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

Student loan debt in the United States has more than doubled over the past decade to about $1.5 trillion, and the Federal Reserve now estimates that it is cutting into millennials' ability to buy homes.

Homeownership rates for people ages 24 to 32 dropped nearly 9 percentage points between 2005 and 2014 — effectively driving down homeownership rates overall. In January, the Fed estimated 20 percent of that decline is attributable to student loan debt.

US Dept of Education

Illinois could save millions of dollars on incarceration costs if the federal ban on Pell Grants for inmates was lifted, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate students to help them pay for college.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Gender, Power And Fairness.

About Jackson Katz's TED Talk

Anti-sexism educator Jackson Katz refuses to see gender violence issues as women's issues that "good men help out with." He implores men to examine their privilege and their role in sexual assault.

About Jackson Katz

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Gender, Power And Fairness.

About Laura Bates' TED Talk

Most women experience sexism and harassment on a regular basis — daily acts that are often ignored. With her Everyday Sexism Project, writer Laura Bates wanted to give women an outlet to speak up.

About Laura Bates

Homeland Security agents created a fake university in Michigan to attract foreign nationals who wanted to use student status to extend U.S. visa privileges, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday. The University of Farmington didn't have any professors or hold any classes — but that didn't matter to "students" who used the sham school to stay in the U.S. illegally, the government says.

Copyright 2019 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

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Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

When Illinois adopted a new school funding formula in 2017, it was the culmination of a multi-years-long effort involving a handful of complicated proposals. So perhaps it’s no surprise that a few details slipped through the cracks. But one of those details was pretty big; it was the school clock.

What counts as a school day? Well, five clock hours of instructional time has been the law of the land in Illinois as long as anybody can remember. That’s enough for a half dozen classes, plus a passing period and lunch. But for reasons that no one has stated on the record, that provision disappeared when the new school funding formula took effect, leaving the minimum number of required instructional hours at zero.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A state lawmaker has proposed a plan to use state funds to build a new higher education center in downtown Springfield.

State Senator Andy Manar (D, Bunker Hill) introduced legislation on Wednesday that calls for $50 million to build a campus and public affairs center. The proposed building would sit within a mile of Southern Illinois University's existing medical school.

c/o Marc Nelson

In highly politicized times such as these, teachers are often warned to remain neutral in the classroom. But at a public primary school in Kewanee, Illinois, one art teacher is showing kids it’s their duty to speak out about injustices.

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A new musical duo is being hailed across the country as "brilliant" and "mesmerizing." One fan says their work "transcends all ages," and many more are begging them to go on tour.

But to do that, the singers would have to quit their day jobs. They're not professional musicians — they're school administrators in Michigan. Their breakout hit? A video announcing a snow day.

The Department of Education has been inundated with approximately 100,000 public comments on its proposed new rules for how campuses handle cases of sexual assault. Secretary Betsy DeVos opened the public comment period two months ago, after unveiling her plan to replace Obama-era rules with regulations that, she says, would better protect the accused. The window for comments closes Wednesday at midnight.

A Duke University professor's email asking Chinese students not to speak their native language in the buildings that house the department of biostatistics has created quite a stir both in the United States and in China.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin. A 911 dispatcher named Antonia Bundy took a call earlier this month from a boy who sounded frustrated and sad.

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Love is on the air.

Or at least, it will be soon.

Ahead of Valentine's Day, NPR's Morning Edition is asking teachers to give the following prompt to their students: "Love is ... "

Fill in the blank. Have your students write a line or a whole poem, and then submit their responses. The poems could be used in an upcoming segment with poet Kwame Alexander on Morning Edition.

When the Chemours chemical plant in New Johnsonville, Tenn., needed workers to maintain its high-tech machinery, it advertised for them as far as 90 miles away in Nashville in one direction and 150 miles away in Memphis on the other.

It still couldn't fill the jobs.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Two students in lab
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

College has traditionally been the place young adults get the education they need to pursue their life’s calling. At one of Chicago’s City Colleges, there’s a program for student’s whose life calling deals with death.

Alycia Adams attends Malcolm X College, which is strategically located near Chicago’s medical district, and specializes in the health sciences. But unlike most of her classmates at Malcolm X, Adams isn’t learning anything about saving lives.

“It started with a guinea pig, in third grade,” she says. “I had the responsibility of taking care of it over the summer, and they don’t live long, and so it died.”

The image of a Chinese schoolyard full of students doing calisthenics isn't new.

But these moves definitely are.

Dressed in a sleek black-on-black ensemble, school principal Zhang Pengfei leads his students in a synchronized routine that would turn heads in any dance club. In matching tracksuits, the kids at Xi Guan Primary School in Shanxi province shuffle their feet, pump their arms, and do the Charleston and the Running Man.

Do yourself a favor and watch both videos here immediately.

Los Angeles Teachers Return To Class

Jan 23, 2019

Copyright 2019 KCRW. To see more, visit KCRW.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A viral video of white male teenagers surrounding Nathan Phillips, a member of the Omaha tribe went viral over the weekend.

Nick Martin, writing for Splinter, said “that teenager in the video, standing so emboldened in front of Phillips, was doing exactly what he was taught to do, by his school, by his friends, by his country.”

Sarah Edwards/Illinois Public Media

Perry Cline’s story is a remarkable one. He’s a formerly incarcerated 51-year-old man who overcame the odds to graduate from the University of Illinois last month.

 

This is a follow-up to last week’s story about Cline and what it took for him to achieve his academic goals.

 

We felt it important to give Cline the space and a platform to tell that story himself — both in video and through a longer audio story.

The teachers union in Denver has voted to approve a strike that could begin as soon as Jan. 28. It would be the first time the city has seen a teacher strike in almost 25 years.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association finished voting late Tuesday after more than a year of negotiations between the union and the district, which have failed to yield an agreement.

Luigi Disisto is a 47-year-old man who has autism and lives at a private special education center based in suburban Boston best known for being the only school in the country that shocks its students with disabilities to control their behavior.

Disisto wears a backpack equipped with a battery and wires that are attached to his body to deliver a two-second shock if he misbehaves.

Copyright 2019 KPCC. To see more, visit KPCC.

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Big news here around LA. Students attending school in Los Angeles today will find something different - teachers in the classrooms.

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Reanna Robinson's life this spring is pretty hectic. She works full-time as a TSA officer at Reagan National Airport, she's raising her 1-year-old daughter, and she's taking five college classes on her way to a degree in criminal justice.

On top of all that, she's dealing with more financial pressure than usual. That's because, as an essential worker during a government shutdown that has stretched to 31 days, she's still reporting for work but not getting a paycheck.

"It's very stressful," she says. "It kind of takes a mental toll on you."

Copyright 2019 KPCC. To see more, visit KPCC.

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Today - a tentative deal in Los Angeles where teachers began a strike more than a week ago. Mayor Eric Garcetti called today's deal a historic agreement.

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Updated 9:38 a.m. ET Thursday

Union members in Los Angeles voted to approve a deal with the city's school district on Tuesday, ending a six-day teacher strike. Teachers headed back to class on Wednesday.

According to a Wednesday news release, 81 percent of United Teachers Los Angeles members who cast a ballot voted in favor of the agreement.

"I couldn't be prouder to be a teacher tonight," said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl at a Tuesday news conference in which he announced the preliminary results.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Looking back at week one of the LA teacher strike

The school district and union leaders returned to the negotiation table on Thursday, and with talks scheduled throughout the weekend, some are trying to see an end to this week-long teacher strike.

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