Education Desk

Credit Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

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.

Funders include:

  • Anonymous Individual Donors
  • Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln
  • Hope Institute for Children and Families
  • Horace Mann Company
  • HSHS St. John's Hospital
  • Illinois Education Association
  • Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • UIS College of Education & Human Services

Ways to Connect

Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3?

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET Thursday

Citing a need to make "our schools and our state a safer place," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a slate of policy and legislative changes on Wednesday that range from boosting security at schools to doing more to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

The proposals are part of the Governor's School and Firearm Safety Plan — a list of 40 recommendations for making communities safer. He detailed his new school-safety plan at the Dallas Independent School District's administration building.

Dusty Rhodes / WUIS / NPR Illinois

State Senator Chapin Rose had what he thought was a no-brainer bill. All he wanted to do was help public universities connect with promising high school juniors by sharing basic data like standardized test scores. But just hours before presenting his bill in committee, he ran into FERPA — the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

It’s a federal law; there’s no easy way around it.

On Aug. 24, 1952, the Silook and Oozevaseuk families of Gambell, Alaska, welcomed a baby girl into the world and introduced her to the island that had been their home for centuries. Gambell is at the western edge of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. When the weather is clear, you can see Siberia in the distance.

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After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, most of the black students who integrated schools were girls and women.

Eleven days after the shooting that killed eight students and two teachers in a small Texas town, classes are back in session at Santa Fe High School.

Students from the neighboring Alvin school district arrived on school buses today holding signs of support. Others from the community lined the highway to the school.

A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?

May 28, 2018

Justin Napier is exactly the kind of community college graduate Tennessee was hoping for.

In high school, Napier didn't have his eye on college. In fact, he had a job lined up working on race cars after graduation. But in the spring of 2014, a year before Napier graduated, Gov. Bill Haslam announced a plan to make community college free for graduating high school seniors, part of a broader plan to dramatically increase the number of adults in Tennessee with college credentials. It was called, grandly, the Tennessee Promise.

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Visitors to the National Mall on Memorial Day weekend will encounter a wall of bright red poppies, installed to commemorate the men and women who have died in uniform in the century since World War I.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. John Bird tells NPR the project uses 645,000 synthetic flowers — one for each American killed in an international conflict since the start of World War I — pressed against acrylic panels, which are backlit for dramatic effect.

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On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fielded questions about school safety, civil rights and for-profit colleges during a congressional hearing about her department's priorities.

The president of the University of Southern California, C.L. Max Nikias, is stepping down, according to an announcement by the university's board of trustees. The resignation comes as USC is embroiled in a series of scandals that have tarnished the public image of the prestigious private institution in Los Angeles.

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Undergraduate college enrollment in the United States is down for the sixth straight year. This decline is happening across the board in higher education, and that is despite the popularity of a bachelor's degree. Elissa Nadworny of NPR's Ed team has more.

"I want The Three Bears!"

These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.

siue.edu

Legislation that could have severed the Southern Illinois University board of trustees into two separate organizations may be put on ice to allow time for an independent study.

Think of it like a couple considering divorce, and the judge sends them to mediation instead.

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a high school discriminates against a trans student named Gavin Grimm by denying him access to the restroom that corresponds to his gender identity. Grimm says the ruling was "really fantastic," not just for him, but for trans youth in general.

Sometimes 11-year-old B. comes home from school in tears. Maybe she was taunted about her weight that day, called "ugly." Or her so-called friends blocked her on their phones. Some nights she is too anxious to sleep alone and climbs into her mother's bed. It's just the two of them at home, ever since her father was deported back to West Africa when she was a toddler.

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A federal judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of a transgender teen who sued his local school board after it barred him from using the boys' bathroom at his high school. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

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Lawmakers have asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about an NPR report about a troubled grant program for public school teachers. Here's NPR's Cory Turner.

Should Students Stay Away From School?

May 22, 2018

There was another school shooting in the U.S. on Friday.

This time in Santa Fe, Texas.

Santa Fe High School had a shooting plan and armed police officers. Ten people died.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

It's a financial nightmare for public school teachers across the country: Federal grants they received to work in low-income schools were converted to thousands of dollars in loans that they now must pay back.

A group of school superintendents is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner and the State of Illinois seeking more than $7 billion for schools.

German parents are getting busted for taking their kids on vacation when they should be in school.

Police have launched investigations into more than 20 families that were caught playing hooky ahead of a three-day weekend that started on May 19, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported.

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SIU President Randy Dunn says he won't resign - but acknowledges it will take some time to bring opposing groups back together within the university's system.


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