Education Desk

"If a kid is in first period when they should still be asleep, how much are they really learning?"

A machine with superhuman intelligence is a staple of science fiction. But what about a machine with just ordinary human intelligence? A machine that's so humanlike in its behavior that you can't tell if it's a computer acting like a human, or a real human?

L. Brian Stauffer / University of Illinois News Bureau

The University of Illinois today released a batch of emails exchanged between Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Provost Ilesamni Adesida, spokesperson Robin Kaler, and others, discussing how to handle the university's job offer to Steven Salaita. The Board of Trustees voted not to approve Salaita, due to his Twitter postings about the Israeli conflict in Gaza. 

If you want your kids to get into an Ivy League school, you might want to read this fascinating story from Fast Company. And btw, my kids call me mom. 

http://www.fastcompany.com/3049289/most-creative-people/use-these-two-words-on-your-college-essay-to-get-into-harvard

This past spring, 5 million students from third grade through high school took new, end-of-year tests in math and English that were developed by a consortium of states known as PARCC.

It's a big deal because these tests are aligned to the Common Core learning standards, and they're considered harder than many of the tests they replaced.

It's also a big deal because until last year, it was all but impossible to compare students across state lines. Not anymore.

Courtesy of Gwen Harrison

Ted Harrison is proud that his son, Malik, plays football for Eastern Illinois University on a full scholarship. But ask Harrison about his son’s history of concussions, and he’s not sure he knows the exact number. He thinks the first one occurred during an afternoon practice early in Malik’s playing career at Springfield High School.

The Harrisons weren't notified by the coaching staff.

“We were alerted by Malik," Harrison says. 

University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise says she is resigning over concerns that what she called ``external issues'' involving her are a distraction to the university.  

University President Timothy Killeen said in an announcement Thursday he will appoint an interim chancellor to take over Wise's duties. Her resignation is effective Aug. 12.  

Here's a number to help frame the debate over whether middle schools and high schools should start later in the morning: A study finds that only 18 percent of these public schools start class at 8:30 a.m. or later, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

The Confederate flag. The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Policing minority communities. Nuclear weapons and Iran. Summer often brings a lull in the news, but not this year. And, come September, students are going to want to talk about these headlines.

But how should teachers navigate our nation's thorny politics?

It's blazingly hot outside and five summer fellows from the Tulane City Center are standing in a playground at a youth center in New Orleans. The architecture students diplomatically describe the playground's design as "unintentional": There's no grass, trees or even much shade, and it's surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The students, both graduate and undergraduate, are there to make the playground a little nicer.

"Right now, it feels like a prison," says Maggie Hansen, the center's interim director.

The College Board has just released the latest curriculum framework for its Advanced Placement U.S. history course, and it appears to have satisfied many of the old framework's critics.

The rewrite comes after anger over its 2014 framework sent the College Board, which administers the AP exam, back to the drawing board.

Chicago Tribune reveals info about new science test required for 5th, 8th and 10th graders this year.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-illinois-science-test-met-20150804-story.html#page=1

Braden Swenson wanders into a semi-rickety wooden shed on his search for gold, treasure and riches.

"Is there any treasure in here?" he asks in the endearing dialect of a 4-year-old. "I've been looking everywhere for them. I can't find any." The proto-pirate toddler conducts a quick search, then wanders away to continue his quest elsewhere.

Not far away, Ethan Lipsie, age 9, clutches a framing hammer and a nine-penny nail. He's ready to hang his freshly painted sign on a wooden "fort" he's been hammering away on. It says, "Ethan, Hudson and William were here."

You're probably at least a little bit racist and sexist and homophobic. Most of us are.

Courtesy of IBHE

Last anybody heard, Gov. Bruce Rauner wanted to cut higher education spending drastically, by more than 30 percent. But with the budget  stalled in the legislature, colleges have no idea how much money they’ll get.  

