Education Desk

Goats and Soda
1:30 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

This Aspiring Astronaut Might Be The World's Most Amazing Teen

It took 101 takes to get the right shot for Gideon Gidori's Kickstarter video. He hopes supporters will fund his flight school tuition in exchange for a secret potato salad recipe.
via Kickstarter

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:50 pm

At age 7, Gideon Gidori knew exactly what he wanted to be: a rocket ship pilot.

The only thing was, he was living in a tiny Tanzanian village where his school only went through grade six and books about space (or, for that matter, any books) were scarce.

But that didn't stop him. Now 15, Gidori is determined to become Tanzania's very first astronaut.

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NPR Ed
2:38 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Charter Schools, Money And Test Scores

Putting charter school research under a microscope.
Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 6:30 pm

The University of Arkansas today released what it calls a "first ever" study exploring the relationship between charter school funding and student achievement.

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Education Desk
12:22 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

With GED, Illinois Bundles Job Training

A new approach to adult education in Illinois puts GED instruction in the context of job skills, such as nursing, welding or operating a forklift.
Credit Mike Mozart (flickr.com/jeepersmedia)

Illinois is trying to expand educational opportunities for adults who didn't finish high school. That means moving beyond the GED.

The Census Bureau says average monthly earnings of a high school grad are nearly 10 percent higher than those of someone with a GED. And while a third of high school grads eventually earn a bachelor's degree, the GED number is 1 in 20.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Tue July 22, 2014

In This School, Class Is A Workshop And Experiments Are Mandatory

Haziz Self says that he's learned "what it means to live up to your principles."
Kimberly Paynter WHYY

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:19 pm

Imagine a school where classes are organized not by subject but by project — a school created not by administrators, but by teachers fed up with the status quo. A school where kids from a city's toughest neighborhoods are given the opportunity to experiment and the freedom to fail.

In West Philadelphia, that school is a reality. It's called The Workshop School.

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Shots - Health News
3:43 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 3:47 pm

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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Education Desk
6:47 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Houston Says District 186 Needs To Build Credibility Before Asking For Tax Hike

Credit montanapublicmedia.org

WUIS is asking the candidates for Springfield mayor to talk about education issues facing the community. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston says he's concerned that most new single family homes in the area are in suburban school districts.   He says an increase in funding for District 186 is probably needed, but says the school board needs to build credibility first.

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NPR Ed
5:55 am
Mon July 21, 2014

In Asheville, N.C., Summer Vacation Lasts Just A Few Weeks

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 8:48 am

It's the first day of school at Hall Fletcher Elementary in Asheville, N.C. Principal Gordon Grant stands outside in a white suit and bow tie, greeting students. The kids arrive sporting fresh haircuts and new shoes. One even wears a tutu.

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All Tech Considered
4:34 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Next To Silicon Valley, Nonprofits Draw Youth Of Color Into Tech

Taneka Armstrong, 20, is learning about different aspects of the tech industry — from coding to sales — through the nonprofit group Hack the Hood.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:07 am

Twenty-year-old Taneka Armstrong wants to land a high-tech job, but her day starts at Taco Bell.

Armstrong stands behind a steel counter, making Burrito Supremes and ringing up customers. She counts pennies and quarters. She also gets orders from her bosses, who she says can be pretty condescending.

"They're just like, 'Oh, did you know that already?' Or, 'Can you do this?' " she says. "Yes, I've been doing it, for almost a year now."

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NPR Ed
9:33 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Q&A: Designing Playful Learning Spaces

Margaret Middleton, Boston Children's Museum
Courtesy of Margaret Middleton

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:40 pm

When we talk about playing and learning, we naturally think of children's museums. Most major cities offer some experience like this, where kids are able to get their hands dirty, and — shocking! — learn something at the same time.

The museums — at least the good ones — are always both engaging and interactive in a way that's fun for kids, but they're also fun for grown-ups too. As we've been reporting for our series on play next month, it got me wondering: What goes into creating great museum experiences, and how do designers go about them?

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NPR Ed
7:21 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Students React To The Closure Of A Giant For-Profit College

Everest Institute in Boston.
Mallory Noe-Payne WGBH

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:49 am

Listen to this story on Morning Edition.

