This is the first report of a four-part series on adult education.
The national debate around education usually focuses on childrenin school. But there are 30 million adults in the U.S. who have trouble with basic literacy — they struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule.
It also means it's difficult for them to get and hold onto the most basic jobs.
Illinois schools and school districts get report cards Thursday. Many will appear to have suffered a significant drop in student achievement. But state officials say that’s just because they’ve changed how students are evaluated.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we'll head into the Beauty Shop, where our panel of women commentators and journalists take on some hot topics of the week, including adult Halloween costume dilemmas. And we'll ask if Jay-Z has another problem to add to his 99 - we promise we'll explain all that.
Want to do well on the essay portion of the SAT? Just make it up! Or at least that's one professor's view. Host Scott Simon speaks to English professor Anne Ruggles Gere of the University of Michigan, who says that the college entrance exam is turning out a generation of bad writers who are fast and loose with the facts.
A growing number of school districts across America are trying to weave tablet computers, like the iPad, into the classroom fabric, especially as a tool to help implement the new Common Core state standards for math and reading.
Demolition has begun at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 students and six adults last December. Bricks will be pulverized, steel melted down and a new school built at the same location.
Allison Hornak attended Sandy Hook Elementary School as a kid. After college, she returned home to Newtown, Conn., and opened an art gallery that's within walking distance of where the mass killing took place.
Hornak says she has a lot of fond memories of Sandy Hook — like a teacher who let her chew gum in class, and the pathways through the school.
A search firm hired by district 186 to help in the hunt for a new Springfield public schools superintendent recently shared its findings after turning to parents, teachers, and the community at large for feedback. Board member Scott McFarland joins us to discuss some of the findings, and talk about the profile of qualities being sought after in a superintendent candidate:
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 3:32 pm
Call it a linguistic identity crisis.
Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., 25-year-old Danielle Alvarez says, she and her two siblings didn't have much need for Spanish. With few other Hispanic families around, she got by with the few phrases she had picked up from her Mexican-born father: good night, put a coat on, be careful.
Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level. That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade. 1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.
The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing. The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions. That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.
A group of parents who have students in Springfield public schools took their push for a property tax increase before the District 186 board last night. They’re pursuing the issue - despite the fact the school board vice president recently proposed the idea of a 1% county-wide sales tax increase. Supporters of the property tax idea say it would benefit the general education fund while the sales tax hike, by law, would be used for building needs.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:14 pm
The University of Miami "lacked institutional control" and didn't notice multiple violations by a booster who for years gave cash and gifts to athletes, the NCAA said. But the organization says the school's football team can play in the postseason, stopping short of the harshest punishment available.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 11:46 am
Michael Landsberry, the 45-year-old middle school math teacher and Afghan War veteran who was killed Monday trying to talk down a student shooter at a Nevada middle school, is being remembered as a hero.
Witnesses at Sparks Middle School in the city of Sparks, near Reno, described how Landsberry approached the armed 13-year-old boy and tried to get him to surrender a semi-automatic pistol he had used to shoot two fellow students. The boy then turned the weapon on Landsberry, fatally shooting him, before using the pistol to take his own life.
At the 200-year-old U.S. Military Academy at West Point, tradition dictates everything. That includes the habit of having freshmen stand in the yard everyday and call cadets to lunch. It's also tradition that the overwhelming majority of the graduating class will be white and 84 percent male.
Some say those rates are due to natural patterns of matriculation.
"Women will naturally matriculate — or, they have naturally matriculated — into the academy at about the 16 to 17 percent rate," says West Point admissions director Col. Deborah McDonald.
Bradley University has a new mascot for the first time in more than 20 years. The Journal Star reports (http://bit.ly/16gYekk) the school said in a news release Friday that it has chosen the gargoyle as its new mascot. The Peoria school will keep the nickname ``Braves.'' School officials have said Bradley stopped using a mascot at some point before 1990 as pressure to drop American Indian mascots increased.
Philadelphia Public Schools have been facing a funding crisis. There have been a series of layoffs, including assistant principals, school nurses and counselors. Some funding has come through to rehire hundreds of staffers, but not any new nurses. Host Scott Simon speaks with Eileen DiFranco, who has been a school nurse in the city for more than 23 years, about the situation.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has again suspended state funding to the United Neighborhood Organization, the state's biggest charter-school operator. Quinn spokeswoman Sandra M. Jones told the Chicago Sun-Times the final $15 million of a $98 million state school-construction grant the Illinois Legislature promised UNO in 2009 is being withheld. Quinn previously suspended funding for UNO in April, after reports the organization gave $8.5 million of business to companies owned by the brothers of then UNO executive Miquel d'Escoto.
School administrators in Illinois are being warned to prepare for even less state funding for the next fiscal year. The Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports (http://bit.ly/16g1Hjd ) the Illinois State Board of Education is telling school districts to prepare to receive about 85 percent of the normal general state aid payments. This year, the qualifying districts are getting 89 percent of the money.
It opened in the late 19th century as the Bluefield Colored Institute, created to educate the children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. Although it still receives the federal funding that comes with its designation as a historically black institution, today Bluefield State College is 90 percent white. The road that separates those realities is as rocky as any story of racial transition in post-World War II America.
We went to the campus of Bluefield State to see what campus life was like at this unusual college.
The black male achievement gap has always been a hot-button topic. But a new film - 13 years in the making - attempts to address that issue by chronicling the experiences of two black boys as they navigate a prestigious private school. Host Michel Martin speaks with filmmakers and parents, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, and their son Idris Brewster, about the film American Promise.
For many high school students this year, the already stressful process of applying to college has been made far worse by major technical malfunctions with the Common Application, an online application portal used by hundreds of colleges and universities.
"It's been stressful, to be honest," says Freya James, a senior in Atlanta applying to five schools — all early admissions. The Common App has been a nightmare, the 17-year-old says.
Tens of thousands of freshman have just finished their first month in college. They've signed up for classes, met a bunch of other people and, if history is any guide, asked themselves a question: What am I doing here? Everyone else is smarter and better adjusted than I am. And for some, that question totally changes the college experience, may even cause them to drop out, which is why a researcher was determined to intervene. He told his story to NPR's Shankar Vedantam, who's here to tell it to us. Hi, Shankar.
Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.
A New York school has taken soccer balls, footballs — and maybe even the fun — out of recess. Officials say hard balls are a safety concern, but critics say they're being too cautious. Tell Me More's parenting roundtable weighs in.
Sunny Palo Alto, Calif., is awash in multimillion-dollar homes, luxury Tesla electric cars and other financial fruits from a digital revolution the city helped spark. The Silicon Valley city is home to Stanford University, at least eight billionaires, and one mobile home park.
The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of affirmative action again Tuesday, but this time the question is not whether race may be considered as a factor in college admissions. Instead, this case tests whether voters can ban affirmative action programs through a referendum.
Millions of American school children begin the day with the pledge of allegiance. But do they, or their teachers, really understand what it means? Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with journalist Mary Plummer, of KPCC, and Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Millikin University in Decatur has a new president. Trustees at the school hired interim president Patrick White to take the post permanently. He began working in the interim position in July. The 64-year-old succeeds Rich Dunsworth, who also held the interim job after Harold Jeffcoat retired in January. White had worked as president of Wabash College in Indiana and says he's excited to make the Millikin position permanent.