Education

The Salt
2:34 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School

Michelle Obama eats lunch with school children at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., in 2012. The first lady unveiled new guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the marketing of junk food to kids during the school day.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it's probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.

And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.

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The Arts
11:22 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Students Compete With 'Poetry Out Loud'

Area high school students who competed in the 2014 Central Illinois 'Poetry Out Loud' Regional Contest
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Most teenagers spend more time on the internet chatting with friends than reading books - let alone poetry. However, the art form has seen a recent resurgence, and in some circles is even considered "hip." In Springfield, 14 area high school students recently competed in the regional version of the Poetry Out Loud contest to recite a wide variety of poems from memory.

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Architecture
2:38 am
Tue February 25, 2014

A College Project That Imagines A Floating City For Oil Workers

View of central crossing of the central hub island, one of dozens of man-made islands envisioned by Rice University architecture students. The islands would serve as a floating city for oil workers off the coast of Brazil.
Rice School of Architecture

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:58 am

Imagine you're in a college-level architecture class and your assignment is to come up with an idea so revolutionary that it could be considered an important advance in industrial design.

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Education
2:32 am
Tue February 25, 2014

The Business Of Frats: Shifting Liability For Trauma And Injury

Students walk past the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house at San Diego State University after news that a student had died there on April 20, 2012.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:55 pm

For those of you keeping track of the headlines detailing sexual assault and hazing at frat houses, it may come as no surprise that fraternities have a dark side. Caitlin Flanagan, a writer at The Atlantic, spent a year investigating Greek houses and discovered that "the dark power of fraternities" is not just a power over pledges and partygoers but one held over universities as well.

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Planet Money
2:32 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount

Students attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average amount of $24,000.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:36 am

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that's for four years."

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

USDA Tells Schools: Don't Refuse Food To Students Who Owe

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:29 pm

U.S. school systems should not take cafeteria lunches away from students whose parents have not paid their accounts, says the Department of Agriculture.

The agency is responding to a January incident in which a Utah elementary school served students food but threw it away when their accounts were found to have a negative balance.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Data Breach At University Of Maryland Exposes 309,000 Records

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 11:35 am

The University of Maryland said one of its databases was the "victim of a sophisticated computer security attack" that exposed the personal information of more than 300,000 faculty, staff, students and others who were issued an ID at their College Park and Shady Grove campuses.

"I am truly sorry," Wallace D. Loh, the university president said in a statement. "Computer and data security are a very high priority of our University."

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District 186
8:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Conference Explores Host Of Disabilities, From ADHD to Autism

Often times, the strongest advocates for students with disabilities are their parents. Dr. Holly Novak is a member of the group Springfield Parents For Students with Disabilities. On Saturday the group hosts its "6th Annual Disability to Possibility Conference" from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at Southeast High School.

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District 186
9:30 am
Wed February 19, 2014

District 186 Moves Up Vaccination Deadline

Springfield District 186 plans to give parents and students a shorter deadline for immunizations and physicals next school year. They'll have to be completed by the 10th day of school, which means around the end of August. That's much sooner than this year's mid-October deadline. Around 500 students failed to comply and some were out of school for up to 3 weeks.

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District 186
9:24 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Parents Angry School Stayed Open, District 186 Responds

Credit Ingrid Taylar/Flickr

Monday's ice storm didn’t stop Springfield public schools from holding classes. But it also meant many school buses were late to pick up students. Parents complained of students waiting up to 45 minutes in the cold and freezing rain as buses maneuvered the slick roads. Many took to the district’s Facebook page to hurl insults about the decision to keep school open.

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Education Desk Features
8:00 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Illinois Lottery: A Shell Game For School Funding?

Lottery ads at the Hometown Pantry
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Many people are aware that the Illinois Lottery helps fund schools. But just how much do the proceeds actually help? Well, that's what we aimed to find out:

    

Most of the money for the state's public schools K-12 come from local sources, like property taxes. The state contributes a large portion as well, and the lottery profits are part of that, but just how much? To find that out, our first stop is the Hometown Pantry at the intersection of Edwards and MacArthur in Springfield.

