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The X Factor: Should Illinois Nix Algebra Requirement?

Pleasant Plains is a small but prosperous town about 15 minutes northwest of Springfield. Its schools are all rated “commendable,” and their test results outshine state averages in every subject. And yet, in March, the high school principal, Luke Brooks, asked Illinois lawmakers to stop requiring algebra.

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School Nurse Breaks A Rule To Save A Life

Last year, a school nurse in East Moline faced a moral dilemma when a diabetic student lost consciousness in her office. Now she’s trying to make sure no other school nurse has to face the same tough choice. Low blood sugar can usually be cured with orange juice and a granola bar . But those snacks and glucose tabs weren’t helping the 7th grader sitting in Jennifer Jacobs’ office. “Her blood sugar kept falling, and we kept pushing the snacks,” Jacobs says.

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Is 'Revenge Porn' Free Speech?

Illustration by Brian Mackey / Photo by Kenwood

How'd Illinois Prisons Lose $3.4m Of Stuff?

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'Old Slave House' Still Standing - But For How Long?

One of the oldest buildings remaining in southern Illinois is home to a lot of history. It’s called the Crenshaw House, because it was owned by John Crenshaw, who made his money running salt mines. But it’s probably better known as the Old Slave House. For decades, the house - in Gallatin County ironically near a community called Equality - was privately owned and open for public tours. Stories that slaves had been held captive inside were passed along.

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State of Cannabis

Small Illinois Towns Hope Legalized Marijuana Bring More Jobs

Behind a tall security fence and countless coded keypads, the future of the Delavan economy is growing under bright lights.

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PodCamp and Podcast Academy 2019

PodCamp and Podcast Academy 2019 Click to register for NPR Illinois PodCamp or for NPR Illinois Podcast Academy NPR Illinois is hosting two podcast programs in summer 2019, one aimed at middle school students and the other at high school students. These two programs are uniquely designed by NPR Illinois and Ann Strahle, associate professor in communication at UIS. Ann and NPR Illinois staff members will instruct the programs with support from college students and other public media professionals.

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Seven years after her death, Whitney Houston may be coming to a venue near you.

The pop icon's estate has partnered with BASE Hologram to produce "An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour," the company revealed in a statement on Monday.

The announcement comes on the heels of a separate deal between the singer's estate and Primary Wave Publishing last week, which is also expected to produce a series of new projects, including a new album, a possible Broadway musical and Vegas-style spectacle.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois officials faced tough questioning Monday over the lease of a warehouse for file storage.

The Legislative Audit Commission hearing also got at broader questions over how state government spends money.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

Game of Thrones is over, but dark shadows loom on the horizon just beyond the smoldering landscape. The spinoffs are coming.

The toddler looking up at Dr. Melanie Seifman in her Washington, D.C., exam room seems a little dazed.

It could be because she just woke up from a nap at daycare. It could be that she remembers the shots she got last time, and she knows what's coming.

The little girl is catching up on some vaccines she's behind on: missing doses of the DTaP and polio vaccines. She's over two years old — both of those shots are supposed to happen at a baby's six-month check up.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with American University professor Ibram X. Kendi about billionaire investor Robert F. Smith's pledge to the Morehouse College class of 2019 to repay their student loans.

The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss have grown a lot since they first met at summer camp as teenagers. The band's latest album, Young Enough, out now, was born out of growing pains.

Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks says the songs on this album were inspired by bad relationships — the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there's none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked — even if it means losing yourself in the process.

After eight years under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago has a political novice as mayor. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot took the oath and has big plans to shakeup Chicago's way of doing business.


Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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Arts & Life

I've been waiting for Tony Horwitz to write another big on-the-road book that crisscrosses the American cultural divide ever since his bestseller, Confederates in the Attic, came out in 1998.

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Education Desk

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Pleasant Plains is a small but prosperous town about 15 minutes northwest of Springfield. Its schools are all rated “commendable,” and their test results outshine state averages in every subject.

