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Mae Benjamins daughter Melody works as Maes personal health care assistant.
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The Janus Effect: Will Mainly African American Women Pay?

Some experts say black women may bear the brunt if union membership declines or financial support lessens as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, which decreed that public sector unions can no longer force workers they represent to pay fees in lieu of union dues. But conservative groups say the cost is justified to protect workers' free speech rights.

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Yolanda Harrington walks one of her students into Barkstall Elementary in Champaign. Harrington, who had dreams of becoming a teacher, makes $18 an hour and works a second job. She has been a paraprofessional for 19 years.
Courtesy of the Student's Family

Could One Answer To Teacher Shortage Be Right Under Our Nose?

Like most states, Illinois is struggling with a severe teacher shortage. And, also like most states, that shortage is felt most profoundly in the area of special education. There is, however, an army of teacher assistants already on the job. Could they help relieve this shortage?

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Education Desk

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Student loan forgiveness applicants largely denied

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Statehouse

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Drone enthusiasts, be aware – the rules for the small, unmanned aircrafts could be changing in Illinois.

A new law bars cities from regulating the use of drones.

The law excludes the city of Chicago, but a spokesman with the Illinois Department of Transportation says it will create consistent rules around the rest of the state.

Jackie Reiser is a co-owner of Measure Illinois – a Springfield-based company that provides drones to oversee power lines and construction sites. She says more unified regulation is a good thing.

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Health+Harvest Desk

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The Illinois Department of Public Health said they are trying to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis A after several neighboring states have experienced their own.

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Arts & Life

Rachel Otwell / Michael Christensen

A fiddling duo is playing Civil War era tunes on the Old State Capitol plaza in downtown Springfield. Near them is a log cabin on wheels (well, technically it's made of cardboard) with a large ball attached to it - fashioned to look as though it was made of iron or steel, with the words "link on to Lincoln." It's old-timey propaganda created by a contemporary Illinois artist.

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Equity

On India's west coast, revelers hoist up statues of an elephant-headed god, and parade them toward the Arabian Sea. They sing and chant, and hand out food to bystanders.

For 10 days, they perform pooja — Hindu prayers — at the statues' feet and then submerge them in bodies of water.

This is a tradition in Mumbai, India's biggest city, near the end of each year's monsoon rains: a festival honoring Ganesh, or Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom and good luck. He has a human body and an elephant head.

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Illinois Economy

Midwest High Speed Rail Assoc.

Imagine trains that travel 200 miles per hour between Chicago and St. Louis, drastically cutting the travel time for that trip.  It’s not far-fetched.  In fact, it’s happening in other places.  But in Illinois, high speed rail has been more about baby steps than giant leaps. 

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A survivor was rescued from inside a Tanzanian ferry two days after it capsized on Lake Victoria, killing at least 207 people.

Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

At least 25 people are dead and 60 others wounded after gunmen fired on a military parade in Iran on Saturday, according to Iranian state-run news outlet IRNA.

IRNA reported that civilians, including women and children, who were watching the parade in the southwestern city Ahvaz, are among the dead and injured.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Maggie Gyllenhaal Takes On The Power Imbalance Of Sex Work In 'The Deuce': When the creators of HBO's The Deuce approached Gyllenhaal about starring as a sex worker on the show, she accepted the role — but only if she could produce as well as act.

Editor's Note: This story contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault.

Guiding her cart down an aisle of a Virginia grocery store, Leigh Michel attracts more attention than the average shopper.

"Do you know where the dog food is?" one man asks her. This kind of attention makes her uneasy.

"No, I don't," Michel answers. "Sorry."

The man assumes Michel would know the answer because her service dog, an English black Labrador named Lizzy, is walking at her side.

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President Trump promised to drain the swamp at a rally last night. He meant the Department of Justice.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Ashley Toliver has written her first book of poems - "Spectra." She joins us from Portland, Ore. Thanks so much for being with us.

ASHLEY TOLIVER: Thanks for having me.

San Diego Rhino Finds A New Home In Tanzania

15 hours ago

A rhinoceros born and raised in San Diego is getting used to a new home in Tanzania. The eastern black rhino is one of about 740 of the critically endangered animals left alive, and he recently completed a 68-hour journey to Africa.

"That was quite the feat," said Beverly "Beezie" Burden who works at the African reserve managed by the Singita Grumeti Fund.

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Community Voices

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

Youth Activist Summit In Springfield Inspired By Parkland Students

Students from a high school in Parkland, Florida turned trauma into activism and a get-out-the-vote campaign . Their high school was the site of a mass-shooting earlier this year. Their work has trickled down to Illinois and Springfield.

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Social Action - Thanks for Sharing!

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Ask The Newsroom: How Are Early Voting And Mail-in Ballots Handled?

In the past, Ann Quackenbush would wake up early on election day to get to her polling place. The elementary school teacher in Champaign says it was often hard to make time to vote during a busy school day. For the primary last March, she tried something different – mailing in her ballot before election day. “It is just incredibly convenient,” said Quackenbush, who has already requested a mail-in ballot for the mid-terms in November. Quackenbush posted to social media encouraging friends to...

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Featured

Statewide: Fall Enrollment Data; Best State Budget Practices; Return Of the "Wide Awakes"

Statewide, with host Sean Crawford, brings you reports and conversations from in and around Illinois.

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Illinois Issues

shape of Illinois in coins
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The People vs. The Budget

When it comes to state spending, Illinois politicians are giving voters what they want. That’s the problem.

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Fake Weed: The Danger And The Appeal

Politics

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In Texas, a race that no one expected to be this competitive. The candidates for Texas Senate battled in a debate last night. KERA's Christopher Connelly reports from Dallas.

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Editor's Note: This story contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault.

Guiding her cart down an aisle of a Virginia grocery store, Leigh Michel attracts more attention than the average shopper.

"Do you know where the dog food is?" one man asks her. This kind of attention makes her uneasy.

"No, I don't," Michel answers. "Sorry."

The man assumes Michel would know the answer because her service dog, an English black Labrador named Lizzy, is walking at her side.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Trump promised to drain the swamp at a rally last night. He meant the Department of Justice.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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50 Years Of Sockin' It To The PTA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOZPBUu7Fro A single mom who wears miniskirts is the scorn of a small town. Fifty years ago this month, the song "Harper Valley P.T.A." made singer Jeannie C. Riley the first woman to hit the top spot on both the pop and country charts . More recently, the song made Rolling Stone 's list of the "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time." Written by renowned country artist Tom T. Hall , "Harper Valley P.T.A." is a clapback to slut-shaming. The shaming comes in the...

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On 'Fanfare For The Common Man,' An Anthem For The American Century

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdqjcMmjeaA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK92hdp6u18 This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem . Aaron Copland 's "Fanfare for the Common Man" begins with dramatic percussion, heralding something big and exciting. Then comes a ladder of simple trumpet notes, solemn and heroic. The whole piece takes less than four minutes to play, but its admirers say it...

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