Education Desk

A lot of people saw their hopes and dreams fulfilled this week — for just a few hours.

Carnegie Mellon University emailed about 800 people who had applied to graduate school to say, 'Congratulations, you're in.' They were — to quote the message of acceptance — "one of the select few" to be accepted into Carnegie Mellon's prestigious Master of Science in Computer Science program.

A young woman in India who was accepted wrote on Facebook that she quit her job, bolstered by this act of faith in her future. Her boyfriend proposed marriage.

This week, every middle and high school student in Akron, Ohio, is getting a glossy, two-sided card giving them suggestions for dealing with police.

It's a collaboration between an anti-violence youth group and the city's police department.

The "You and the Law" cards begin with the big picture: Stay out of trouble. And then a rapid succession of 15 points — control your emotions, answer questions about your identity, put your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight.

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

U Of I Responds To Governor's Budget

Feb 18, 2015

A top University of Illinois administrator says everything is on the table after Republican Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a thirty percent cut to state higher education funding.

Christophe Pierre, the U of I's Vice President for Academic Affairs, calls today's (Wednesday's) budget proposal disappointing. He says the university has other sources of revenue, but many come with restrictions on how the money is spent.

Every day, 17-year-old Kaday goes to school by turning on the radio.

She's one of the million school-age children in Sierra Leone who've had no classroom to go to since July. That's when the government closed all schools to curb the spread of Ebola.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

One of the few areas not threatened with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget ax today was public school education. But at a conference of school leaders, reaction was lukewarm. 

This is a story you have to hear. Click below to listen:

As the 500-year-old bell tower tolls, about 25 students from the University of Oxford cross a medieval cobblestone street. They duck under a stone archway and slip into a room named after T.S. Eliot, who studied here a century ago.

The students drop their backpacks and get ready for practice. They're here to hone their tongues. This week, an elite team of Oxford's six best tasters will battle the University of Cambridge to see which group has the most refined palate.

Dusty Rhodes

Governor Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a meeting of public school leaders today in Springfield. Instead, he sent his new education czar.  

Beth Purvis, a member of Gov. Rauner's transition team, had been in office just about two hours. In fact, her exact title hadn't been determined. But for the past 10 years, Purvis has been the CEO of the Chicago International Charter School. 

 

Last week, South Carolina lawmakers proposed shutting down the state's only public historically black college for two years.

"We are looking at a bankrupt institution," state House Rep. Jim Merrill told reporters. "No one takes any pleasure in recommending this."

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

uis.edu

Faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield will be unionized for the first time in two decades. 

The campus last had a faculty union when it was known as Sangamon State University.  But that was disbanded when it became part of the University of Illinois in the mid 90's.  

137 faculty members voted in favor of a new union which will negotiate issues from wages and benefits to shared governance.  A final vote total was unavailable.

Listen up, cub reporters. Lesson 1: Never miss an opportunity to catch a good story. I was doing important hop research at my local craft beer emporium, aka my bar.

"This red IPA is great. What is this again?" I asked the bartender.

"That's Line 51. From Oakland. The owner, P.T., does it part time. He has a day job." What's he do? I asked. "He's a schoolteacher."

Bingo! Secret teachers, you can't hide from this NPR Ed sleuth, no sir.

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

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Chris Reynolds will never forget his first day at the University of Michigan. He and his dad got up superearly and drove nine and a half hours from Sellersville, a blue-collar factory town in Pennsylvania, to Ann Arbor.

"My father literally just dropped me off and then left," Reynolds says.

His dad couldn't afford a hotel, so they took about an hour to unpack the car, said their goodbyes, and his dad drove off.

Chris Reynolds was officially on his own.

Joshua Starr, a nationally prominent superintendent with the Montgomery County schools in Rockville, Md., this month was granted early release from his contract after 3 1/2 years.

More Tales Of Great Teachers

Feb 14, 2015

A French teacher who made the language come alive ... a drama teacher standing on his desk proclaiming, "I love you" ... the gift of reading through Shakespeare and Harry Potter. All week you've been sending in stories of your inspiring teachers.

