Education Desk

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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

Tough Lessons For Teachers Of Color

Jan 3, 2014

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now. If you have school-age children, they're either home from school this week or just about to go back, so you're probably thinking ahead to what your student will be doing this spring or maybe even doing some snooping about who his or her teacher will be next year. But what you might not know is that for a fair number of teachers, this could be the beginning of the end of their teaching careers.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Kakenya Ntaiya's TED Talk

Kakenya Ntaiya tells the fearless story of challenging ingrained traditions, insisting on continuing school, and becoming the first girl to leave her Maasai village for college.

About Kakenya Ntaiya

There is a widespread narrative in higher education that goes something like this: Colleges and universities have always accepted the best and brightest students; then, due to pressure from outside forces (some of them named "John F. Kennedy"), diversity was thrust upon the academy. In turn, schools meted out race-based scholarships, relaxed standards for certain students in order to fulfill quotas and — poof! — diversity.

Copyright 2017 Rhode Island Public Radio. To see more, visit Rhode Island Public Radio.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.

In theory, students saddled by rising debt and unable to tap into the best schools would be able to take free classes from rock star professors at elite schools via Udacity, edX, Coursera and other MOOC platforms.

John Wood Community College

Two Illinois colleges will share in a $29 million federal grant to retrain unemployed workers for high-skill jobs in transportation, distribution and logistics.  
Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey will lead a consortium of nine colleges in eight Mississippi River states with the goal of placing people in jobs and boosting economic development.  

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on their views of the scientific theory of evolution is widening, according to a new poll released by Pew's Religion & Public Life Project.

The same kind of technology that recommends movies on Netflix or purchases on Amazon is now helping students choose college courses.

A new program developed on a campus in Tennessee uses predictive analytics to suggest classes, and now the technology is spreading across the country and is seen as a way to make higher education more efficient.

On average, graduates take a year's worth of classes they could have done without, or they drop courses before making a bad grade. For Nashville State Community College student Jonathan Hudspeth, it was anatomy and physiology.

Diallo Shabazz was a student at the University of Wisconsin in 2000 when he stopped by the admissions office.

"One of the admissions counselors walked up to me, and said, 'Diallo, did you see yourself in the admissions booklet? Actually, you're on the cover this year,' " Shabazz says.

The photo was a shot of students at a football game — but Shabazz had never been to a football game.

"So I flipped back, and that's when I saw my head cut off and kind of pasted onto the front cover of the admissions booklet," he says.

In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families — some poor, some middle class, some rich — during the first three years of their new children's lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families' homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household.

What they found came to be known as the "word gap."

This story originally aired on Weekend Edition on Sept. 25, 2011.

As a middle-school student in the 1980s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might become a neurosurgeon someday.

That's exactly what Buono did.

How To Create Cheat-Free Classrooms

Dec 26, 2013

Most high school students say they've cheated on a test in the past year, and even more say they've copied homework or other assignments, according to a recent survey. Author Jessica Lahey says it isn't all the students' fault. Lahey and Professor James Lang speak with guest host Celeste Headlee about creating cheat-free classrooms.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The United States has spent a decade trying to improve the standing of its schools compared to the rest of the world. Education researcher Linda Darling-Hammond says the result is disappointing.

In Qatar's rapid race to modernity, the emirate has created a distinctive approach to educating its young: It has effectively imported a host of American universities.

Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family, sits on the Supreme Education Council and owns a few independent schools. For her own children, she wanted a top-flight college education. Her sons were educated in Britain.

Here's the thing about gingerbread houses. You labor over them for hours. You painstakingly decorate them with gumdrops and candy canes.

And then, someone shakes the table it's sitting on, and boom! It all comes crumbling down, leaving a huge, house-shaped hole in your heart.

Never again, we said.

This year, we were determined to build a stronger gingerbread house. One that wouldn't crumble, no matter what. One that could withstand an earthquake.

When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.

Children of color are reportedly over represented in special education classes in Minnesota and other states. For more on whether anything can be done about it, guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Dan Losen of the The Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

The teenager shot in the head by a classmate at a high school outside Denver died Saturday after being hospitalized for eight days.

Claire Davis, 17, was shot at point blank range with a shotgun on Dec. 13 and had been hospitalized in critical condition.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Friday that will give some students who are in the U.S. illegally a break on their tuition.

Christie inked New Jersey's version of the DREAM Act, which the Republican governor supported in his last re-election bid.

The state's Legislature passed the bill after a compromise that dropped a provision that would also have allowed students in the country illegally to be eligible for state financial aid if they qualified under income guidelines, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

Tell Me More has sparked Twitter discussions around diversity in tech at #NPRBlacksinTech. For more on why there's a racial disparity in tech, host Michel Martin talks with physicist Reginald Farrow, entrepreneur Deena Pierott and middle school student Miles Peterson.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, it is the season of giving - along with really corny ads reminding you about that. In a few minutes, we'll talk about the best and worst of charity video campaigns according to one advocacy group. That's coming up.

Cities across the country are receiving the latest numbers on how well their 4th and 8th graders are doing in reading and math. Results are positive, but there's only been incremental changes when it comes to race, gender, and income gaps. Host Michel Martin finds out more.

Washington Irving High used to be a large school of 4,000 students. But today, the elegant, century-old building, its walls painted with murals depicting scenes from New York history, is home to seven separate schools.

The changes at this school, near the hustle and bustle of Manhattan's Union Square, offer a window into the imprint outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made on the city's public school system.

Ten years after education researchers began focusing on big city school systems and monitoring their math and reading scores, there's good news to report. Today, fourth and eighth graders in many of the nation's largest cities have made impressive gains. Surprisingly, school systems with large numbers of low income children have exceeded the national average in both subjects .

The humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon was founded in 1876, but for the first time, an African-American woman will run things. Host Michel Martin talks with President-elect Alexis Wilkinson and Vice President-elect Eleanor Parker about their plans for the magazine.

New research raises concerns about low graduations rates for black college football players. Host Michel Martin finds out more from education reporter Emily Richmond, and professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Copyright 2014 WJCT-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wjct.org.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, we've made it to Wednesday and this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Could we be facing a shortage of lawyers? It hardly seems possible. But according to the American Bar Association, law schools are seeing their lowest number of first-year students since the 1970's.

NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: This year, there were fewer than 40,000 first-year law students, which still seems like a lot. But it's an 11 percent drop from last year, and about a 24 percent drop from 2010, when new enrollments hit an all-time high.

A coalition of churches and religious groups are trying to overturn a California law that aims to accommodate transgender students.

The law, slated to go into effect next year, allows students to use the restrooms and participate on the sports teams of their gender identity rather than their biological sex. But those who oppose the law see it as a threat to students' privacy.

'Nowhere To Go'

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