Education Desk

A report released Sunday about a Rolling Stone magazine story detailing an alleged rape at the University of Virginia is one more chapter in a long, troubling story for the campus.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Across Sierra Leone, students are preparing to return to school April 14, after nine months off because of the Ebola epidemic. But one group has been banned from returning, according to a new decree by the minister of education: "visibly pregnant" girls.

Minister of Education Minkailu Bah announced the ban last week, explaining that "innocent girls" could be negatively affected by their pregnant peers. The ban would prevent seniors from taking the exams needed to graduate and attend college.

It's a Saturday morning, and school marching bands are playing for a crowd. But they're not in a Mardi Gras parade. They're in the Superdome, where 120 schools are set up at long tables, putting their best faces forward and trying to recruit families.

One gives on-the-spot instrument lessons, another is showing off it's step team.

Back in 2011, Newt Gingrich was running for president, and he proposed a radical idea to help schools cut costs: Fire the janitors and pay students to do the cleaning.

Needless to say, the idea to turn students into moonlighting janitors had about as much support as Gingrich's presidential campaign.

New York City's public school system is vast, with more than a million students spread across thousands of schools. And like the city itself, it's remarkably diverse — about 15 percent Asian, just under 30 percent black, about 40 percent Latino, and about 15 percent white, with all sorts of finer shadings of ethnicity, nationality and language in that mix.

Part of our ongoing series of conversations with thinkers and activists on education issues

Filmmaker and radio producer Erin Davis' new short documentary shares its name with an adventure playground in North Wales called The Land. As Davis puts it, the film explores the "nature of play, risk and hazard" — issues I explored last summer in a story on the decline and fall of wild play.

To survive, we humans need to be able to do a handful of things: breathe, of course. And drink and eat. Those are obvious.

We're going to focus now on a less obvious — but no less vital — human function: learning. Because new research out today in the journal Science sheds light on the very building blocks of learning.

MICHEL MARTIN EXAMINES THE NEW ORLEANS SCHOOL SYSTEM ON APRIL 21

Copyright 2015 WABE-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wabe.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

UIS.EDU

Despite concerns over state funding, there is reason for optimism at the University of Illinois Springfield.  In the first part of our interview, Chancellor Susan Koch told us about planning that is underway for a likely reduction in funding.

But there's also a bright side at UIS.   The campus has all time high enrollment and many other positive changes are coming.  A new nursing program will launch this fall and ground will soon be broken on a Student Union.   

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

No school wants to be on this list.

It was just released by the Department of Education. On it are the names of 556 colleges and universities that failed the department's "financial responsibility test."

Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell says that each school's finances are now being placed under a microscope because the government "had serious concerns about the financial integrity of the institution or its administrative capacity."

Mara Thacker holding comic books
L. Brian Stauffer / University of Illinois news bureau

In 2012, a librarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign approached Mara Thacker, South-Asian studies librarian, with a question. David Ward had been building the collection of comic books and graphic novels and asked for recommendations to expand the collection into foreign comics. Already a fan of Indian popular culture, Thacker suggested comics from India and its neighbors.

Now A Necessity

Apr 1, 2015

School Districts Throughout Illinois Are Creating Foundations To Fill In Budget Gaps

Every spring, the students at Mount Carmel High School in Wabash County put on a musical. They’ve done The Music Man, Oklahoma!, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast — and  every show has sold out. 

For Kim Mandrell, music director at MCHS, selling out was both good news and bad news. The school’s auditorium was built in 1963, and its wooden seats were crumbling. 

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch says if a proposed 31% state budget cut to higher education occurs, it would hamper the school's ability to carry out its mission. 

"It would be severely damaging," Koch said.  She added she is hopeful the eventual budget won't hit UIS so hard.  But she also expects less state support in the coming year.

"The reality is at this point we don't know where things will end up."

Latonya Suggs says she borrowed thousands of dollars in student loans to attend the for-profit Corinthian Colleges but has nothing to show for it. Most employers don't recognize her criminal justice degree.

"I am completely lost and in debt," Suggs says. And now she's doing something about it: She's refusing to pay back those loans.

Suggs and 106 other borrowers now saddled with Corinthian loan debt say their refusal to repay the loans is a form of political protest. And Tuesday, the U.S. government gave them an audience.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Every year, students at UIS get together to give presentations and performances related to technology, the arts, and research. It's called the Stars Symposium. This year, the event is on Thursday and Friday on the Springfield campus. We were joined by students Irina Mason, Kylie Gilmore & Michael Lotspeich to talk about it: 

Katie Morrow became a teacher, among other things, because of wanderlust.

"I'm going to be a teacher because I can go anywhere in the world," she thought.

She's originally from a small town in Nebraska called O'Neill, population 3,700. "In the middle of nowhere, literally," she says.

So where did she end up teaching? Right back in O'Neill. She fell in love with a hometown boy and ended up at O'Neill's only public school. It's K-12, with 750 students.

Morrow teaches middle-school English; she's also a technology integration specialist.

Every year, thousands of fresh-faced teachers are handed the keys to a new classroom, given a pat on the back and told, "Good luck!"

Over the next five years, though, nearly half of those teachers will transfer to a new school or leave the profession altogether — only to be replaced with similarly fresh-faced teachers.

Saying Goodbye: Reflections Of A Music Teacher

Mar 28, 2015

This weekend, NPR Ed is featuring dispatches from teachers about the ups and downs of their work.

Early each December, the HR department of Orange City Schools in Pepper Pike, Ohio, places a checklist in our mailboxes. It asks about our employment plans for the next school year. Choices include sabbatical leave, acquiring advanced degrees, and the one everyone dreams of checking: I will be retiring at the end of the current school year.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos might conjure a lot of descriptors: spicy, crunchy, unnaturally fiery red. But it's a good bet that "healthy" didn't exactly spring to mind.

The president of the University of Oklahoma says two dozen students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity have been disciplined for taking part in a racist chant about African-Americans and lynching that was videotaped and went viral earlier this month.

Will Rogers Institute

That headline is a quote from Will Rogers. It was on a poster I had hanging in my bedroom as a kid, and I took it with me when I went to college. It's been my favorite quote forever. And today, here's a column by  Fareed Zakaria that provides some stats for that. It's an interesting perspective. Check it out.

A stack of research suggests that all the classroom technology in the world can't compare to the power of a great teacher. And, since we haven't yet figured out how to clone our best teachers, a few schools around the country are trying something like it: Stretching them across multiple classrooms.

Sweet Briar College in Virginia will close its doors in May, after 114 years of teaching women at its scenic campus in western Virginia.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS

 A measure pending in the Illinois legislature would give parents the right to have their children skip the standardized test associated with the Common Core curriculum. The plan proposed by Democratic Representative Will Guzzardi, of Chicago would require schools to honor written requests from parents for their kids to skip the PARCC test. Currently, students themselves can refuse testing, if they're able and willing to ask, but Guzzardi says there’s no policy telling schools what to do with those kids.

One of our occasional conversations with thought leaders in education.

When it comes to kids and exercise, schools need to step up and focus more on quality as well as quantity. And, says Dr. Gregory D. Myer, they need to promote activities that develop motor skills, socialization and fun.

Pages