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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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Litigating Title IX

Aug 18, 2019

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Teaching To Protect The Hopi Language

Aug 17, 2019

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What if you could change your child's future in just one hour a week? One educator says there's a secret weapon out there to help struggling students - their families. NPR's Anya Kamenetz has the story.

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On Monday, nearly 60,000 public school students in El Paso, Texas, will start the school year amid an air of mourning, fear and resilience.

The first day of school in El Paso's largest district comes more than a week after a mass shooting at a local Walmart left 22 people dead. According to a police affidavit, the suspect charged in the attack later said he had intentionally targeted "Mexicans."

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Soon after the ICE raids, Americans saw pictures of weeping children. Kids in Mississippi, who were supposed to be enjoying their first week of school, instead learned their parents had been taken away.

Last month, opera star David Daniels and his husband, William "Scott" Walters, were indicted by Harris County, Texas on a felony charge of sexual assault. Simultaneously, the singer is battling the University of Michigan (UM), where he has taught since 2015 and where he was granted tenure in May 2018. Earlier this year, the school began seeking to fire Daniels over multiple, serious allegations of sexual misconduct.

Cornell Tech
Lindsay France / Cornell University

Most press conferences don’t provide breakfast pastries. But in mid-May, when the University of Illinois announced that every public four-year college in the state had signed on to its Innovation Network, the event was staged with some extra sizzle. Along with muffins, coffee and juice, there was a line-up of college presidents and chancellors, plus Springfield mayor Jim Langfelder, flanked by a big banner showing 15 stars strewn across the state of Illinois.

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Coming To America: Our Best Student Podcasts About Immigration

Aug 3, 2019

When Fahmo Abdi and her family immigrated to the United States from Kenya, they lost contact with all of their loved ones. While living in a refugee camp, Abdi's mother decided to move her family to the United States in search of a better life. "She knew she had to work hard to provide for us and [for] her family back home," Abdi recalls.

But once they arrived, it was difficult to stay in touch. After eight years of attempting to contact relatives in Kenya, Abdi's mother learned that her brother — Abdi's uncle — was still alive.

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Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman is sitting in a rocking chair on a farmhouse porch in the hills of rural east Tennessee. She's granting a rare interview on the farm she bought 25 years ago to use as a retreat to train a new generation of activists.

A sudden knock at one's door. An unexpected call to meet off campus. Surreptitious visits to family members.

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"The Addams Family" musical made its debut on Broadway in 2010. The story of a weird, ghoulish family that loves all things death, in song and dance.

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Public school students in South Dakota will notice something different on their first day back to school — the national motto, "In God We Trust," prominently inscribed on walls in stencil or paint.

A new state law that took effect this month requires the message to be displayed in an area where students are "most likely" to see it, such as a cafeteria or entryway.

Roughly 9 million children — nearly 1 in 5 public school students in the U.S. — attend schools that are racially isolated and receive far less money than schools just a few miles away. That's according to a sweeping new review of the nation's most divisive school district borders from EdBuild, a nonprofit that investigates school funding inequities.

A public school district in Pennsylvania that faced a national outcry after threatening to place children in foster care over unpaid cafeteria debt has received several offers to pay off the entire tab, but school officials do not seem interested.

Midstate College President Meredith Bunch says low and declining enrollment has forced the sudden closure of the 131-year-old private institution in Peoria. 

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Dozens of families in Pennsylvania received an alarming letter from their public school district this month informing parents that if their kid's lunch debt was not settled, their child could be removed from their home and placed in foster care.

Wyoming Valley West School District, one of the poorest districts in the state as measured by per-pupil spending, is located in a former coal mining community in Northeastern Pennsylvania, known affectionately by locals as "The Valley."

Anya Kamenetz is an NPR education correspondent, a host of Life Kit and author of The Art Of Screen Time. This story draws from the book and recent reporting for Life Kit's guide, Parenting: Screen Time And Your Family.

Elise Potts picked up her 17-month-old daughter, Eliza, from daycare recently. When they got home they were greeted by a strange scene.

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