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

The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va.

Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text message.

The satellite, using a voice synthesizer, is built to transform that text into an audio message that can be heard over certain radio frequencies around the globe, and in different languages.

NAACP Threatens To Sue District 186

Nov 19, 2013
http://www.springfieldnaacp.org/

District 186 says it's working hard to hire more minority teachers and administrators. Still, the percentage of minorities in those roles is only half of what it should be according to a decades old desegregation order. And the Springfield branch of the NAACP says it's preparing for a potential lawsuit. 

It was 40 years ago today that the Supreme Court accepted what became a landmark case about school desegregation. The case was controversial because it involved busing student between a largely African-American city — Detroit — and its white suburban areas. The ruling helped cement differences between urban schools and suburban neighborhoods.

UIS Team Names May Change

Nov 18, 2013
www.uisjournal.com

The University Of Illinois Springfield continues to kick around the idea of a new school mascot. The Chancellor's office paid for a consultant whose suggestions include the Springers, Sabers, Mammoths and the Stampede. Aaron Mulvey is the president of the Student Government Association at UIS. He says some students are confused by the Prairie Star nickname and the mascot, a masked boy named Cozmo. Others say they just don't like either.

Princeton University has decided to distribute a vaccine for meningitis B that has not been approved for use in the United States.

As we've reported, the New Jersey university has seen seven cases of bacterial meningitis since March.

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Many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking advantage of the post-9/11 GI bill to pay for higher education. They often end up at large state schools or for-profit, online universities.

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UIS Hosts 36th International Fest Friday

Nov 14, 2013

Springfield-area residents have a chance to get a taste of all things international on Friday. UIS hosts its annual International Festival with food, booths from area groups, entertainment and more. Erica Suzuki and Sarah Jome with UIS's International Student Services joined us for this interview about it: 

Tenured Professor Removed At U Of I

Nov 14, 2013
University of Illinois

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees dismissed an engineering professor who had a 50-year career at the state's flagship school Thursday.  Administrators say it's the first time a tenure decision went to the board. 

Louis Wozniak was charged with harassing a student, improperly obtaining and publishing grades and sending an email to students that included a sexual reference. He apologized for that email the next day, though has claimed he did nothing wrong.

Wozniak was suspended with pay from his $85,000-a-year job in 2010 after the email. 

Chain Of Low-Cost Schools Open In Kenya

Nov 13, 2013

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It's recess time at Ruby Bridges Elementary School and a third-grader is pummeling a plastic tetherball with focused intensity. He's playing at one of more than a half-dozen recess play stations on the school's sprawling cement playground — there's also wall ball, basketball, capture the flag, sharks and minnows, a jungle gym and tag.

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There's a nationwide search underway to find former students who don't know they've already done all or most of the work needed to earn a credential that might help them land a better-paying job.

In Michigan, several hundred community college dropouts were recently surprised to learn they had enough credits to qualify for an associate degree. There are also ex-students who apparently didn't know they're just a few credits shy of a two-year degree.

In Florida, one of the nation's largest school districts has overhauled its discipline policies with a single purpose in mind — to reduce the number of children going into the juvenile justice system.

It's a move away from so-called "zero tolerance" policies that require schools to refer even minor misdemeanors to the police. Critics call it a "school to prison pipeline."

Civil rights and education activists say the policy can be a model for the nation.

About five hundred Springfield students were forced out of the public schools last month for failing to have required physicals and immunizations. The number has since dropped to 87 kids missing classes. The deadline was October 15th. School board member Mike Zimmers says the policy should be changed for next year to have the deadline before school gets underway.

"Parents just need to plan, you know when they start thinking about ... we need to get school clothes or school supplies -- in your mindset just think, we need to get physicals, we need to get shots,” said Zimmers.

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In 2012, the cost of child care in the U.S. grew up to eight times faster than family income, according to a new study of the average fees paid to child care centers and family child care homes.

This is the final report in a four-part series on adult education.

Low literacy rates for adults can have wide-ranging effects on those around them. They may rely more heavily on government services; their children may not get that extra hand with schoolwork; their families may not get sufficient financial support.

New Scholarship Boosts Urban Art

Nov 4, 2013

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And now we'll continue with this theme of using hip-hop to teach. When legendary lyricist and DJ MC Lyte first appeared on the national scene 1988, she wasn't thinking about education. This is her hit song, "Lyte as a Rock."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LYTE AS A ROCK")

This is the third report in a four-part series on adult education.

Adults wanting to go back to school have the odds stacked against them. They juggle many responsibilities, there are long waitlists for classes and often there isn't a connection between what they learn in class and the skills they need to get a job.

Education is necessary if democracy is to flourish. What good is the free flow of information if people can't make sense of it? How can you vote your own interests if you don't understand the consequences of policy choices? How can you know what's best for you or your community?

U Of I To Open China Office

Nov 1, 2013
University of Illinois

The University of Illinois plans to open an office in China later this year.
 
Pradeep Khanna is associate chancellor for corporate international relations at
the school. Khanna tells The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1ahCsrT) that the
university plans to hire up to three employees for the new office in Shanghai.
 
A delegation of University of Illinois alumni is traveling to Beijing and
Shanghai next week. The group of about 50 people will meet with alumni and visit
companies and universities that have partnerships with UI.
 

This is the second report in a four-part series on adult education.

Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.

Immigrants like Perez see English as the key to a better life. Many hope learning the language will help lift them out of poverty and integrate them into American society. But gaining English proficiency is a difficult task amid everyday obligations.

This week on All Tech, we're exploring kids and technology with posts and radio pieces about raising digital natives. Look back at the stories and share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, by email or tweet.

This is the first report of a four-part series on adult education.

The national debate around education usually focuses on children in school. But there are 30 million adults in the U.S. who have trouble with basic literacy — they struggle to read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule.

It also means it's difficult for them to get and hold onto the most basic jobs.

Illinois schools and school districts get report cards Thursday. Many will appear to have suffered a significant drop in student achievement. But state officials say that’s just because they’ve changed how students are evaluated.

Teachers Share Their Top Safety Concerns

Oct 30, 2013

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Penn State has reached a $59.7 million settlement with 26 young men who accused former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse, the university confirmed Monday.

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