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

Police declared the campus of Purdue University safe Tuesday afternoon, hours after a shooting in a school building alarmed students and sparked a partial evacuation order. One person died in the violence; another has been taken into police custody.

Update at 8:55 p.m. ET: Police Identify Those Involved

At an evening news conference, authorities named student Cody Cousins, 23, as the suspect in today's shooting. And they said the victim who died today was another student, Andrew F. Boldt, 21.

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Over the past six months, Chicago has been emptying out dozens of school buildings. The city voted to close 50 schools last spring. The district said it needed to concentrate students in fewer buildings so resources wouldn't be spread so thin.

Chef Furard Tate is the kind of man who never sits still. He flits from the order desk at Inspire BBQ back to the busy kitchen, where young men are seasoning sauce, cooking macaroni and cheese, and finishing off some dry-rubbed ribs smoked on a grill.

"We grill on a real grill," Tate says. "None of this electric stuff."

But as important as the food is, Tate says it's also important that it's made by young hands who must learn a slow, consistent process.

Plenty of college courses delve into the big philosophical questions of life, but Norma Bowe's class was different. For years, the nurse and college professor taught a class that forced students to confront death head-on — there were poems about death, trips to cemeteries and funeral homes, and "goodbye letter" writing assignments. At its core, the class became an opportunity for students to try to come to grips with the death or pending death of a loved one in their own lives.

President Obama thinks more poor kids who are good students should be enrolled in the country's best colleges and universities. Too often, he says, kids from lower income families don't even apply to the best schools, where they might have a good chance of getting financial aid.

This week, he gathered the heads of 100 colleges and universities to a meeting at the White House to discuss how to change this situation for the better. I hope he is successful.

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Alabama State University will soon have its first female president. But trustees at the historically black college put a stipulation in her contract that critics say is a setback for equality.

Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd will become the president of her alma mater next month. Her contract requires the 58-year-old engineer to move into the president's home on the Alabama State University campus in Montgomery.

Can Grandmothers Change The World?

Jan 17, 2014

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Disruptive Leadership.

About Bunker Roy's TED Talk

Bunker Roy shares stories from a school in India that equips rural women for leadership by training them to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors.

About Bunker Roy

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama shake hands with college graduate Troy Simon, who couldn't read until he was 14.

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Bryn Mawr College is located just outside Philadelphia, but every year the school goes looking for students in Boston.

Bryn Mawr typically admits 10 low-income students from the Boston area each year, providing them with financial assistance and introducing them to one another in hopes that they will form a network and support each other as they navigate their college years.

Bryn Mawr doesn't stop in Boston. Working with the nonprofit groups Posse Foundation and College Match, the college actively seeks to enroll low-income students who show great promise.

news.illinois.edu

The former director of bands at the University of Illinois has pleaded guilty to stealing musical instruments from the school and sentenced to a form of probation.  

Robert Rumbelow pleaded guilty Tuesday in Champaign County Circuit Court to one count of felony theft. According to The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1doNcdP) he was sentenced to two years of conditional discharge.  
Rumbelow declined comment through his attorney.  

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A long-running school desegregation fight in Arkansas is over, after a federal judge accepted a settlement reached by the state, lawyers for black students, and three school districts in and around Little Rock. Under the deal, the state will no longer have to send payments — around $70 million this year — to aid desegregation.

According to the terms of the deal, those payments can stop after the 2017-2018 school year. They had been mandated by a court-ordered program that also included forming magnet schools and shifting students between school districts.

U Of I Proposes Tuition Hike For Fall

Jan 13, 2014
U of I

University of Illinois Trustees have been asked to increase tuition within the rate of inflation for next academic year.

At their meeting in Chicago next week, they’ll be asked to raise it by 1.7 % on the three campuses, the same increase approved for last fall.    A Trustees committee recommended the plan Monday. 

It would raise tuition for in-state students to about $12,000 at the Urbana-Champaign campus, nearly $10,600 in Chicago and around $9,400 in Springfield.  Only incoming students would pay the higher rates.

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Today, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state's healthier finances will mean billions of dollars of new spending. The winners in the governor's proposed record budget include schools and welfare. He also wants millions spent on maintaining roads and parks.

Rosa Solache was fed up with getting teased every day before school, between classes, and even on the way home, so one day she punched her antagonist in the face.

"I was really sick of it and I had told the teacher, but no one was doing anything, so I said, 'What the heck, I'm going to take care of this by myself.'"

Solache was an eighth-grader at the time, 12 years old, and until that day, she says, "I had always been a good girl."

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Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.

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District 186 Still Negotiating With Gill

Jan 7, 2014

Jennifer Gill was chosen as the new superintendent for Springfield District 186 after a months-long search. But negotiations have yet to be finalized.   Gill, who currently works for McLean County schools, says the holidays slowed talks, but expects a contract will get done.

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The issue we just heard about is also making news in suburban Seattle. A Catholic school there apparently fired a staff member for being in a same-sex marriage. NPR's Martin Kaste has more.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Mark Zmuda was a vice principal at Eastside Catholic School until shortly before Christmas. The school says he resigned. He insists he was fired. But both sides agree about why he left.

MARK ZMUDA: They said it was because I was married to a man, and violated Catholic teaching.

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We've known for some time that having more education usually leads to higher pay. Well, now a study suggests that the advantage persists even into retirement years, in part because those with more education tend to stay in the workforce longer.

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