Education

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On average, scores released in the 2017 Georgia Milestones end of year test show incremental but positive improvement for schools across the state. Look past the big picture, though, and schools still have ground to make up. 

Take third grade literacy, largely held as one of the best predictors of future academic achievement. Third grade literacy ranged from being almost universal in some suburban schools to being largely absent elsewhere.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Meghan McCain writes that, of her family members, the one most confident and calm right now is her father.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Her father is Senator John McCain. And his office says he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke to the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, on Thursday in Denver, but protests from left-wing activists and teacher groups started Wednesday.

Hundreds marched from the state Capitol in Denver to the Hyatt Regency, the site of the speech, with signs reading: "Dump Betsy DeVos," "Take Devouchers Elsewhere" and "Stop School Privatization!"

Five billion dollars in outstanding private student loan debt may be forgiven because of poor record keeping by financial companies, an investigation by The New York Times found this week.

Mitch Daniels went from running the state of Indiana, as its two-term Republican governor, to running its top flight public university, Purdue University, based in West Lafayette.

Every year, many students who have overcome daunting obstacles in high school receive good news — they've been accepted to college.

These kids represent a success story: through hard work and determination, they've made into college, and perhaps even on to a better life.

Except it doesn't always work out that way.

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Many things are not working well,” said Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a recent Q&A about sexual assault on college campuses.

Those of my generation have seen enormous advances in speech recognition systems.

In the early days, the user had to train herself to the system, exaggerating phonemes, speaking in slow staccato bursts. These days, it's the system that trains itself to the user. The results aren't perfect, but they're pretty darn good.

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

Jul 17, 2017

Raising teenage girls can be a tough job. Raising black teenage girls as white parents can be even tougher. Aaron and Colleen Cook knew that when they adopted their twin daughters, Mya and Deanna.

As spring came around this year, the girls, who just turned 16, told their parents they wanted to get braided hair extensions. Their parents happily obliged, wanting Mya and Deanna to feel closer to their black heritage.

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Teenagers often have to wait years to do the things they want to do — drive, drink, vote. But for Mara Clawson, it was something different.

As a teen, Clawson loved making art — specifically drawing with pastels.

"I am overloaded and struggling. It's terrifying."

"I feel like I'll be making the last payment from my grave."

"It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I'm getting nowhere."

"Help!"

Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed's first Teacher Student Debt survey.

Hello! No shortage of education headlines even in the height of summer for our weekly roundup.

DeVos meets with "men's rights" groups on campus sexual assault

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Cell Towers At Schools: Godsend Or God-Awful?

Jul 14, 2017

School districts — hard up for cash — are turning to an unlikely source of revenue: cell towers. The multistory metal giants are cropping up on school grounds in Chicago, Milpitas, Calif., Collier County, Fla. and many other places across the country.

The big reason: money. As education budgets dwindle, districts are forming partnerships with telecom companies to allow use of their land in exchange for some of the profits.

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Bicycles hang from the walls of a tiny room at Strong Tower Church while young boys move to their work stations. They pick up wrenches and wait for instruction.

 

These kids are part of Macon’s Learn and Earn bike program, where students are given a used bike and taught how to fix it up. After ten hours of repair work, they get to take their bike home.

The new federal education law is supposed to return to the states greater control over their public schools.

But judging from the mood recently at the annual conference of the Education Commission of the States, the states are anything but optimistic about the future, or about the new law.

Betsy DeVos has put the brakes on two Obama-era regulations aimed at protecting student borrowers. Beginning with two public hearings this week, one in Washington, D.C., on Monday and a second Wednesday in Dallas, the Education Department is asking stakeholders to go back to the starting line.

On Monday, speaker after speaker in favor of the rules expressed weariness at the reopening of a "negotiated rulemaking" process that took several years and much legal wrangling.

By the time my younger son is midway through third grade, I realize that his academic progress has stalled. He's stuck somewhere between kindergarten and first grade.

School is a struggle for him. He has a language-based learning disability, which affects how long it takes for him to process new information before he can respond.

We have safeguards — classroom accommodations and an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, a document required by law for students who receive special education — to keep him on track.

Except, that he isn't.

Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest.

But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves.

And so there's a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

When young people struggle through addiction or substance abuse, there's also the question of school. Getting behind academically can be detrimental to learning and future success, but traditional school can be tough for kids whose peer groups use drugs or alcohol and where treatment resources can be limited.

Hello and welcome to another edition of our weekly roundup of education news!

Department of Education sued by coalition of states

A Transgender Child Faces Growing Up

Jul 8, 2017

It's safe to say that Q Daily, who's 11, is savoring childhood. He is an avid climber of trees. A dancer and loves Michael Jackson. He treasures play. Adults, he laments, can be quite boring — particularly at parties.

"All that I think they do," says Q, "is sit around, talk and drink wine."

Q says he'd prefer not to grow up. But he is now on the cusp of middle school, adolescence and facing his changing body. And for a transgender child, this time of life is particularly complex.

Zachariah Ibrahim dreams of being a pilot. That's not so unusual for a 13-year-old kid. But not that long ago, Zachariah didn't have many dreams for the future.

Two young Nigerians helped give him hope again.

In 1978 Waymann Washington had two major things going for him: As a young man, he had his whole life in front of him. He'd also been granted a scholarship to go to college and play football. Two months into school, he dropped out.

Right now he's serving a six-year sentence at the Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield, Ohio, for drug trafficking.

And at 59, he's found college again.

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