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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In Missouri last week, there was a graduation ceremony.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All the typical things you would expect for the graduation - you know, caps and gowns and a stage and even a brass band - but this ceremony was different.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A porn director worries that young adults think sex is what they've seen on-screen.

A young man worries that the ubiquity of porn creates unrealistic expectations for everyone.

A porn performer worries that young viewers might think her videos are instructional.

They all wish people talked about it more.

Millions of people in the United States watch pornography, thanks largely in part to the Internet and free sites like Pornhub.

With the economy booming, Ernesto Martinez can barely keep up with all the construction work coming into the small drywall company he owns. He's part of a historic wave of Latino prosperity in America.

It wasn't always like this. Martinez remembers when he was 17. He had $120 to his name, and it was all in his pocket. It's how much he got paid for his first job in the U.S., as a mover. He says he stood there, mesmerized, in front of a shop window at the mall.

Martinez was looking at a pair of Air Jordans. They cost around $100.

The Challenges Facing HBCU Campuses

May 25, 2019

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature has approved a measure that would allow public school nurses to provide the life-saving medication glucagon to diabetic students in emergency situations.

As we recently reported, Jennifer Jacobs saved a 7th grader who was experiencing a severe hypoglycemic episode by using another student's supply of glucagon — a hormone that triggers the body to release stored glucose.

How Schools Can Support Homeless Teens

May 21, 2019

Copyright 2019 Illinois Newsroom. To see more, visit Illinois Newsroom.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Rashema Melson was among the more than 1,750 undergraduates who received diplomas from Georgetown University last weekend.

Before she attended college on a full scholarship, Melson graduated at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

She was also living with her mother and brothers at D.C. General, a family homeless shelter that shut down last year.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The surprise announcement started this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS)

A 40-year-old California law requiring public school teachers on extended sick leave to pay for their own substitute teachers is under scrutiny by some state lawmakers after NPR member station KQED reported on the practice.

Courtesy of repmmurphy.com

Pleasant Plains is a small but prosperous town about 15 minutes northwest of Springfield. Its schools are all rated “commendable,” and their test results outshine state averages in every subject.

And yet, in March, the high school principal, Luke Brooks, asked Illinois lawmakers to stop requiring algebra.

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Robert Smith encouraged graduates to "pay it forward"

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Academics Gather To Study Phish, Man

May 19, 2019

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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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