And yet, in March, the high school principal, Luke Brooks, asked Illinois lawmakers to stop requiring algebra.

Read More Education Stories

Equity & Justice

Maureen McKinney / NPR Illinois

The Alabama legislature approved some of the most restrictive abortion rules in the country this week. A group of lawmakers wants to make Illinois the most progressive state.

Seventy-five women dressed in long red robes and white bonnets gathered at the capitol Wednesday. They represent characters from the dystopian Margaret Atwood novel and recent television series The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Health+Harvest Desk

Madelyn Beck

Floodwaters on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers may be going down, but rain has continued to soak farmland around much of the state. More rain could be on the way later this month.

Wet fields make it hard to plant because farmers use large, heavy machinery in the fields. Even if a field is dry enough for equipment not to get stuck, too much pressure on wet soil makes it hard for seedlings to develop solid root systems.

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Illinois Economy

Sports betting in a Nevada casino.
Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Flickr: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states outside of Nevada to set up their own sports betting rules, some experts are offering Illinois lawmakers tips as a final proposal is drafted. 

Read More Illinois Economy Coverage


Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois officials faced tough questioning Monday over the lease of a warehouse for file storage.

The Legislative Audit Commission hearing also got at broader questions over how state government spends money.

Read More Statehouse Stories


The Trump administration released a legal opinion saying former White House counsel Don McGahn can't be compelled to testify before Congress about the obstruction of justice allegations in the Mueller report.

Updated at 7:09 p.m. ET

A federal judge ruled against President Trump on Monday in a subpoena dispute not long after the White House said it is seeking to block its former top lawyer from talking to Congress.

The events amounted to a win — and a loss — apiece for Republicans and Democrats in their ongoing high-stakes legal and political war over separation of powers and oversight in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The McGahn matter

A Conversation With Senator Tom Cotton

3 hours ago

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton wrote a book.

But he’s not running for president (as far as we know.)

Politico describes the book as “apolitical,” and it follows the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment, a unit which Cotton was a platoon leader in 2007-2008. That regiment is called the Old Guard, which carries out funerals for soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz has spent the last two years in the South, embracing what he calls “bar-stool democracy.”

It’s the premise of his new book, Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide, which catalogs his journey as he retraces the footsteps of journalist-turned-landscape-architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

This year, the largest percentage of Australians since 2006 agreed with the following statement: “global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant cost.”

Journalists and pundits alike believed that this sentiment would affect this weekend’s elections and that Australians might overwhelmingly select a party with the most aggressive approach toward climate change.

But that’s not what happened.


Deported After Living In The U.S. For 26 Years, He Navigates A New Life In Mexico

When 29-year-old Gilberto Olivas-Bejarano first returned to his birth country of Mexico, he didn't speak the native language. "I barely speak Spanish now," he says. He arrived in León alone, and today, nearly two years since his deportation, Olivas-Bejarano has still not seen his parents or siblings in person. Sitting in his small apartment, furnished with hand-me-downs, he pores over a homemade photo album of pictures printed off Facebook. It's filled with memories from his former life in...

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The X from NPR Illinois - “stream-only” until new transmitter complete

'A Song For Any Struggle': Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down' Is An Anthem Of Resolve

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at . Editor's note: This story includes discussions of depression, addiction and suicide. Of all his many, many hit songs, the one that Tom Petty said had the most direct and powerful impact on his fans was " I Won't Back Down ." Well, I won't back down
No, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down The...

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From A Piano Virtuoso, An Album For Beginners

No composition seems too difficult for pianist Lang Lang . But on his latest solo record, Piano Book , the 36-year-old known for his finger-twisting virtuosity is exploring something simpler: Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Debussy's "Clair de Lune" and other pieces that accompanied him in the first few years of a lifelong love-affair with the instrument. YouTube "I think every piano student started with this piece," Lang Lang says of "Fur Elise." "But actually, this is not just a ringtone. This...

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