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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Every two years, Springfield teachers elect a union president. This year, that election was a squeaker. With close to 1,500 teachers voting, a new president was elected by a narrow, nine-vote margin.

There’s no way to know how many of those teachers were aware that — less than a year earlier — the teacher they elected as their leader had appeared before the Springfield School Board to defend himself against allegations that he had put a 7th-grader in a chokehold.

The United Nations says “we’ll need to cut emissions by half before 2030 and go carbon-neutral by 2050,” according to a new report. At least, that’s how Wired summarized.

Before she was on the BBC's list of "100 inspirational and innovative women for 2017"...

Before she was given the "Diamond Ball Honors Award" by the charitable Clara Lionel Foundation started by the singing star Rihanna ...

She was Angeline Murimirwa, a little girl in Zimbabwe who loved school but was afraid she wouldn't get to continue her education.

Imagine a small, developing nation whose education system is severely lacking: schools are poorly funded, students can't afford tuition or books, fewer than half of indigenous girls even attend school — and often drop out to take care of siblings or get married.

These are the schools of rural Guatemala.

Now meet a firebrand educator who thinks he has a way to reinvent schools in Guatemala.

His school is called Los Patojos, a Spanish word used in Guatemala that means "little ones."

Saleem Abbas is the kind of student who sits in the front row. He's the first to try to answer a question. He eagerly repeats the Mandarin expressions that his teacher throws at the class: "Is this your family or not?" he repeats after the teacher. Then: "I have a mother."

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

In the wake of the #metoo movement and the spotlight on assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, more states — including Illinois — are rethinking how sex education should be taught in public schools.  

Sans Forgetica: A Font To Remember

Oct 6, 2018

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It's been a little more than 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in the U.S. In that time, the series has become beloved by many — and sparked controversy among others, often making it onto lists of banned books.

NPR wants to hear from teachers who incorporate Harry Potter into their yearly curriculum. Whether you're just starting out and have loved the books since you were a child or you're a seasoned veteran who has taught about Hogwarts for years, we want to hear about the experiences you've had with your students.

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

Report: Most schools now have high-speed internet access

40.7 million students have gained access to high-speed Internet over the last five years. That's according to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the digital divide in American classrooms. There are still 2.3 million students unconnected, according to the group's most recent annual report.

A dean at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has been suspended for a tweet that, according to university officials, "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity" to sexual assault survivors.

William Rainford, dean of the university's National Catholic School of Social Service, posted the tweet on his official university account last week, one day before Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh made back-to-back appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Our Take A Number series is exploring problems around the world, and people solving them, through the lens of a single number.

Ron Ferguson, an economist at Harvard, has made a career out of studying the achievement gap — the well-documented learning gap that exists between kids of different races and socioeconomic statuses.

But even he was surprised to discover that gap visible with "stark differences" by just age 2, meaning "kids aren't halfway to kindergarten and they're already well behind their peers."

Does the neighborhood you grow up in determine how far you move up the economic ladder?

A new online data tool being made public Monday finds a strong correlation between where people are raised and their chances of achieving the American dream.

Harvard University economist Raj Chetty has been working with a team of researchers on this tool — the first of its kind because it marries U.S. Census Bureau data with data from the Internal Revenue Service. And the findings are changing how researchers think about economic mobility.

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Shiru Cafe looks like a regular coffee shop. Inside, machines whir, baristas dispense caffeine and customers hammer away on laptops. But all of the customers are students, and there's a reason for that. At Shiru Cafe, no college ID means no caffeine.

"We definitely have some people that walk in off the street that are a little confused and a little taken aback when we can't sell them any coffee," said Sarah Ferris, assistant manager at the Shiru Cafe branch in Providence, R.I., located near Brown University.

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

A new education budget awaits approval

A new spending bill could add $581 million to the Department of Education's budget. The legislation would bolster career and technical training and programs that serve low-income students.

Chicago Public Schools will lose millions of dollars in grant money for what federal officials say is a failure to protect students from sexual abuse.

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Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

As districts around the state begin reaping the benefits of Illinois' new school funding formula, Democratic lawmakers who just happen to be up for re-election gathered today to remind voters that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner initially vetoed that funding, and likewise vetoed legislation that would raise minimum teacher salaries to $40,000 over the next five years.

 

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who sponsored the legislation and is seeking re-election, says it's possible to get enough votes to override the veto when the General Assembly convenes shortly after midterm elections in November.

This question came up again and again Tuesday during an at-times heated hearing of the Senate's education committee: Does the law allow schools to use federal money to arm teachers?

The federal money in question comes from Title IV of the big, k-12 federal education law known as The Every Student Succeeds Act. It's a billion-dollar pot intended for what the law calls "student support and academic enrichment."

Eric Lichtenberger in office
NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

lllinois has historically ranked second in the nation when it comes to high school graduates leaving the state to go to college. But there's good news for a certain set of students who opt to stay.

 

New data released by the state Board of Higher Education shows Illinois is tops in the nation for getting students who start out at community college through to a bachelor's degree.

At midnight, Oct. 1, the rush begins.

Starting this semester, the Colorado School of Mines is offering the world's first degree programs in Space Resources — essentially mining in outer space.

It's not just academic institutions like the School of Mines taking note; a small but growing number of startups expect this to be very big business sooner than a lot of us might think.

Krista Holland wanders past huddles of people at a storm shelter in Chapel Hill, N.C. Some are wearing Red Cross vests; others are in bathrobes and pajamas. The Wilmington principal is looking for any of her students who may have evacuated to the shelter before Hurricane Florence made landfall.

She recognizes a young man wearing earbuds.

"You remember me," the longtime educator says. "Ms. Holland?"

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

Student loan forgiveness applicants largely denied

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