After a long reign as the fastest-growing and most problematic sector in higher education, for-profit colleges are on the ropes.

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The Two-Way
5:42 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

University Of Texas Can Continue Affirmative Action, Court Rules

Last year, Bradley Poole posed for a photo at the University of Texas after becoming president of the school's Black Student Alliance.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:30 am

A federal appellate court in Texas has ruled that the state's flagship university can continue to use race as a factor in admissions.

"To deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience," Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote for a split panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Education
3:58 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Morals Clauses Prove Controversial For Catholic School Teachers

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:28 pm

Catholic schools across the U.S. are requiring teachers to sign morality clauses, which have gotten some educators fired for marrying same-sex partners. It's seen as a pushback among local church dioceses against changing state laws. As Sandhya Dirks of KALW reports, some parents are protesting the new requirements with threats to pull their students out of school.

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NPR Ed
3:15 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

For Most Kids, Nice Finishes Last

Teens say their parents are teaching them that success smells sweeter than kindness.
Flickr

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 5:24 pm

A new study holds up a mirror to America's parents. A researcher at Harvard surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students in 33 different schools around the nation about what they thought their folks cared about most: that they achieve at a high level, that they are happy (defined as "feeling good most of the time"), or that they care for others. Almost 80 percent of youth picked high achievement or happiness as their top choice, while about 20 percent selected caring for others.

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NPR Ed
4:37 am
Sat July 12, 2014

How Private Colleges Are Like Cheap Sushi

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:02 pm

In New York City's East Village, there are a number of hole-in-the-wall spots that advertise sushi at 50 percent off. But I can never bring myself to sample the goods. We're talking about a delicacy flown in from around the world. Marking it down drastically just doesn't sit right. Something — either the price, or the fish — has to be a little off.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Q&A: A Union Leader On Tenure, Testing And The Common Core

Weingarten says people need to talk more about how to "attract, retain, support and nurture great teaching for kids at risk."
Shannon DeCelle AP

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:12 am

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is holding its annual convention in Los Angeles through this weekend. For the AFT's more than 3,500 national delegates descending on LA, there is a lot on their plate and big challenges ahead for the nation's second-largest teachers union: the Common Core, tenure and fierce debate about testing, to name a few.

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Education
3:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Washington And Lee Confronts The Weight Of Its History

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Now a story about race, history and the power of symbol. Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, has agreed to remove Confederate flags from its Lee Chapel, responding to pressure from a group of black law school students. The chapel and the university bear the name of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, who became the university's president after the Civil War.

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Shots - Health News
8:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Math Nerd Or Bookworm? Many Of The Same Genes Shape Both Abilities

A study of twins shows why being a good reader and a good math student may go hand in hand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Many of us tend to align ourselves with either numbers or words. We're either math brains or we're reading brains.

In college, my fellow English majors joked about how none of us could long-divide to save our lives, while our friends in engineering groaned about the fact that Lit 101 was a graduation requirement.

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NPR Ed
7:03 am
Thu July 10, 2014

From Calif. Teachers, More Nuanced Views On Tenure

Julia Macias, a plaintiff and Los Angeles Unified School District middle school student, comments on the Vergara v. California lawsuit verdict in Los Angeles last month.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 10:20 am

In the weeks since a California judge overturned the state's rules governing teacher tenure, the political noise has only grown louder. Advocates on both sides of the issues have largely stuck to "give-no-ground," press-release rhetoric that risks drowning out educators in the middle.

I've spoken with educators around the state since the ruling, including many who say they want protections but also real change.

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Men In America
4:52 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

On Calif. Cattle Ranch, Students Wrangle With Meaning Of Manhood

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:39 pm

For All Things Considered's "Men in America" series, NPR's Kelly McEvers sent this report on Deep Springs College — the all-male college that her husband attended, and where he and McEvers have both taught.

About a hundred years ago, a man named L.L. Nunn was building power plants in the American West. He wanted a place where workers could be educated — and educated people could do work.

