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

With the eyes of the country upon him, Joe Biden shouted out education during his speech Saturday in Wilmington, Del: "For American educators, this is a great day for you all. You're going to have one of your own in the White House."

Of course, the president-elect was talking about his wife, Jill Biden, an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. She taught throughout Biden's two terms as vice president, and in a break with precedent, intends to continue as first lady.

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Fighting climate change is a big messy task that will take a lot of work. This hour, TED's Science Curator David Biello joins Manoush to share some promising and fascinating solutions.

About David Biello

As TED's science curator, David Biello finds scientists with spectacular stories of discovery and helps them bring those stories to life on the TED stage.

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After the summer, Liliana Pokropski was relieved to be back on Benedictine College's bucolic campus from her home in Wilmington, Del.

While coronavirus numbers were high on the East Coast, none of the more than 2,000 students at the college in Atchison, Kan., were displaying symptoms. But when the college tested all of the students in late August, they turned up 66 positive cases.

When public schools in Ann Arbor, Mich., closed last spring Betty, an undocumented domestic worker, feared losing her job if she stayed home to help her children navigate virtual schooling.

But even if she could stay home, she worried that she didn't have the English proficiency to support her daughter, a ninth-grader at a public high school in Ann Arbor, Mich.

When it comes to the presidency and the U.S. Senate, Democrats are largely playing offense. That's true further down the ballot, too, for the offices where many of the policies that affect our daily lives are made: state legislatures.

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Election Day is nearly upon us. Then again, you probably didn't need us to tell you that. Your sweaty palms suggest you're like many Americans who, no matter which candidate they support, have been amped and anxious for months. If you've been riding an emotional, politics-fueled rollercoaster, believe us: Your kids have noticed.

Here's a quick primer from Life Kit on how to talk with your kids about this election.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Warped Reality

For the past few years, journalist Andrew Marantz has been embedded in the world of far-right extremists online. He explains how once-fringe conspiracy theories migrated into the national discourse.

Despite a legacy of low turnout, college students — and young people in general — could be a decisive voting bloc in this election. Already, nearly 5 million Americans, ages 18 to 29, have cast early votes, a far higher number than at this point in 2016.

But will this fall's pandemic campus experience upend optimistic projections for a college student turnout?

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In April, 9 in 10 of the world's children were out of school in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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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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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 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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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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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.

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