James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says this kind of chaos costs money.

“This is an extremely inefficient way to run a shop,” he says.

 

On the second floor of Morgan State University's engineering building, Jacob Walker, 12, is putting the finishing touches on a ruler he's just created.

Not yet an actual ruler. One he's designing on the computer. He just needs to add his initials — then it's time to produce it on a 3-D printer.

Jacob starts seventh grade in the fall and has big dreams. Building this ruler is all part of the plan.

"When I was a child," he says, "I loved to play with Legos, and it inspired me to be an engineer when I get older."

The Plan To Give Pell Grants To Prisoners

Jul 31, 2015

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a rare joint appearance on Friday — in prison.

They visited a state-run facility in Jessup, Md., to announce a new plan meant to help some of the 700,000 inmates who are released each year.

It's a pilot program to give prisoners access to federal Pell Grants that would pay for college classes behind bars.

"The cost-benefit of this does not take a math genius to figure out," Duncan said. "We lock folks up here, $35-40,000 every single year. A Pell Grant is less than $6,000 each year."

One day before a district court ruling was to go into effect that would force the NCAA to allow colleges to pay student-athletes $5,000 per year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a stay on that order.

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars.

True, I never basked in the glow of the high school stage. But I have fond memories of working behind the scenes, as stage crew. Dressed in black, I rushed the bed onstage for Tevye's dream sequence in Fiddler on the Roof.

I've also spoken with many people who weren't involved in theater at all but can still — for some reason — remember the shows their schools performed.

There's just something about the high school stage.

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

It's an old and controversial question: Should federal Pell grants be used to help prisoners pay for college?

Tomorrow, at a prison in Jessup, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program to do just that. The new plan would create a limited pilot program allowing some students in prison to use Pell grants to pay for college classes.

The key word there is "limited" — because there's only so much the administration can do. To understand why, we have to go back to November 1993.

Imagine having to build a bridge — a strong bridge — out of nothing but epoxy and spaghetti.

Yeah, hard. Just ask one of the 160 high schoolers who recently finished Engineering Innovation, a rigorous, monthlong summer camp run by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a handful of other cities. They didn't just have to imagine it; they had to do it.

uis.edu

University of Illinois employees won't see pay raises, at least until a state budget is finalized. 

Nearly a month into the new fiscal year, the university is still waiting to see the impact of budget negotiations.

Many high schoolers hoping to attend George Washington University in Washington, D.C., one of the top private universities in the country, breathed a sigh of relief this week.

GWU announced it will no longer require applicants to take the SAT or ACT.

The move comes after the school formed a task force to study the pros and cons of going "test-optional." GWU attracts lots of high-achieving students who do well on both exams, but the task force concluded that the school's reliance on these tests was excluding some high-achieving students who simply don't test well.

Virginia Savage lives in a part of north St. Louis, Mo., that's filled with vacant buildings, including Marshall Elementary. It has been closed for years now, and vines crawl into the building's smashed-out windows. The playground is littered with empty liquor bottles.

Savage went to school at Marshall as a young girl, and now she sees bigger problems beyond all those blemishes: "Drug dealers, drug users, eyesore. That's what I see."

In St. Louis, the student enrollment is one-fourth the size it was in the 1960s. That drop has led the district to close 30 or so schools.

If you looked at the children at the edge of Conrad Cooper's pool, you'd think you were watching an ad for something. Jell-O, maybe. Or a breakfast cereal kids like. They're that cute.

They're lined up on the steps in the shallow end, 10 little ones, ranging from age 2 to 5. The boys are in board trunks, many wearing rash-guard shirts like the weekend surfers they might become years from now. The girls wear bright one-piece suits and two-pieces that show their childish potbellies.

It's been a theory of mine that the assistant principal has the toughest job in education.

I got that idea a long time ago, when I was a student teacher at a middle school.

It seemed the assistant principal's job goes something like this:

New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign.

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