Education Desk

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.

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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.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS/Illinois Issues

On Tuesday evening, Apple DeWeese was sitting in the front porch swing with her dad, Aaron, trying to explain how she's feeling about starting school.

"I'm not really excited," she said. "Mostly scared."

What's there to be scared of?

I can remember the weeks before starting school at Skidmore College, furiously trying to finish Gregory Howard Williams' memoir, Life on the Color Line. The book had been assigned as our freshman reading assignment — part of the First-Year Experience at the liberal arts school in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Four years later, Williams spoke at our graduation.

Both houses of Congress have now passed versions of the bill that would update the largest federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, for the first time since 2001. They are big, meaty and complicated, and now they have to be reconciled into one messy Dagwood sandwich of a bill to go to the president.


A nationwide survey recently published found that Illinois school districts typically don’t mention gay, lesbian and transgender students in their anti-bullying policies.

If this isn't an honest-to-goodness crystal ball, it's close.

Neurobiologist Nina Kraus believes she and her team at Northwestern University have found a way — a half-hour test — to predict kids' literacy skill long before they're old enough to begin reading.

When I first read the study in the journal PLOS Biology, two words came to mind: science fiction.

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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

Our next-door-neighbor state has legally ended its relationship with the curriculum associated with Common Core. 

http://themissouritimes.com/19496/state-abandons-common-core-testing/

#thingsthathappenedwhileiwasonvacation

It's official. More than 13 years after President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, it's now ... well, still law. But, as of Thursday, it is one big step closer to retirement.

The U.S. Senate voted 81-17 in favor of a bipartisan overhaul called the Every Child Achieves Act. The move comes just days after House Republicans voted on a rival plan, one that cleared the House without a single Democratic vote. The two bills must now be reconciled before anything makes its way to the president. Obama has already threatened the House bill with a veto.

Ruhy Patel, 17, lives in Doylestown, Pa. When she was 15 she was planning to run for student council office. "All the other people running were boys," she says, "and people were like, 'Well, you're not going to win.' You feel intimidated because you're the only girl in the room. It makes you question if you'd be OK in the field of politics."

Did she drop out? No.

Did she win? "I did!"

"I feel like it kind of makes you want to try harder when people say no," says Patel.

Seattle 11th-grader Elijah Falk added it all up and decided: It made no sense to take the tests.

EIU.EDU

Budget cuts at Eastern Illinois University now include furlough days for 222 employees.  

The Mattoon Journal-Gazette and (Charleston) Times-Courier reports (http://bit.ly/1gCETAy ) that EIU President David Glassman sent a letter to the university community on Wednesday detailing the furloughs.

Last month Glassman sent an email letting employees know that layoffs were possible in July.  

It's a little before 8 a.m. when Mathias Schergen pushes open the side door at Chicago's Jenner Elementary Academy for the Arts.

He walks down the hall toward the office to sign in. It's the same routine he's had as Jenner's art teacher for nearly a quarter century.

"It's gonna be a good day," a colleague calls out. "It's a good day."

They hug. It seems like a typical Friday. Except it's not.

After 23 years at Jenner Elementary, Schergen is retiring.

"Is this your last day?" asks a first-grader.

We know that women and minorities continue to be underrepresented in the STEM fields — that's science, technology, engineering and math. Now dip into #RaceOnTech to find out why. Since Monday, entrepreneurs, scientists, computer scientists and coders from Silicon Valley to Greenbelt, Md., have been sharing their thoughts one tweet at a time.

Coder boot camps. Accelerated learning programs. New economy skills training.

Whatever you call them, these new players in higher education are multiplying. The intensive programs say they can teach job-ready skills in technology, design and related fields. In record time.

We've heard a lot about how people get ugly online — abuse others and bully because they don't have to stand behind their words. But there's an upside to anonymity on the Internet, too: Good things can happen when you don't have to say your name.

On the app Yik Yak, for example, college students are asking for help when they're feeling desperate or even suicidal — and the anonymous crowds are responding with kindness.

How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions Of History

Jul 13, 2015

This summer there's been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past?

Eleventh-grade U.S. history teacher Samantha Manchac is concerned about the new materials and is already drawing up her lesson plans for the coming year. She teaches at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a public school in Houston.

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