Education Desk

See the latest reports from NPR Illinois Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes. 

The NPR Illinois Education Desk is a community funded initiative to report on stories that impact you.  Stories on the state of education from K-12 to higher education written by Illinois and national journalists.

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America needs more welders — and soon. Baby boomers with the skill are retiring and not enough young people are replacing them.

In the '80s, when Flashdance brought us Alex the welding woman who really wanted to be a ballet dancer, America had well over half a million welders. Welding was hot. Today, there are about 40 percent fewer welders.

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A new law will require schools to install carbon monoxide detectors.  The law stems from an incident last year. 

About 150 students and staff became ill at the North Mac Intermediate School in Girard..  Turns out it was a problem with the heating system.  A faulty exhaust pipe.  

A carbon monoxide detector would have alerted those in the building.   While the detectors are required for many structures, schools were left out.  

My daughter starts full-time preschool next week, and we are all prepared. Her California grandma sent her a new backpack festooned with flowers and embroidered with her name. We bought sunflower-seed butter for her school lunches, because peanut butter is now banned so that no allergic child has to break out his EpiPen. And we also scrambled to find a week of afternoon child care, because even though this is a program with an extended day that lasts until 6, during the first week, school ends at noon.

Dartmouth College Adds A Robot To Its Practice Football Team

Sep 4, 2015
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Imagine a space shuttle speeding toward Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, the friction outside heating the vessel up to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it enters the atmosphere.

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It's an increasingly popular move in higher education. Hundreds of schools no longer require student applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.

In July, George Washington University became the latest school to throw its considerable weight behind the test-optional movement. Its explanation:

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A survey of one campus reinforces and also adds context to a common statistic. It's often said that, in college, 1 in 5 women - 20 percent - are sexually assaulted.

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Univ. of Illinois

A former University of Illinois graduate student is suing the school's board of trustees and others, claiming administrators retaliated against her after she accused a visiting researcher of sexual harassment. 

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So if you add up all the college costs that students and parents probably didn't plan for — the stuff that isn't tuition and room and board — how big is that number? The National Retail Federation estimates that, this year, it will total $43 billion. That's a hard number to grasp, so let's break it down to one family — mine.

With our daughter now beginning her fourth and hopefully final year in college, here's one thing I've learned: No matter how much you plan to spend, it won't cover everything. Not even close.

uillinois.edu

The University of Illinois is grappling with a requirement of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect in 2016.

Effective January 1st, the university will have to offer health insurance to ALL employees working 30 hours a week or more.  That will include some 23-hundred so-called contingent or temporary employees who don’t qualify for the healthcare that other state workers receive.

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A larger-than-life bronze statue of Jefferson Davis was taken down at the University of Texas today after standing on the South Mall of the campus since 1933, following a legal appeal to keep the controversial memorial in place was rejected.

In addition to the statue of the president of the Confederacy being removed, a statue of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is also being moved to another location on the Austin campus.

Have you ever done your children's homework for them? Have you driven to school to drop off an assignment that they forgot? Have you done a college student's laundry? What about coming along to Junior's first job interview?

If you've ever visited the Fells Point neighborhood on the Baltimore waterfront, you may have noticed an older man standing on the street corner, telescope in hand. Herman Heyn, self-proclaimed "star hustler," has been setting up in the same place almost every night, offering passersby glimpses of the galaxy for close to three decades.

He knows, because he's been keeping count.

"I just finished my 27th year. I've been out on the street 2,637 times," he says. "It's like being on a Broadway show that has a long run."

Bud Worley

The following interview aired Aug. 20, and provides background and context for our series, Black & White.

I’m Sean Crawford, I’m the News Director here at WUIS, and our Education Desk reporter, Dusty Rhodes, has spent much of her time this summer researching racial disparity in school discipline. Starting next week, we’ll be airing a series of reports -- it begins on Monday. I asked Dusty to give us a preview of what we’ll hear.

So what got you interested in this topic?

Simmons College announced it will close the campus master's degree program in business, the only one of its kind in the nation exclusively for women.

Parents, teachers and activists are fighting to defend a high school the Chicago Public School Board voted to close several years ago. They say officials who called for proposals on what type of school to reopen are ignoring their plan.

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Think of an educational tool and you might picture beloved standbys from our Tools of the Trade series, like the abacus and the wooden block. But educators are increasingly turning to software and websites like Khan Academy, Google Apps and Code.org to help them deliver lessons, manage collaboration, do real-time assessments and more.

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Here's an old way of thinking. Young people from prosperous families study abroad at some point. Young people from less prosperous families have no chance. It's pricey to travel overseas.

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Ninety percent of students at Hobgood Elementary in Murfreesboro, Tenn., come from low-income households. Most of the school's teachers don't. And that's a challenge, says principal Tammy Garrett.

"If you only know middle-class families, you may not understand at times why they don't have their homework or why they're tired," Garrett says.

Springfield School District 186

Jennifer Gill has been superintendent of Springfield School District 186 only since May 2013, but she is already confronting racial issues in the district. She has chosen a diverse cabinet of administrators, and she has sent key employees to training sessions in restorative practices. Below is an excerpt of our lengthy conversation about race and discipline:

  How did WUIS decide to do this series?

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

In 2007, Springfield middle schools began implementing a new discipline system that allows teachers to send a kid to the corner for infractions as minor as rolling their eyes. 

Mike Zimmers, president of the District 186 School Board, was principal at Jefferson Middle School when he brought BIST to Springfield. 

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with the story of an English teacher hoping to find a way to make sure that a love for literature takes root. Here's Rebecca Kruth of Michigan Radio.

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