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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High school basketball in Illinois — along with hockey and wrestling — won't take place as scheduled as the state struggles against a resurgence of COVID-19.

One week after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam opened an investigation into systemic racism at the Virginia Military Institute, the college's superintendent has submitted his resignation.

Twice a week, mathematics professor Andrea Bruder squats in the sewage tunnels below South Hall, a mostly freshman dorm at Colorado College. She wears head-to-toe protective gear and holds a plastic ladle in one hand and a to-go coffee cup in the other. Bruder hovers above an opening in a large metal pipe and patiently waits for a student to flush.

That flush will flood the pipes with just enough water to carry human waste down to her ladle, then to her coffee cup and eventually to a lab for processing.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Back in May, school funding experts predicted a looming financial disaster for the nation's K-12 schools.

"I think we're about to see a school funding crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern history," warned Rebecca Sibilia, the founder of EdBuild, a school finance advocacy organization. "We are looking at devastation that we could not have imagined ... a year ago."

By Election Day, more than 60% of U.S. K-12 public school students will be attending schools that offer in-person learning at least a few days a week, an updated tracker finds.

Ishana Kumar, a 12-year-old from Chappaqua, N.Y., has won a prestigious award in science for a project that could lead to better understanding of eye disease and cognitive processing.

The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program of the Society for Science & the Public, Wednesday recognized 30 finalists from middle schools across the country for their groundbreaking innovations.

The Legacy Ptoject

The kids called Grayson Alexander "dyke" and "faggot." The bullying got worse when he came out  as transgender the summer between eighth grade and high school. 

Now a senior at Loyola University in Chicago, the Springfield native says attending school was “not fun.”

Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Attending school remotely is hard for kids, and it turns out it can be hard to return to school, too. That's because of the isolation and worry kids have experienced during the pandemic. NPR's Patti Neighmond reports.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We follow up now on the story of financial trouble for schools. Rebecca Sibilia has been warning since May of an effect of the pandemic.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

An apprenticeship program that matches employers with community colleges has launched graduates into middle class careers and could be a way to address the flagging fortunes of Americans lacking four-year degrees, according to a study published Monday.

Like a lot of other 12-year-olds, Caleb Anderson of Marietta, Ga., loves outer space.

"I'm fascinated that there's another world beyond ours. There's another place. There's a better place," he tells NPR.

But unlike most kids his age, he's a sophomore in college, where he's studying calculus, U.S. history, humanities and macroeconomics.

He wants to be an aerospace engineer.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have very different views on how to tackle America's pressing issues.

That much is clear. But what specifically are they proposing?

NPR Politics has sifted through Trump's and Biden's plans, as released by their campaigns, and narrowed in on a few key issues to show what they're promising and how each man's priorities differ from his opponent's.

Read all of the plans here.

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Make public colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions tuition-free for families making less than $125,000.
  • Make two years of community college and training programs tuition-free.
  • Cancel $10,000 of every American's student debt and revise the current loan repayment system.
  • Establish universal prekindergarten.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

What can we discover when we allow ourselves to sit in silence and just... listen? Sound designer Dallas Taylor explores how tuning into silence is key for understanding the beauty of the sonic world.

About Dallas Taylor

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

As a deaf person, Rebecca Knill is anti-noise and "neutral" on sound. She explains how technology allows her to hear what she wants to hear, and asks why our mindset about ability hasn't caught up.

About Rebecca Knill

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

Over 30 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. Neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth explains how the ear's thousands of hair cells function to amplify sound—and how they can be damaged but not repaired.

About Jim Hudspeth

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Sound And Silence

For years, NPR host Mary Louise Kelly found ways to do her job and manage hearing loss. But now she can no longer rely on reading lips or leaning-in. She describes how she's adapting all over again.

About Mary Louise Kelly

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Schools aren't virus superspreaders - that was the conclusion of a recent study out of Brown University. Economist Emily Oster led that research, and I asked her to explain the data that makes her so sure.

Guidelines to remember

  • The contest is open to students at 2-year or 4-year colleges in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Podcasts must be between three and 8 minutes long.
  • Entries must be created specifically for the Contest.
  • The NPR Student Podcast Challenge, which has drawn more than 35,000 students around the country into the world of audio storytelling, is back for its third year, with a big new addition: We're kicking it up a notch to include college students.

    Editor's note: The NPR Student Podcast Challenge: College Edition will open on December 1, 2020. If you're looking for the 5th-12th grade contest click here.

    Step 1: Read the entry requirements. Podcasts must be between three and eight minutes long. Read more here.

    We're inviting college students around the country to create a podcast — about anything you want! — and compete for a chance to have your work appear on NPR.

    Be a part of the NPR Student Podcast Challenge: College Edition

    These are the rules for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge: College Edition, if you're looking for the 5th-12th grade competition rules click here.

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE FIFTY (50) UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AGE EIGHTEEN (18) OR OVER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

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