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Rauner Demands School Funding Bill Now

Lawmakers approved a state budget more than a week ago. But the education portion remains uncertain. For the money to flow, Democrats added a provision that requires enactment of a new school funding plan . Democrats have passed such a plan through both chambers, but Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, says he’ll veto parts of it.

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Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

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Education Desk

This week a highly-anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. Well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied them visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.

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Health+Harvest Desk

The Un-Pretty History Of Georgia's Iconic Peach

Jul 21, 2017

During peach season, Georgia's roads are dotted with farm stands selling fresh peaches. Year-round, tourist traps sell mugs, hats, shirts and even snow globes with peaches on them. At the beginning of the Georgia peach boom, one of Atlanta's major roads was renamed Peachtree Street. But despite its associations with perfectly pink-orange peaches, "The Peach State" of Georgia is neither the biggest peach producing state (that honor goes to California) nor are peaches its biggest crop.

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Arts & Life

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a non-fiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

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Equity

In an attempt to reach a younger and more diverse audience, the largest and most well-known Latino advocacy group in the U.S., the National Council of La Raza, renamed itself this month. The new name, UnidosUS, was announced at the group's 2017 conference in Phoenix. This has caused a rift in the U.S. Latino community — some see it as shedding a dated name, but others see it as leaving a legacy behind.

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Illinois Economy

SJ-R.com

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

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This week a highly-anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. Well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied them visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

Okay, let's get this out of the way right from the start. The Island, the new book by Max Brooks (yeah, the guy who wrote World War Z, the very good zombie book that got turned into that not-very-good Brad Pitt movie) is about Minecraft. The video game Minecraft.

And not a non-fiction book about the creation of Minecraft and its impact on society. Not a guide to playing Minecraft (although, in a weird way, it kind of is). It's a novel, set in the Minecraft universe.

At 14, Jenipher Sanni married a man who already had a wife and kids. He yelled at her a lot. She dropped out of school.

Now 20, she's left her husband and is a newly minted high school graduate. And she's helping girls in her community stay in school.

Walk up the white steps of the front porch where Mary Jo and Mike Picklo live, and you'll see three rocking chairs and a pair of binoculars.

The couple bought their home on five acres in 2003 and planned to spend their golden years overlooking a vista of green farmland and thick trees in western Pennsylvania.

In this week's edition of our education news roundup, we take you from school vouchers to AP exams to community college.

Betsy DeVos speaks to American Legislative Exchange Council

Protests greeted the education secretary in Denver this week at her speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Her family has close ties to the organization, which brings together state legislators, free-market conservatives and corporate sponsors to write model bills that get adopted all over the country.

NPR reporters are returning to their hometowns this summer to find out how they've changed – from job prospects to schools and how people see their community and the country.

Once home to thriving timber and fishing industries, Gold Beach, Oregon now subsists on tourists and retirees looking for a quiet beach, a nice river trip and, in a few cases, marijuana.

I left Gold Beach after graduating from high school in 1985. Back then, it was a blue-collar town dominated by the timber industry.

The president's son and former campaign manager have agreed to negotiate with the Senate Judiciary Committee to voluntarily provide documents and appear behind closed doors ahead of a public hearing next week. Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee says it wants to interview the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort were all present at a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer who they understood would provide "dirt" on Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign.

Leaving federal government service after decades can be, well, liberating.

Just ask James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the former leader of the Central Intelligence Agency. They unloaded on President Trump and the "baffling" way he's embraced Russia while criticizing his own intelligence apparatus during a session at the Aspen Security Forum Friday.

Asked whether the president is taking the Russia threat seriously, Clapper replied: "Well, it's hard to tell. Sometimes I think he's about making Russia great again."

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Illinois Issues Forums

Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and the challenges ahead at the Peoria City Hall.
Sarah Scott / Peoria Public Radio

WATCH-LISTEN: Peoria State Budget Forum

NPR Illinois continued its listening tour on the state's fiscal health co-hosting an Illinois Issues Forum in Peoria on July 20. Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

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Illinois Issues

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois Issues: The Battle Over Transparency And Privacy In The Digital Age

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns. For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

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Featured

'Dunkirk' Director Christopher Nolan: 'We Really Try To Put You On That Beach'

In England, there's something known as the "Dunkirk spirit," shorthand for coming together in times of adversity. It refers to the heroic evacuation of British troops by British civilians in small boats at the beginning of World War II — and it's a story director Christopher Nolan has wanted to tell for a long time. "You've got 400,000 men on this beach [in Dunkirk, France], pretty much within sight of England; the enemy closing in on all sides," Nolan says. "And they were faced with really...

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