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

It wasn't just the fact that one of China's best universities had changed its charter last December to emphasize loyalty to the ruling Communist Party that raised eyebrows. Shanghai's Fudan University also deleted principles like freedom of thought, and did so publicly, as if expecting praise.

Furious students staged a rare and risky protest in the school cafeteria in December. They sang the school's anthem, which praises academic freedom.

Copyright 2020 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A teenage girl, Greta Thunberg, has become the world-famous face of the climate strike movement. But she's far from alone: Thunberg has helped rally and inspire others — especially girls.

Updated at 2:46 a.m. ET Sunday

On Friday, President Trump added former independent counsel Ken Starr to the legal team that will defend him in the Senate impeachment trial.

Starr is best known for leading an investigation into President Bill Clinton's affair with a White House intern during the 1990s.

The News Roundup - International

Jan 17, 2020

As protesters take to the streets in Iran over a downed Ukranian airliner, the State Department canceled a classified Congressional briefing that was supposed to focus on U.S.-Iranian relations and embassy security.

More from Politico:

Illinois State Board of Education

The Illinois State Board of Education yesterday approved a budget request seeking $9.6 billion dollars in state funds, most of which will go to the state’s “evidence-based funding” model, designed to bring all school districts up to adequate funding.

Puneet Chowdhary lives in Michigan and researches Parkinson’s disease. She’s worked in the U.S. legally since 2001. She got married here, and her two children are U.S. citizens.

And she’s one of an estimated 800,000 immigrants waiting in the decades-long line for a green card.

Our producer Avery spoke to Puneet, and here are some excerpts from their conversation.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ashley's Law
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Around 94,000 medical marijuana licenses have been issued in Illinois, and about 600 of them are for children under the age of 18.

Students who need medical marijuana – typically to treat conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy – used to have to rely on their parents to come to school and give them their treatment. Now, students can get their cannabis from the school nurse, or administer it themselves under the nurse’s supervision.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has pledged to cancel up to $50,000 of debt for 95% of student loan borrowers if she is elected president. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has proposed an even more generous plan if he's elected.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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English teacher Tim Wasem says he's still getting his head around it.

"I have students coming in this semester ... who are asking, like, 'When are we gonna do the podcast challenge? When's that gonna happen?' "

Courtesy of Kelly McConohy

In an attempt to relieve Illinois' severe teacher shortage, state lawmakers last year voted to remove a requirement known as the "basic skills test." That test has proven to be a stumbling block, especially for people pursuing the profession later in life, as a second career. This change, enacted just five months ago, has already opened the door for a would-be special education teacher in the East Moline School District. 

Don't see the video? Click here.

The NPR Student Podcast Challenge is asking teachers around the country to turn their classrooms into studios and their lessons into podcasts.

San Diego's public school schools have filed suit against Juul Labs, Inc., the largest U.S. producer of e-cigarettes, accusing the company of deliberately marketing its vaping products to young people, effectively rolling back years of progress made by anti-smoking campaigns.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Sex is a topic that can leave a lot of parents embarrassed or tongue-tied. But in today's world, experts say it is never too soon to start talking openly with your kids about their bodies. And if you're not ready for your kids to hear this, you might want to rejoin us at the top of the hour because that's what we're going to focus on right now.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Another bit of fallout from the U.S. strike against Iran - a burst of social media memes from young people worried about checking off the box for selective service on the federal financial aid form.

(SOUNDBITE OF TIKTOK VIDEO)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

A dancing police officer. A Founding Father with a wig made from sweat socks. And a physics professor, in a jester cap, on a pogo stick. These are some of the many characters from American schools who blew up on social media in 2019. Here's our unranked list of 10 of the most notable viral learning, teaching and school-related moments of the year.

Good sportsmanship (188,000 views on Facebook, 4.7 million on Twitter)

How Should We Regulate Homeschooling?

Jan 2, 2020

People choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. Maybe they want their child to focus on a certain part of the curriculum. Maybe their child has special needs. Maybe their child has a hard time learning in a classroom environment.

But whatever the reason, there are still guidelines for how a child can be homeschooled.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Back in September on the show, we introduced you to James Hatch, ex-Navy SEAL wounded badly in combat in Afghanistan and now, at the age of 52, a college freshman at Yale, an experience that Hatch told me can feel pretty terrifying.

The NCAA announced earlier this year that it would open the door for college athletes to begin profiting from their names, images and likenesses “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

In 1988, Kathy Wankel, a rancher from Montana, stumbled upon a fossil with her family near Montana’s Fort Peck Reservoir. She wasn’t a trained paleontologist, and she’d never found a fossil before.

Turns out, that bit of bone in the dirt once belonged to a T. rex.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Sean Crawford: All this week, Dusty has been sharing a series of stories about special education students placed in private facilities in other states — how many students, who pays for the placements, and why Illinois passed that law banning placements in the state of Utah. She joins me now to discuss the project. 

Q: So Dusty how many of these kids actually leave Illinois for school?

A: Close to 350 for residential placement, another 140 or so are in therapeutic day school, mostly in the St. Louis area.

Q:  So what kind of disabilities to these students have?

  

Engineering Designs For People With Autism

Dec 28, 2019

Copyright 2020 Connecticut Public Radio. To see more, visit Connecticut Public Radio.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

One of the largest school districts in the country is trying something new: Starting next month, students in Fairfax County, Va., can take one day off per school year to engage in political activism.

The plan has its roots in the 2018 shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school that left 17 dead. In its aftermath came a rise in student activism unlike anything the Fairfax school district had ever seen, Fairfax School Board member Ryan McElveen tells NPR.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Meet The Weavers (Rebroadcast)

Dec 25, 2019

Across the country, people are working hard to end loneliness, isolation and to support those not given a fair shake at school or on Main Street. There are remarkable Americans who say they’re repairing some of the tears in society. They belong to a group called “Weavers,” who are trying to put trust, empathy, connectedness and community well-being at the center of American life.

Copyright 2020 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

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