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

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The decision is often framed as a landmark decision that transformed education for Black students, allowing them equal access to integrated classrooms.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House.

As the coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. surpasses 50,000 new cases a day, colleges and universities around the country are trying to figure out how to educate their students this fall while still keeping their campus communities safe.

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Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

In a major victory for what advocates call the school choice movement, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively killed state constitutional provisions in as many as 38 states that bar taxpayer aid to parochial schools. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the decision for the court's conservative justices.

If you're worried about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting your college applications, a statement endorsed by more than 300 college admissions deans might provide some relief.

The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

When asked if he could imagine a college party where everyone is wearing masks, Jacques du Passage, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, laughs.

"No. I don't think they would do that," he says. "I think [students] would just have the party and then face the repercussions."

That's exactly what Apramay Mishra, student body president at the University of Kansas, is worried about when it comes to reopening campus amid the pandemic. "Right now it's kind of slipped from most people's minds," he says. Students "don't really think it's a big deal."

Princeton University will remove Woodrow Wilson's name from its public policy school over "racist thinking and policies" the former president had championed, the university says.

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Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode TED Radio Wow-er

How many people helped make your morning coffee? A.J. Jacobs set out to thank them—from the farmer to the barista and everyone in between—and discovered the list was much longer than he thought.

About A.J. Jacobs

In a new rule announced Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos signaled she is standing firm on her intention to reroute millions of dollars in coronavirus aid money to K-12 private school students. The CARES Act rescue package included more than $13 billion to help public schools cover pandemic-related costs.

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More than half of all U.S. states are experiencing a surge in the number of new daily coronavirus cases.

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When Arizona schools shut down in mid-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Tatiana Laimit, a nurse in Phoenix, knew she needed a backup plan. Laimit is a single mother of a 6-year-old girl and had recently relocated to the area. She didn't have any friends or family nearby to ask for help.

It was past 8 on a Friday night when she shot off an email to her local YMCA to ask if they were providing emergency care for the children of front-line workers. "And immediately [someone] responded and let me know, 'Yes.' "

Governor Releases Fall Plans for Schools And Colleges

Jun 23, 2020
montanapublicmedia.org

Governor J.B. Pritzker wants to see kids in the classroom this fall.  He released guidance Tuesday for students returning to school and college.

What's in a name?

In the current climate, a lot. And enough to force change when that name offends.

On Tuesday, the University of Cincinnati board of trustees voted unanimously to take down the name of Marge Schott from the school's baseball stadium, effective immediately.

The board cited Schott's "record of racism and bigotry" in making its decision.

At least two-thirds of American high school students attend a school with a police officer, according to the Urban Institute, and that proportion is higher for students of color. Now, the national uprising for racial justice has led to a push to remove police officers from security positions inside schools.

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A university in Georgia is partnering with an alumna to award full scholarships to the four children of Rayshard Brooks, the Black man fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer in the parking lot of a Wendy's drive-through on June 12.

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As statues of Confederate generals have been toppled or ordered down across the American South, all still stand in West Virginia, the only state born out of the American Civil War.

One hundred fifty-seven years ago Saturday, West Virginia seceded from Virginia to join the Union and reject the Confederacy.

Peaceful, student-led protests have been a powerful force for change throughout American history.

In 1925, for example, students at Fisk University staged a 10-week protest to speak out against the school's president, who didn't want students starting a chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. In 1940, almost 2,000 students protested after New York University decided to pull a black player from its football roster to accommodate the University of Missouri's segregationists.

And campus-based protests, including against racism, were a major lever of social change in the 1960s.

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The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that hundreds of thousands of immigrants may keep their legal status. In response, the president wrote on Twitter, quote, "do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?"

Just months before starting his freshman year of high school, Cole Phillips lost his vision to glaucoma.

When he entered Bentonville West High School in Arkansas in the fall of 2016, he met Rugenia Keefe — or, as Phillips calls her, "Miss Ru" — a paraprofessional who attended classes with Phillips for the next four years.

The U.S. Department of Education is making it harder for colleges to reconsider — and potentially increase — financial aid for students who have lost jobs or family income in the current economic crisis.

Sam Dunklau/NPR Illinois

The University of Illinois plans to reopen campuses for students this fall.  With some caveats.

Will students actually go back to school this fall? In Texas, state officials say yes.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath confirmed Thursday that the state's public schools will open for students to return, if they wish.

"It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall," the commissioner said in a statement. "But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses."

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