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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Robert Smith encouraged graduates to "pay it forward" in his commencement speech Sunday at Morehouse College.
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Billionaire investor and

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Academics Gather To Study Phish, Man

May 19, 2019

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And now for a story about an academic conference. But wait, wait. Stay with us because, as Deena Prichep reports, Oregon State University is hosting a meeting that's got more than name tags and networking.

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For nearly two decades, a doctor at The Ohio State University sexually abused at least 177 male students, according to an exhaustive independent investigation commissioned by the university. Most of the doctor's abuse happened under the auspices of providing the students with medical treatment.

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In May 1954, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

The nine justices were unanimous in their ruling, declaring unconstitutional the concept of "separate but equal" facilities for public school students divided by race. The intent was clear: end racial segregation in public schools nationwide.

Brown v. Board, as it's known, actually consisted of five lawsuits consolidated by the high court into one opinion.

It's 5 o'clock in the morning, and Sarah Salazar would rather be sleeping. Not just because it's early. Or because she's a teenager and can't seem to get enough sleep. Doctors say the shotgun pellets embedded in her shoulder, lung and back have sent her lead levels skyrocketing and leave her feeling tired much of the time.

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The College Board has been testing a tool that could give the millions of students who take the SATs every year a score measuring their economic hardships and other disadvantages, the nonprofit said Thursday.

The Environmental Context Dashboard includes information about students' high schools, including the rate of teens who receive free or reduced lunch, and their home life and neighborhoods, such as average family income, educational attainment, housing stability and crime.

Ask Cookie Monster to demonstrate self-control? Sounds like the setup to a joke. The blue, furry monster we grew up with was pure id.

But in recent years, Cookie has evolved as Sesame Workshop has sharpened its focus on social and emotional skills. Research shows that at least half a child's success is determined by those skills. Life Kit: Parenting has been looking at strategies for helping kids learn emotional self-regulation and self-control, so we called in Cookie for help.

NPR / YouTube

Ask Cookie Monster to demonstrate self-control? Sounds like the setup to a joke. The blue, furry monster we grew up with was pure id.

The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the Trump administration's Education Department is getting in the way of efforts to police the student loan industry. The revelation, in a letter obtained by NPR, comes at the same time that lawsuits allege that widespread wrongdoing by student loan companies is costing some borrowers thousands of dollars.

In the second-floor girls' restroom at Bronx Prep Middle School in New York, there's a sign taped to the back of the toilet stall doors. It's a guide on how to "properly dispose feminine products." On the list? "Make sure that no one views or handles product."

"It's not even saying the word pad. It just says product!" explains Kathaleen Restitullo, 13. "Just, like, don't let anyone see that you are on your period."

In the tiny town of Erwin, Tenn., history is the elephant in the room.

At the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce, Cathy Huskins remembers one particularly angry tourist "came barreling through the door, and came up to the counter here and slung her hands down. ... And she says, 'I cannot believe that you killed an elephant!' "

Librarian Angie Georgeff is used to the strange phone calls and unannounced visits from world travelers:

A former University of Southern California soccer coach who created phony athletic profiles for the sons and daughters of wealthy parents pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge on Tuesday.

Laura Janke had previously denied taking bribes for writing the fake sports biographies, but she is now the fourth corrupt coach to plead guilty in the ongoing college admissions scandal conceived by mastermind William "Rick" Singer.

NPR is doing a series of stories about young people and screen time, and we'd like to hear your questions and concerns.

We want to hear from families who are dealing with tech overuse, such as video game or social media obsessions that affect young people's lives. We will call in experts and help you answer your questions.

We'd also like to talk with parents about their own relationship with technology as it affects their parenting.

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On tomorrow's show, we're going to hear one of the grand prize winners in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Our two champions - one from middle school, one from high school - were chosen from nearly 6,000 entries.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Equality Illinois

Illinois' MAP grants — the monetary award program for low-income college students — would be available to more students if a bill approved by the legislature this month becomes law. MAP grants are currently unavailable students who don't qualify for federal financial aid. In Illinois, that includes about 1,200 students who immigrated to the US as children.

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What It Means When Students Become 'Heroes'

May 11, 2019

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Fundraising efforts to spare kids from from lunchtime humiliation in a Rhode Island school district have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in donations over a couple of days, including nearly $50,000 by New York-based yogurt-maker Chobani.

Wikimedia Commons

Last year, a school nurse in East Moline faced a moral dilemma when a diabetic student lost consciousness in her office. Now she’s trying to make sure no other school nurse has to face the same tough choice.

Low blood sugar can usually be cured with orange juice and a granola bar. But those snacks and glucose tabs weren’t helping the 7th grader sitting in Jennifer Jacobs’ office.

“Her blood sugar kept falling, and we kept pushing the snacks,” Jacobs says.

inslidelockdown.com

Illinois school administrators hoping to protect staff and students against the threat of an active shooter could get a new addition to their toolkit — devices designed to quickly barricade classroom doors during an emergency situation.

But that tool would come with its own set of problems.

Matt Perez, the State Fire Marshal, today warned lawmakers that any lock handy enough to be grabbed in a crisis could also be used by, for example, the shooter, or even one student wanting to bully a classmate.

Updated at 8:06 p.m. ET

A day after the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, local officials urged people not to view such attacks as part of life in Colorado.

"These are aberrant acts," 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said.

This week's attack happened not long after the 20th anniversary of the school shooting in nearby Columbine. The shooting injured eight people and left one student dead. Police say he has been identified by the Douglas County coroner as Kendrick Ray Castillo, 18.

illinoisreportcard.com

A clause in the 2017 school funding reform law was designed to provide property tax relief. But after one year of implementation, the State Board of Education is suggesting lawmakers might want to reconsider.

Under Illinois’ previous school funding structure, most of the burden fell on property owners. The 2017 law was designed to shift more of that load to the state, with an additional $350 million going mainly to the neediest districts. But $50 million of that was set aside to abate taxes in districts that were squeezing homeowners too hard.

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