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Politics
3:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Lawmakers Unearth Failures To Investigate Campus Sex Crimes

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

U.S. colleges are failing to investigate sex crimes on their campuses. That's the conclusion of a new national survey commissioned by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. The survey is part of an effort by several senators to reduce sexual assaults in college and change a culture where only 5 percent of victims report the crime. NPR's Laura Sullivan reports from the capital.

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Education Desk
1:45 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

State Pays Schools On Time

Credit flickr/alkruse24

Illinois has broken its streak of late grant payments to schools for the first time since 2007.
 
 State Superintendent Christopher Koch praised the news in a letter to school officials dated July 1.  But Koch warned them not to bank on the same thing
happening next year.
 
 Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office says timely payments for specialized grants and programs in 2014 are due to an influx of $1.3 billion in revenues the
state hadn't originally budgeted for.  
 
 Next year's $35.7 billion state budget signed by Gov. Pat Quinn banks on

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Goats and Soda
8:43 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Volunteer Recap: A Bumpy (And Itchy) Ride Through Tanzania

Nick Stadlberger in Africa.
Courtesy of Nick Stadlberger

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 2:44 pm

Nick Stadlberger, a fourth-year medical student at Dartmouth College spent four weeks this spring in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, working in the infectious disease ward at Muhimbili Hospital as part of his school's global health program.

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NPR Ed
9:38 am
Tue July 8, 2014

How A Text Message Could Revolutionize Student Aid

Could students soon text their way to financial aid?
iStockPhoto

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 12:53 pm

Every year, more than a million students don't complete the FAFSA — the main federal student-loan application.

One big reason? The form is so complicated that it discourages some people from even trying.

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NPR Ed
6:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Collapse Of Corinthian Colleges

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:39 am

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NPR Ed
7:36 am
Mon July 7, 2014

What We Don't Know About Summer School

While their friends line up for ice cream, some students are stuck in summer school.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 9:01 am

It's a warning echoed in countless teen movies — "If you don't pass this class, you'll go to summer school!" Kids for generations have been threatened with the elusive summer school: fail this test, miss this day and kiss your vacation goodbye.

This summer is no exception, with districts around the country pulling students in for all sorts of programs. But surprisingly, it's really hard to get a head count — either nationally or at the district level — of how many kids are going to summer school.

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Men In America
3:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

Chicago Students Enroll As Boys, And Graduate As College-Bound Men

In one of the waiting rooms of the Chicago Civic Opera House, Urban Prep graduates dance and let off some steam before the school's commencement ceremony begins.
Cheryl Corley/NPR

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 5:27 pm

This story is part of All Things Considered's "Men in America" series.

In America, nearly 40 percent of black boys live in poverty, and barely half will graduate from high school.

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NPR Ed
6:38 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Big Data Comes To College

The Course Signals dashboard tells professors how their students are doing at a glance.
Information Technology at Purdue

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 12:18 pm

When students at Purdue University are reading their homework assignments, sometimes the assignments are reading them too.

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NPR Ed
4:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Coaching First-Generation Students Through College

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 5:08 am

One-third of college students are the first in their families to enroll in college. But few of them graduate within six years, according to the Department of Education.

One program is working to change that, one student at a time. Juma Ventures isn't just trying to get kids into college ... it's trying to get them through it.

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Election 2014
8:01 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Quinn Gets Teacher Union Nod

Unions were upset with Governor Pat Quinn for his role in Illinois' pension overhaul.  But that didn't stop the state's largest teachers' union from endorsing him.  

The Illinois Education Association hasn't even had a year to get over the legislative equivalent of a knife-in-the-back.

Though the IEA endorsed Quinn in the 2010 governor's race, he both advocated for, and signed, the law that reduces public school teachers' pensions.

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Education Desk
7:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Lower School Age Among New Laws

Credit flickr/Robert.S. Donovan

Illinois children are required to attend school at a younger age and young adults seeking driver's licenses must complete training under several new laws effective this week.  

Children must enter kindergarten by the time they are 6 years old under one new law. The previous requirement was 7 years old. State officials say that might mean higher costs for some schools.  

Another new law requires students to learn CPR and how to operate machines used for emergency heart problems.  

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