come to mind: Wise. Funny. Caring. Prompt. Passionate. Organized. Tough but fair.

Now, are you thinking of a man or a woman?

A new study argues that student evaluations are systematically biased against women — so much so, in fact, that they're better mirrors of gender bias than of what they are supposed to be measuring: teaching quality.

If you're the parent of a Springfield student, you probably spent the winter holidays reminding your kid to study, or supervising homework projects. That's because this year, final exams began a week after students returned from winter break. District officials didn't plan it that way just to take all the fun out of Christmas.

  When you hear the word ACES, you probably think of kids who make good grades. But in the documentary Paper Tigers, ACES is an acronym for Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as the loss of a parent, that can affect how kids cope with school.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In front of one of the colleges at Oxford University, a statue of Cecil Rhodes stands overlooking the campus. Rhodes, a South African businessman, started the De Beers diamond company and went on to become the namesake of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

He was also a colonialist who believed in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons, and he enforced a policy of racial segregation in South Africa.

Now, because of that history, a growing number of students at Oxford say it's time to take down the statue of Rhodes.

On campuses across the country, millions of students have an app called Yik Yak on their phones.

It's like an anonymous version of Twitter. But because it's anonymous, it can get ugly and be a breeding ground for hate speech.

Black student leaders across the country have held sit-ins and protests asking college officials to block the app.

Yik Yak, an Atlanta-based social media app, has a presence on more than 2,000 college campuses. Users of the app post comments anonymously, and anyone in within a radius of a few miles can see, share and rate the comment.

The Los Angeles Unified School District welcomed a new superintendent who represents a first for the nation's second-largest school district on Jan.11.

Michelle King is the first African-American woman chosen for the job, heading more than 900 schools in the district. She is also an insider — she has worked in the system for three decades — unlike the string of outsiders who held the job before her.

Pages