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

The week before winter break, snow is piled up around St. Louis Park High School, a low-slung, rambling brick complex in suburban Minneapolis. And more snow is falling.

This is a big, diverse school with proud roots. Alumni include Joel and Ethan Coen, who shot their semiautobiographical 2009 drama, A Serious Man, in this area, once a Jewish enclave, which today has immigrants from all over the world.

As of Thursday morning, SB 151 was a bill about sewage services.

But by the time both chambers of the Kentucky Legislature had passed it that night, the amendment process had turned the bill about sewage into a 291-page overhaul of public employees' retirement benefits. Now, it rests on Gov. Matt Bevin's desk awaiting his signature — and teachers across the state are livid.

I never met Linda Brown in person. But like many Americans I knew her story. And her death on Sunday reminded me that, in 1996, my NPR colleague and producer Walter Ray Watson and I spent several days in Topeka, hoping to find another layer to Linda's story and her role in the Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

I've been reporting on school segregation — and desegregation — for years and Brown's passing reminded me of this visit to the place where, in a sense, this story began.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Our series Take A Number is exploring problems around the world — and the people who are trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

The solution first: 15. More precisely, 15 books.

That's Alvin Irby's answer to a problem he knows all too well as a former kindergarten teacher: How to get children of color excited about reading if they don't have much experience with books or reading outside of school, and the books they see inside of school don't speak to them.

Updated at 12:10 a.m. ET Friday with additional comment from Weber Shandwick

Michigan State University spent more than $500,000 to keep tabs on the online activities of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's victims and journalists covering the case, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Linda Brown Thompson of Brown v. Board of Education died this week. In 1954, the decision was supposed to desegregate schools. Now, 64 years later, NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Georgetown University law professor Sheryll Cashin about the effects.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Marcelo Gleiser is a theoretical physicist and writer — and a professor of natural philosophy, physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He is the director of the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth, co-founder of 13.7 and an active promoter of science to the general public.

America needs teachers committed to working with children who have the fewest advantages in life. So for a decade the federal government has offered grants — worth up to $4,000 a year — to standout college students who agree to teach subjects like math or science at lower-income schools.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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So a mysterious foreign visit really is not that mysterious anymore.

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Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.

Copyright 2018 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

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Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Tuesday

Linda Brown, who as a schoolgirl was at the center of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that rejected racial segregation in American schools, died in Topeka, Kan., Sunday afternoon. She was 76.

Her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Hundreds of thousands of marchers rallied across the United States and around the world Saturday to demand action against gun violence. The "March for Our Lives" protest displayed the resilience behind a new wave of political activism, led by survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

For many students, the rallies were their first demonstration for a cause and a social reckoning of what they are capable of. They bundled in the nation's capital, delivering a defiant message: stricter gun regulation.

Hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, parents and victims gathered in Washington, D.C., and across the country on Saturday to rally for tougher gun control measures.

I'm an illustrator at NPR and I was in our nation's capital with a sketchbook and some pens. Here's what I saw:

Money talks and students walk in this week's edition of the education news roundup.

National student march

Our latest NPR Ed video takes on that question so many parents are asking: How much time should my kid spend looking at phones and screens and tablets and TVs and ...

In a nutshell (and inspired by food writer Michael Pollan), my advice is:

"Enjoy screens. Not too much. Mostly together."

Bruce Rauner
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The final piece of Illinois’ education funding overhaul has been signed into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday approved legislation intended to tie up loose ends in original law, which passed last summer.

On Saturday, thousands of youth activists are expected to participate in the "March for Our Lives," — in Washington, D.C.; in Accra, Ghana, Israel, Chile and elsewhere around the world.

Parkland Survivor On 'March For Our Lives'

Mar 23, 2018

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After the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, students across the country have raised their voices to protest gun violence: "Enough is enough." "Never again." "Not one more."

For Lela Free, a freshman in Marshall County, Ky., another phrase comes to mind.

"We should have been the last," she says.

Just weeks before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, a student armed with a handgun entered Marshall County High School in Kentucky. He killed two students, and injured 18 others.

Courtesy of Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

For more than 30 years, kids with a certain streak of genius have found a home at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in suburban Chicago. It’s the rarest of gems in the educational landscape: a public, affordable, boarding school. One of just a handful of such schools nationwide, Wired magazine dubbed it “Hogwarts for Hackers.” But now, after the state’s two-year budget impasse, lawmakers are pondering a proposal that would welcome wizards from outside of Illinois — for a price.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

An obscure, technical bit of legislation could make a big difference for some of the state’s youngest students. It’s meant to tie up all the loose ends on the massive school funding reform lawmakers approved last August. This cleanup bill contains more than a dozen changes, plus language that would fund bilingual education for students in pre-kindergarten classes. All it needs is the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner.

 

Without that?

Nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers do not want to carry guns in school, and they overwhelmingly favor gun control measures over security steps meant to "harden" schools, according to a new Gallup poll.

If you've ever gone down the rabbit hole that is OK Go's YouTube channel, then you know how insanely cool the band's music videos are.

Remember that skeleton hanging in the front of your biology — or art — classroom?

It's possible those bones are not plastic, but actual human remains. A lot of classroom skeletons, in high schools, universities and medical schools, are real.

Democrats got their shot at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday, when she testified before a House committee about her department's proposed budget.

The hearing followed widespread criticism of DeVos for lackluster performances on 60 Minutes and the Today show earlier this month. She remains one of the most unpopular members of President Trump's Cabinet and continues to anger Democrats over many issues.

A new study conducted by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, finds that in 99 percent of neighborhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. This undermines the widely-held belief that class, not race, is the most fundamental predictor of economic outcomes for children in the U.S.

The Reality Of School Shooting Drills

Mar 18, 2018

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

More and more schools are using drills to prepare students and staff for the possibility of an active shooter. Today, we go inside one classroom's code red drill. It's in the same Florida district as the Parkland shooting took place. Rowan Moore Gerety has the story.

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