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Education
2:29 am
Tue February 18, 2014

College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn't

Standardized tests are an important consideration for admissions at many colleges and universities. But one new study shows that high school performance, not standardized test scores, is a better predictor of how students do in college.
Amriphoto iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:26 pm

With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.

That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.

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Higher Education
3:07 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Former State Superintendent Becomes SIU President

Randy Dunn

A former Illinois state superintendent of education has been chosen as Southern Illinois University's new president.  

The SIU board of trustees announced Monday that Randy J. Dunn will be the university's eighth president, replacing Glenn Poshard. Poshard is retiring in June.  
Dunn is currently president of Youngstown State University in Ohio.  

Randal Thomas is chairman of the SIU board. He says Dunn ``has both the skills and the background to ensure that SIU continues to live up to its mission of providing a quality education.''  

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Education at the Statehouse
10:22 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Closer Look At State's Education Funding

Springfield, Ill. (AP) - Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to propose changes to Illinois' school funding formula that would narrow the gap between rich and poor districts. But the upcoming election casts doubts on whether lawmakers will act on the plan detailed in a bipartisan Senate committee report.

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Education
4:31 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Survey: Students' Personal Data Are At Risk

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 6:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Staying with the topic of computers and schools, NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports on a recent survey that found parents may have reason to worry about how schools are protecting student's personal data.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: The survey was conducted by Common Sense Media, which focuses on kids and media issues. Its key finding: Six in 10 parents don't know that schools let private companies store personal data about their children, their grades, their disciplinary behavior, their health records, even what they eat in the cafeteria.

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All Tech Considered
2:39 am
Mon February 17, 2014

A Push To Boost Computer Science Learning, Even At An Early Age

Alex Tu, an advanced placement student, takes a computer science class in Midwest City, Okla. There's been a sharp decline in the number of computer science classes offered in U.S. secondary schools.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:11 am

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Education
12:37 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

States Want Kids To Learn A Lot — Maybe Too Much

A fifth-grade student uses her cursive skills at a school in Baltimore. The Indiana Senate recently passed a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing as an educational standard.
Lloyd Fox MCT/Landov

Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.

Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.

Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.

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Education
7:10 am
Sun February 16, 2014

Schools Fall Behind In Helping Students With Mental Health Issues

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:44 am

A recent Newsweek investigation found that at many colleges and universities, being open about a mental health disorder can mean getting kicked out of school. Newsweek reporter Katie J.M. Baker speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin about the story.

Shots - Health News
12:26 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Here's One More Reason To Play Video Games: Beating Dyslexia

Video games with lots of action might be useful for helping people with dyslexia train the brain's attention system.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:38 pm

Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book rather than a game controller. But for kids with dyslexia, action video games may be just what the doctor ordered.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world's population. Many approaches to help struggling readers focus on words and phonetics, but researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of an attention issue.

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Education
3:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Holidays For Kids Mean Headaches For Administrators

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

School districts typically build emergency days into their calendars in case of bad weather. But this winter's relentless snow and bitter cold have some schools reeling. Now, administrators are scrambling to find creative ways to make up for lost time, even as they prepare for more severe weather. NPR's Cheryl Corley has that story.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: What's the most crucial factor when it comes to schools these days? Not tests or transportation or even grades. It's likely this...

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)

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The Salt
2:09 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

For Lower-Income Students, Snow Days Can Be Hungry Days

When schools close for bad weather, some kids miss out on much-needed nutritious meals. "It's hard to be a hungry person, and it gets harder when the weather is like this," Nancy Roman, president of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., says of severe cold and snow.
Jessica Glazer NPR

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:32 pm

For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.

When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.

This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

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Business
5:16 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Can Underfunded Community Colleges Provide More Job Training?

