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

Crayons, of course. Scented markers. Colored pencils, presharpened. And coloring books by the jillions.

Why do people like coloring so much? For grown-ups, I can totally get the nostalgia — and the simple pleasure of creating something.

But here at NPR Ed, we're all about kids and learning. And so, as parents head to the store this summer with their back-to-school lists, we thought this question was worth a serious look:

Voices Of Empty Nesters

Aug 30, 2018

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Teachers Strike In Washington State

Aug 30, 2018

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Joanne Johnson / Flickr

lllinois is in the grips of a severe teacher shortage, but late last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation to raise their wages. The bill would’ve ramped up the minimum salary to $40,000 by the year 2022. In a message explaining his veto, Rauner called that an “unfunded mandate.”

But State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who sponsored the legislation, says he hasn’t given up on the effort.

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Angel Benavides, a lanky 14-year-old, dribbles down the basketball court of his school gym in Manvel, N.D. It looks like he's going for a layup, but when he realizes he's unguarded, he stops in his tracks and takes a three-pointer. It's a nice arching shot, but the ball bounces tenuously on the rim and doesn't go in.

It's late June and Angel is already thinking about playing for his high school basketball team in Texas, 1,700 miles away. But he doesn't know if he'll get there in time for November tryouts.

University of Illinois Springfield

It was announced on Tuesday that Innovate Springfield, a business incubator and social innovator that started four years ago, is now partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield.

Morning News Brief

Aug 28, 2018

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President Trump and Mexico's president spoke on live TV yesterday to say they would like to change NAFTA - some.

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How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don't.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, "nearly 240 schools ... reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting." The number is far higher than most other estimates.

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https://admissions.illinois.edu/commitment

The University of Illinois today announced a new financial aid program designed to make enrollment at its Urbana-Champaign campus more affordable for middle-class students. They’re calling this program Illinois Commitment, and Kevin Pitts, vice-provost for undergraduate education, says the goal is to persuade families they really can afford to send their kids to the state’s flagship university.

 

“Illinois Commitment pledges to cover tuition and mandatory fees for all students who have a family income below $61,000 per year,” Pitts says.

3 Ways Education Is Influencing Arizona's Midterms

Aug 27, 2018

In Arizona, the energy around education issues that sprang up in April during the teacher protest walk-outs is still in the air leading up to the primary election Tuesday.

Arizona was the fourth state where thousands of teachers walked out of the classroom to protest low wages and under-funded schools.

Updated at 1:12 p.m. ET

The federal official in charge of protecting student borrowers from predatory lending practices has stepped down.

In a scathing resignation letter, Seth Frotman, who until now was the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, says current leadership "has turned its back on young people and their financial futures." The letter was addressed to Mick Mulvaney, the bureau's acting director.

Police in North Carolina arrested seven people at protests for and against the presence of a Confederate soldier statue at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the university said.

About 100 people faced off in "highly charged" demonstrations at the university's McCorkle Place — where until a group of protesters pulled it down on Monday, the statue known as "Silent Sam" had stood for more than a century.

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teacherpensions.org

A national study released this week comparing general school funding dollars with the amount spent on staff benefits singled out Illinois — and not in a good way.  

New York University's School of Medicine is learning that no good deed goes unpunished.

The highly ranked medical school announced with much fanfare this month that it is raising $600 million from private donors to eliminate tuition for all its students — even providing refunds to those currently enrolled. Before the announcement, annual tuition at the school was $55,018.

Ohio State University says it is suspending Head Football Coach Urban Meyer along with Athletics Director Gene Smith in response to how the two handled allegations of domestic abuse made against an assistant coach.

Meyer fired Zach Smith, an assistant coach, on July 23 after learning of reports that Smith's ex-wife Courtney Smith had been given a domestic violence civil protection order against him a few days before.

For Ashley Trebisacci, studying abroad was a life-changing experience. Her time at Oxford University expanded her worldview and helped her grow as a person — but more than that, she discovered her queer identity, and met the woman she now plans to marry.

Google Maps

Big changes are in store for Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora. 

It's the first week of class in a new school in Sumter County, Ala., and some fourth-graders are getting to know each other. They have pieces of colored paper they can do anything they want with — the idea is to be creative. Teacher Morri Mordecai cheers them on.

"They put theirs together and said it represented a rainbow," she says, pointing to one group. "Is that not cool?"

A Summer Camp For Sikh Youth

Aug 19, 2018

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We're going to turn now to another religious community in the United States. Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch team reports on a camp that draws a hundred kids from all across the country who are part of the Sikh religion.

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An elite boarding school in Connecticut is acknowledging sexual abuse by seven now-former staffers against 16 students — going back as far as 1969 and lasting until 1992.

The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., is a private high school of about 600 students.

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Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Story Behind The Numbers.

About Hanna Rosin's TED Talk

Post-recession, journalist Hanna Rosin noticed an economic shift: jobs dominated by men were on the decline, jobs dominated by women were on the rise. But does that data signify meaningful progress?

About Hanna Rosin

Victoria Gomez waits at a "checkout" table as two volunteers count up her finds: puzzles, felt, storage bins and wooden shelves. "My last [credit] card bill was $1,000 and that's just from last month, just for school supplies and things for my classroom," she tells them.

Gomez is now a kindergarten teacher at The Chatsworth School in Baltimore County. In her two years as a teacher, she has switched grade levels three times.

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