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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Primary schools in France are reopening next week.

There will, of course, be social distancing measures in place. Class sizes will be limited to 15 and no games at recess. It's a gradual three-week process beginning with preschoolers.

The government says the reopening is voluntary and students won't be forced to return.

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Middle school spans those tween and early teenage years when, for many, puberty hits.

Bullies seem to reign supreme. And we begin to grow into ourselves.

Like most, writer and reporter Judith Warner was once a middle schooler. She's also the mother of two former middle schoolers. In her new book, And Then They Stopped Talking To Me, she investigates why the middle-school years can be so awful — and what we can do to help make them a little bit better.

When Congress allocated money for higher education in the coronavirus rescue package, it set aside nearly $350 million for colleges that had "significant unmet needs."

Most of that money has now been allotted by the U.S. Department of Education to small, private colleges that serve just a fraction of U.S. college students. Meanwhile, public colleges — which serve more than 70% of all college students — are facing a steep drop in state funding.

Updated on May 12 at 11:20 a.m. ET

A for-profit college received millions of dollars from the federal government to help low-income students whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, but that same school, Florida Career College (FCC), is also accused of defrauding students.

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School districts across the state have been resourceful in coming up with ways to honor their high school graduates, as health regulations prohibit the typical ceremonies.  But some of those plans ran into roadblocks with the governor’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. 

No field trips. No game rooms. No teddy bears. These are some of the CDC's guidelines for reopening schools, childcare centers and day camps safely in places where coronavirus cases are on the decline.

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Is it time for states to reopen their economies? President Trump really wants it to happen. But the question is whether or not it's safe.

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May 7 is the date that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, declared it was safe to open up schools. The state has had fewer than 500 reported cases of the coronavirus as of this week.

New federal regulations on how schools – from kindergarten all the way through college — must respond to cases of sexual assault and harassment are drawing swift and mixed reactions.

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It is graduation season and Trent Johnson Jr. was ready to strut across the stage for his medical degree when he got some news.

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When After-School Is Shut Down, Too

May 6, 2020

When Jessyka Bagdon set out to move her tap dancing classes online, big questions started popping up right away: What about kids who don't own their own tap shoes? How to tap dance at home without ruining the floor?

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Let's visit the kitchen of an elementary school counselor in Ohio. Her name is Marie Weller, and she has turned to YouTube to help kids stranded away from school during this pandemic. NPR's Cory Turner has been visiting with her.

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What will happen on college campuses in the fall? It's a big question for families, students and the schools themselves.

A lot of what happens depends on factors outside the control of individual schools: Will there be more testing? Contact tracing? Enough physical space for distancing? Will the coronavirus have a second wave? Will any given state allow campuses to reopen?

For all of these questions, it's really too early to know the answers. But one thing is clear: Life, and learning for the nation's 20 million students in higher education, will be different.

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Nearly 70,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. Some of them worked in schools - teachers, coaches, counselors. Today we remember three of those people as seen through the eyes of their students.

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Allie Clancy is technically still a college student. She's a senior at Lasell University in Massachusetts. But she doesn't really feel like she goes to school anymore.

She's graduating in May, but the ceremony is postponed. Maybe until the fall. Maybe until next year.

"You kind of just dream of [graduation] since your freshman year because ...[you see] people take their senior pictures around campus and picking out their dresses and getting to celebrate with their family and friends," Clancy says.

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Schools and universities in New York state will remain closed through the rest of the current academic year, with current distance learning plans remaining in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.

Cuomo said schools could not safely reopen, citing concerns over social distancing in classrooms as well as in transportation, and college dorms. The announcement at the governor's daily briefing extends a previous closure order — which shut schools through May 14 — to the end of the academic year.

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