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Community college leaders are in Washington this week, pushing for a bigger role in getting more people to enroll in two-year schools. They're also pushing the job training that business and industry say they desperately need.

Still, community colleges are significantly underfunded. And as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, it's unclear whether these schools can open their doors to more people or offer programs that are likely to cost a lot more.

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NPR Story
4:22 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Mass. Suit Aims To Clarify Religious Groups' Latitude In Hiring

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And when it comes to hiring pastors and teachers, religious organizations - churches and schools - are exempt from most laws against discriminating and employment. Now a lawsuit in Massachusetts aims to clarify how much leeway those institutions have. For example, can they discriminate against people in same-sex marriages for non-religious jobs like gym teacher or cafeteria worker? NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: Matthew Barrett thought he'd scored his dream job when he was hired to be the boss of a school cafeteria.

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Education
7:10 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Illinois High School Grads AP Test Scores Above Average

Credit flickr/ecastro

A new report has found that Illinois high school graduates are slightly above the national average for Advanced Placement exam scores.  

According to a Advanced Placement Program report released Tuesday, 21 percent of 2013 graduates received an AP exam score high enough for college credit. The national average is 20 percent. Scores of three or more out of five are generally eligible for college credit.  

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Around the Nation
5:41 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Going To College May Cost You, But So Will Skipping It

A new study shows that the income gap between young adults who go to college and those who don't only continues to grow.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:00 pm

In America, total student loan debt tops $1 trillion and a four-year college degree can cost as much as a house — leaving many families wondering if college is really worth the cost.

Yes, a new study of young people finds. The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, looks at income and unemployment among young adults. Paul Taylor, executive vice president of special projects at Pew, says it's pretty much case closed when it comes to the benefits of going to college.

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Education
4:34 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

A 'First Of Its Kind Conference' About Sexual Assault On Campus

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Educators from around the country have spent the last two days talking about sexual misconduct on college campuses. The conference that wrapped up today at the University of Virginia was billed as a first of its kind. It comes nearly three years after the government issued legal guidelines for universities to deal with such misconduct.

As Sandy Hausman of member station WVTF reports, attendees learned how to better support victims, and students spoke out against stereotypes.

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Education
4:34 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Pay Cuts, End Of Tenure Put North Carolina Teachers On Edge

Elementary school students in North Carolina stand outside their school in November, during an event organized by teachers to protest changes in public education.
Dave DeWitt WUNC

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 7:00 pm

Teacher salaries are losing ground fast in North Carolina.

Jennifer Spivey has been a teacher for three years at South Columbus High School, on the north side of the border between the Carolinas. She's been recognized as an outstanding teacher; she has a master's degree, and last summer she won a prestigious Kenan fellowship to improve education. But she still lives in her parents' basement.

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District 186
12:43 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Interview: Jennifer Gill, Incoming 186 Superintendent

Jennifer Gill
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

It took about a year - but Springfield has officially found a replacement for its previous district 186 superintendent. Jennifer Gill will take over the role on May 1st. She's been a teacher and administrator in the district. She'll be leaving her current role as the director of teaching and learning for the McLean County Unit 5 School District. This interview begins with Gill reflecting on how she became a third-generation educator:

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Education
10:07 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Gillespie School Repairs Going Slow

There have been delays rebuilding a tornado-damaged high school gym.  

A tornado ripped off part of a wall of Gillespie High School gym last May. Superintendent Joe Tieman says there have been setbacks in the effort to rebuild the gym. He tells The (Alton) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1ocv2AS ) those include issues with insurance claims, power lines and the harsh winter weather.  
 Tieman says officials thought the gym would be repaired by March, but now it's looking more like May.  

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District 186
11:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

District 186 Considers Tax Referendum Possibilities

Springfield's district 186 is struggling to fill a 5 million dollar gap in the budget for the coming school year. A group of parents and community members say they have an answer to supplementing the district's budget: raise property taxes. But passing a referendum will prove challenging. And if it's going to happen, some say efforts to get the word out need to ramp up now. 

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