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

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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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This week, another school shooting is dominating news headlines. At least 10 people were killed, and 10 others wounded, when a gunman opened fire inside Santa Fe High School, a small-town high school located halfway between Houston and Galveston, Texas.

This is a developing news story, you can check npr.org for the most recent updates.

Betsy DeVos spotlights religious schools on NYC trip

Updated at 10:45 p.m. ET

At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside a small-town Texas high school, in what Gov. Greg Abbott called "probably the worst disaster ever to strike this community."

Ten others were wounded in the morning attack at Santa Fe High School.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Inspire to Action.

About Diane Wolk-Rogers's TED Talk

As a history teacher who lived through the horrific Parkland school shooting, Diane Wolk-Rogers describes what it takes for movements to inspire change — and how her students are doing that now.

About Diane Wolk-Rogers

siu.edu

Documents published today by the Southern Illinoisan newspaper have sparked calls for the immediate resignation of Randy Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University. For weeks, lawmakers have been mulling a package of bills — one of which would boost funding to the Edwardsville campus, another would split the two campuses entirely, and the third would reconstitute SIU's Board of Trustees. The documents published today suggest that Dunn may have withheld information from the Carbondale campus chancellor in an effort to funnel more than $5 million in state funds to the Edwardsville campus and split SIU into two separate schools.

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MSU Interim President On Nassar Settlement

May 17, 2018

NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Michigan State University interim President John Engler about the $500 million settlement for victims of university athletic doctor and convicted sex abuser Larry Nassar.

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The months-long wave of teacher protests, which has rolled through roughly half a dozen states already, swelled and crashed on the front stoop of North Carolina's Capitol building Wednesday. Demonstrators donned red and gathered in the capital, Raleigh, to demand better pay and better school funding.

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In North Carolina today, thousands of teachers descended upon the state capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Remember, remember, we vote in November.

Michigan State University has agreed in principle to pay $500 million to settle claims by hundreds of women and girls who say disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar abused them.

Under the terms of the agreement, the school will pay $425 million to those 332 current claimants, with $75 million set aside in a trust fund for any future claimants who allege sexual abuse by Nassar.

School officials have issued warnings to parents ahead of the second season of the Netflix drama "13 Reasons Why," which premieres this week.

Sally Merryman has taught middle school Spanish in North Carolina for more than 20 years. She, like thousands of teachers from all over the state, plans to march on the state capitol in Raleigh this week.

"I think a lot of us started to see, 'well shoot, if West Virginia can do it, North Carolina can do it,' " she told NPR's Ari Shapiro. "If Oklahoma can do it, North Carolina can do it. If Arizona can do it, so can North Carolina."

A teenage brain is a fascinating, still-changing place. There's a lot going on: social awareness, risk-taking, peer pressure; all are heightened during this period.

Until relatively recently, it was thought that the brain was only actively developing during childhood, but in the last two decades, researchers have confirmed that the brain continues to develop during adolescence — a period of time that can stretch from the middle school years into early adulthood.

Last week, teachers-to-be WinnieHope Mamboleo and Cristina Chase Lane marched across the graduation stage at North Carolina State University.

This week, they'll be marching with future colleagues at the state capitol in Raleigh, asking for better pay and better school funding.

North Carolina is the sixth state to see teacher walkouts in the past four months. The others are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. The Tar Heel state ranks 39th both in per-student spending and in average teacher pay as of 2017.

Fraternity Culture And Racism

May 12, 2018

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Here at NPR Ed, we write a lot about four-year colleges and universities. But we know there are many other paths to degrees and jobs.

Are you heading to a career or technical program to prepare for a job? Or are you working toward an associate's degree or a certificate?

Maybe you're forgoing a degree entirely for an apprenticeship program.

We want to hear about your choice — and how you decided.

Late spring is graduation season for schools across the United States. It's a time of joy and hope for many, but for DACA recipients and their families it can bring added anxiety. For many of these "DREAMers," the threat of deportation looms over their graduation celebrations.

NPR's Scott Simon spoke with Jessica Moreno-Caycho, a DREAMer graduating this May from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Moreno-Caycho said she came with her family to the United States from Peru in 2003. She was 8 years old when she arrived.

U.S. News and World Report released its rankings of the best high schools in the country on Wednesday. These numbers are based on student test scores — U.S. News compared those test scores to state averages as a way of calculating how well a school serves its student body. The rankings also factor in graduation rates and AP and IB exams.

It's a single line in an email:

"The office of 'Students & Young Consumers' ... will be folded into the office of 'Financial Education.' "

Words sent Wednesday morning by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's acting director, Mick Mulvaney, announcing various staffing changes at the bureau.

Why did this bureaucratic-sounding announcement trigger a sheaf of critiques from consumer groups, California's attorney general and at least two U.S. senators?

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Thousands of service workers marched on campuses across California on Wednesday, marking the final push of a planned three-day strike that began earlier this week. Custodians, cafeteria staff, truck drivers and nurse's aides, among others, took up signs and slogans to call attention to their floundering contract negotiations with the University of California system.

Scott Barry Kaufman was placed in special education classes as a kid. He struggled with auditory information processing and with anxiety.

But with the support of his mother, and some teachers who saw his creativity and intellectual curiosity, Kaufman ended up with degrees from Yale and Cambridge.

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