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.
The University of Miami's athletic director, Blake James, walks to an NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing in Indianapolis in June. The school's failings "enabled a culture of noncompliance," the NCAA said Tuesday, in announcing penalties for the school and its football and men's basketball coaches.
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.
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.
Deirdre Guyton, the school's director of alumni affairs, is proud of Bluefield State College's history and wants to preserve it. Here, she holds up a photo of the school's football team from 1927 to 1928, when it was the best black college team.
Credit Shereen Marisol Meraji / NPR
Antonio Bolden, a 19-year-old student and baseball player, is a rarity at Bluefield State: He started college right after high school and isn't from the region.
Credit Jon C. Hancock / AP
Conley Hall, home of the library and administrative offices of Bluefield State College, photographed in April 2004.
Credit Shereen Marisol Meraji / NPR
Bluefield State College is carved into the side of a hill overlooking the train tracks and the town below. This is one of two signs about the school's history that sit at the very top of campus.
Credit Shereen Marisol Meraji / NPR
Gloria P. Brown, Class of 1951, wore her sorority colors to a homecoming event. The guest speaker, E. Ray Williams, a black World War II vet, credited the life he'd been able to live to the college.
Credit Shereen Marisol Meraji / NPR
The homecoming dance was sparsely attended this year. Bluefield State College no longer has a football team or dorms, and the average student age is 27 years old.
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.
Palo Alto middle school student Jennifer Munoz Tello (right) stands outside her family's trailer in Palo Alto with her mother, Sandra, and 2-year-old sister, Cynthia.
Credit Eric Westervelt / NPR
Erika Escalante is a program coordinator for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She grew up in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and now lives there with her husband and 6-year-old son, Andre Xavier Bracamontes.
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.
An unnamed district 186 employee has admitted to stealing money from the Springfield public school system, according to the interim superintendent Bob Leming. Leming told WUIS a police investigation started last week - and while the Southeast High School employee in question apparently admitted guilt, the investigation is still underway with the Illinois State Police.
Tourists are dwarfed by the Very Large Array in 2005. The facility, on the Plains of San Agustin, 50 miles west of Socorro, N.M., has been closed as a result of the government shutdown. The VLA consists of 27 radio antennas linked together to simulate the capabilities of a single dish 17 miles in diameter.
On Saturday night I saw Gravity, the new semi-realistic space survival flick. I thought: an astrophysicist's view of this film would certainly be worth a 13.7 post. But I've left that thought behind for an email I had received the day before:
The Springfield public school board is on the hunt for more revenue. The latest idea is actually one that was tried before. Board vice president Adam Lopez says the district should push again for a one percent sales tax hike. While a parent's group wants a property tax referendum, Board President Chuck Flamini says raising the SALES tax would mean tourists and others coming in to the area to shop would contribute.
Voters in Newtown, Conn., have approved a plan to use nearly $50 million in state funds to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary and build a new school in its place. This photo provided by Craig Hoekenga shows his son Trey, a kindergarten student at Sandy Hook, on the school bus this year. The window has a quote from the late principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in last December's mass shooting.
Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 1:23 pm
In a referendum marked by a large turnout and an emphatic result, the people of Newtown, Conn., have voted to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary and build a new school. Sandy Hook was the scene of a mass shooting last December, when 20 children and six staff members were killed.
Saturday's vote asked citizens to decide whether to take nearly $50 million in state money to fund the demolition of Sandy Hook and the planning and construction of a new school on essentially the same site.