A California judge today ruled the state's laws governing teacher tenure and the firing of public school teachers unconstitutional, saying they interfere with the state's obligation to provide every child with access to a good education.
The plaintiffs in the case, Vergara v. California, argued that the tenure system for public school teachers in California verges on the absurd, and that those laws disproportionately harm poor and minority students. In his ruling, Judge Rolf M. Treu agreed.
We have been talking a lot about the cost of college on this program lately and the difficulty some graduates face paying off student loans. Tomorrow, we'll hear how some places are experimenting with free community college.
SARA GOLDRICK-RAB: It's time to make some version, some kind of piece of higher education really and truly affordable to Americans as we think about the future of our economy.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. It's graduation time on college campuses around the country - a time for students and their families to celebrate. But as President Obama noted at the White House yesterday, for many students, it's also a time when the bills start coming due.
President Obama made big news today for student loan borrowers. He said he'll use his executive power to expand a program called Pay As You Earn, which limits borrowers' monthly debt payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income. Under the program, loans don't just get less expensive; they can actually disappear. The balance of a loan is forgiven after 20 years â€” 10 years if the borrower works in public service (for government or a nonprofit).
More than 30 million kids a year participate in the National School Lunch Program, getting free or reduced-price meals at school. Hunger experts believe many more qualify but don't use it because a.) their families haven't filled out the necessary paperwork or b.) they don't want to be seen as poor.
At least three people were wounded and one was killed after a lone gunman opened fire on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, according to Seattle police. Officials say the alleged shooter is in custody.
"The talk." The facts of life. The birds and the bees. Whatever you call it, do you remember when and how you first learned about human sexuality? For me, it was a series of conversations in school and with my parents that began in third grade with the classic picture book Where Did I Come From?.
Conde Nast, the magazine publishing company known for The New Yorker, Wired and Vogue, is getting into the US higher education market.
As our public media colleagues at Marketplace reported, the company is partnering with a venture capital firm and some as-yet-unnamed universities to launch a set of co-branded certificate courses, and eventually a master's degree.
Why is a media company getting into the higher education business? And why now?
For many young people, college graduation marks the entry into what grown-ups call "the real world." But if you're a new graduate with a mental health condition, the transition can be especially challenging.
Many young people start managing their own health care for the first time when they graduate. And while finding and paying for a psychologist or psychiatrist can be difficult at any age, for young people who don't have steady jobs or stable paychecks, the task can be especially daunting. Perseverance and planning ahead help.
Wearing a red Union Bank polo shirt, high school senior Jerry Liu politely helps a peer with a bank deposit. With a waiting area and even a decorative plant on the table, this could be any bank branch â€” but right outside this island of adulthood are the hallways of Lincoln High School in Los Angeles.
This is one of three student-run Union Bank branches in California. They're all located in low-income, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. You can only bank here if you're a student, teacher or parent, but these are real accounts handling real money.
This time next year, millions of schoolkids in the U.S. will sit down for their first Common Core test. In some places, the stakes will be high â€” for kids, their teachers and their communities. The goal of the Core benchmarks in reading and math is to better prepare students for college, career and the global economy. But the challenges are huge.
Right now, America's schools are in a sprint. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. That means new learning benchmarks for the vast majority of the nation's young students â€” millions of kids from kindergarten through high school. And, for many of them, the Core Standards will feel tougher than what they're used to. Because they are tougher.
The federal law that governs special education lays out the goals pretty clearly: Students are entitled to an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
But some parents of children with autism feel their local public schools aren't meeting their kids' needs. And with autism diagnoses rising, new schools are emerging specifically for autistic children.
Some parents see these specialized schools as a godsend. For others, they raise a new set of questions.
At our neighborhood playground in Brooklyn, you can hear kids shouting and playing in Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, Tagalog, French, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Polish. This kind of giddy cacophony has been par for the course in New York City for 150 years, but it's becoming more and more common across the country.
The numbers are grim. Black boys are more likely than white boys to live in poverty, and with a single parent. They're also more likely to be suspended from school and land in prison, and less likely to be able to read.
The nation's largest experiment with charter schools is expanding.
The Recovery School District, a state control board that runs most schools in New Orleans, shut down the last of its five traditional public schools this week, making it the first all-charter system in the nation.