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

Nestled among turquoise blue waterfalls and cottonwood trees, the tiny Havasupai reservation is accessible only by foot, by mule or by helicopter. It's a five-minute flight from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Supai Village on the canyon floor, where 450 tribal members live in small homes made of panel siding and materials that can be easily hauled or lifted in.

It's no wonder Internet access has been a challenge. But recently, the Havasupai have had some help from the Oakland-based nonprofit MuralNet.

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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday for paying thousands of dollars to have one of her daughter's SAT scores inflated. She is the first parent to be sentenced in the massive college cheating scandal that has rocked the U.S. higher education system.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani said Huffman must serve 12 months of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine.

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Sep 13, 2019

With guest host Todd Zwillich.

We round up the week’s top news from around the country.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford announced he will challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries.

For Shadrack Frimpong, 28, finding himself a recipient of a 2019 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award "feels pretty crazy," he says, "because here we have a kid who grew up in the middle of the forest in rural Ghana being compared to someone who really was the greatest of all time."

He is one of six recipients of the annual award, given to advocates and activists for social change who are under 30. The awards were presented Sept. 12 in Louisville, Ky.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has reached an agreement in principle to settle a lawsuit that alleged that MIT, one of the nation's most prestigious universities, hurt workers in its retirement plan by engaging in an improper relationship with the financial firm Fidelity Investments.

UIS United

The faculty union at the University of Illinois Springfield today released a survey that amounts to a no-confidence vote against top administrators.

Chancellor Susan Koch, Provost Dennis Papini, and the four college deans scored approval ratings below 40 percent. The survey also asked professors whether they felt a “strong sense of belonging” and would be “happy to spend the rest of (their) careers” at UIS. Most of those responses were similarly negative.

Why do you work? Popular wisdom says your answer depends on what your job is.

But psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski at Yale University finds it may have more to do with how we think about our work.

In a photo taken last March, a teenage boy is sitting at his desk with a plastic pellet gun that looks a lot like an AR-15. The airsoft rifle is propped up on the arm of a chair, pointing at the ceiling, and the boy, Eric, is looking at the camera. We're not using his last name to protect his privacy.

Eric's friend took the picture. At the time, Eric says, he didn't realize his friend had captioned the photo "Don't come to school Monday" and had sent it to others on Snapchat.

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When Lesley Del Rio goes to the library to do her college math homework, she often has a study buddy: her precocious 8-year-old son, Leo.

Del Rio is working on her associate degree; Leo is working on third grade.

And Del Rio is not alone: More than 1 in 5 college students in the U.S. are raising kids. That's more than 4 million undergraduates, and they are disproportionately women and people of color. Of those students, more than half will leave school without getting a degree.

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floridahealth.gov / Florida Department of Health

Over the summer, public schools across Illinois received kits designed to help staff members respond in the event of life-threatening injuries. Each kit contains Nitrile gloves, a MicroShield mask, QuikClot bandages, and a tourniquet — just enough supplies to help save one person from bleeding to death. Schools can receive up to five more free kits if they train more staff on a curriculum called STOP the Bleed

 

Mary Connelly, director of the state's medical emergency response team and a former emergency room nurse, says it’s the training that really helps. 

The Staggering Weight Of Student Loan Debt

Sep 9, 2019

About 45 million Americans have student loan debt, according to a 2018 analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

And it all adds up to $1.6 trillion.

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Whistleblower On MIT And Epstein

Sep 8, 2019

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Ronan Farrow On MIT And Jeffrey Epstein

Sep 7, 2019

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There's new reporting today about the relationship of Jeffrey Epstein to one of the venerable institutions to which he gave money. New documents show the MIT Media Lab accepted funds from the convicted sex offender far exceeding amounts the university had previously admitted.

On a clear morning in late August, 9-year-old Alongkorn Lafargue hops in the back seat of his father's car. He's wearing his school uniform: neatly ironed khakis and a bright blue polo shirt embroidered with the logo of his new charter school, IDEA Oscar Dunn. Alongkorn has been going there only a few weeks, and his dad, Alex Lafargue, says he has struggled to get his son to talk about what it's like.

"He was anxious," Lafargue says. "And [its] his third week there now. He's starting to open up."

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. Department of Education has levied a $4.5 million fine against Michigan State University for its "systemic failure" to address the sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, the MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor who admitted to sexually assaulting his patients for decades.

The fine that was announced Thursday came after two investigations ordered by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

All across the country, students are returning to school, and in Pittsburgh, that includes youth housed at the Allegheny County Jail. The jail runs a full high school for juveniles charged as adults.

There are about a dozen juveniles currently enrolled at the school, which is called the Academic Institute and run by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. An officer keeps watch over the students' movements, and in the classrooms, a red tape barrier separates them from the teacher's desk.

A new report from a government watchdog, first obtained by NPR, says an expanded effort by Congress to forgive the student loans of public servants is remarkably unforgiving.

Congress created the expansion program last year in response to a growing outcry. Thousands of borrowers — nurses, teachers and other public servants — complained that the requirements for the original program were so rigid and poorly communicated that lawmakers needed to step in. But, documents show, even this expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program isn't working.

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Google will pay $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and New York's attorney general. The complaint alleges Google's video platform YouTube earned hundreds of millions of dollars by tracking, profiling and targeting ads to children without parental consent. That is a violation of federal law.

NPR's Anya Kamenetz reports the FTC means to make YouTube safer, but some members of the commission itself say the settlement is too lenient.

Imagine this — you're going to school, and you hear that the government has banned homework. Wouldn't that be the best day ever?

Well, it actually happened in India. The government said there would be no homework for students in grades one and two. The reason: heavy school bags.

For many college students settling into their dorms this month, the path to campus — and paying for college — started long ago. And it likely involved their families.

The pressure to send kids to college, coupled with the realities of tuition, has fundamentally changed the experience of being middle class in America, says Caitlin Zaloom, an anthropologist and associate professor at New York University. It's changed the way that middle class parents raise their children, she adds, and shaped family dynamics along the way.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Despite getting a 5 percent increase over last year’s state funding, the University of Illinois Springfield has announced a budget cut of up to 10 percent. The most immediate impact is the suspension of a program known as “desktop refresh,” which promises new computers to faculty and staff every four years.

Kristi Barnwell, a history professor and president of the union representing faculty, says this leaves her colleagues reliant upon equipment that no longer works.

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