Here's another installment:

Let's start with Meghan Sickmeier on Facebook:

Harriet Dickens-Plimmswood remembers a history teacher who taught her the value of tolerance:

Students aren't the only ones getting report cards these days. More than a dozen states now grade their public schools using the traditional A through F system. North Carolina is the latest to try it, and most of its high-poverty schools received D's and F's from the state education agency last week.

At Allen Middle School in Greensboro, N.C., nearly every student gets free or reduced-price meals. Between classes, preteens roam the bright hallways that are lined with inspirational quotes.

Dusty Rhodes

Another effort for overhauling school funding is taking shape in the Illinois legislature. 

Jason Barickman, a Republican senator from Bloomington, says he’s going to introduce three pieces of legislation to tackle the state’s infamous education funding inequity. He describes the first piece as an “evidence-based model," which he believes will be supported by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Our "Tools of the Trade" series is taking a look at some of the iconic objects that form a vital part of our educational lives. For an upcoming piece, I'm reporting on how young children learn through that most basic of preschool education tools: simple wooden blocks.

She gazed at the picture and then asked, "What's an ugly stepsister?"

The concept just didn't translate. In Mali, polygamy is commonplace but divorce is not.

Robert McCloskey's Blueberries for Sal caused trouble too. The kids seemed unsure whether blueberries were real or the stuff of fantasy. Same with the bear Sal stumbles upon.

And then there was the whole question of Madeline's clothes. Why is she showing her knees? Everyone in this West African country knows knees are a private body part. We fixed the illustrations.

The Blen / Creative Commons, flickr

    

The recent surge in cases of measles across the United States has focused attention on the choices families make about immunizing their children. Like most parents, the young married couple I’m about to introduce you to has tried to do everything possible to ensure their baby is healthy. 

"We made our own food," the dad says.

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Dusty Rhodes

 

Governor Bruce Rauner visited a handful of schools in central Illinois today to talk to students. 

At Lanphier High School in Springfield, the governor spent about 15 minutes talking to a library full of kids. His message: Education is the key to success, and he’s going to improve education in Illinois. 

“It’s the number one priority,” Rauner said. “To me, for my wife and me, there’s nothing more important than education.  And we’re dedicated to your education, to make sure it’s as best as it can possibly be.” 

Last week we told the stories of our favorite teachers. We hoped that would inspire you, and we weren't disappointed.

We've heard from hundreds of people — on social media, in comments on the blog and via email. Here are a few of our favorites:

Lets start with Facebook. Here's Felix Flauta Jr. in a comment on the NPR page:

Rich School, Poor School

Feb 9, 2015

Beauty and peace radiate across the 319-acre campus of the elegant Cranbrook Schools in suburban Detroit. But in one corner of the upper school, overlooking the manicured lacrosse field, is an angst-filled office where students and their parents come to fret.

On a recent morning there, a pony-tailed soccer player was nervously fiddling with the zipper on her coat as she asked her college counselor if it was really necessary for her to do an admissions interview.

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2015 WUNC-FM. To see more, visit http://wunc.org.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The main federal education law may finally get its long-overdue makeover in Congress this year, and we're going to be hearing and reading a lot about it.

Formally, it's the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. The last time it got a major overhaul was in 2001, with President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. But nothing much has been done with the law since 2007.

If Congress does finally get to it this year, What can we expect?

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Obama went to a red state today to push his plan to cover community college tuition for some students. He touted that proposal at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

(Photo for College of DuPage by James C. Svehla)

The College of DuPage is getting heat about its spending lately.  The focus since last week has been a 760-thousand-dollar severance package for the school president.

That payout has taxpayers wondering how the college is spending their money . . . . . . and students wondering if that could lead to program cuts and tuition hikes.

When College of DuPage trustees met last week to approve a contract buyout for President Robert Breuder, more than 400 people showed up.

And they didn’t come to cheer.

SECRETARY: Chairman Birt.

Pages