Education

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As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Kristy vanMarle knew she wanted to go to grad school for psychology, but wasn't sure what lab to join. Then, she saw a flyer: Did you know that babies can count?

Hey America, We're Listening

Jul 31, 2017

If you could change how the media cover who you are, where you live and what you believe, how would you do it? We’re opening our phone lines at 855-236-1A1A (1212) to listen to you in a special show that goes beyond labels and identity politics to pay close attention to what’s on the minds of Americans today.

U.S. high schools got a high-tech update this past school year. Not by federal fiat or by state law, but largely at the hand of independent nonprofits, including one founded by twin brothers less than five years ago.

Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as "getting the school boards to recognize ... the garbage that's in our textbooks."

Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens' Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Malala Yousafzai walks hand-in-hand with her father down a dirt road in northern Iraq. The youngest Nobel laureate has just turned 20. But in some ways, she is still the teenager from Pakistan propelled onto a world stage after being shot for advocating the right of girls to go to school.

Every year Patrick Engleman plays a little trick on his students. The high school chemistry teacher introduces his ninth-graders in suburban Philadelphia to an insidious substance called dihydrogen monoxide. It's "involved in 80 percent of fatal car crashes. It's in every single cancer cell. This stuff, it'll burn you," he tells them.

But dihydrogen monoxide is water. He says several of his honors classes decided to ban it based just on what he told them.

Copyright 2017 90.5 WESA. To see more, visit 90.5 WESA.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

How To Keep Friends And Influence Yourself

Jul 27, 2017

Can facts change beliefs?

Research is still being done on the topic. But, the fact that it’s unclear if that’s the case says a lot about how firmly held our opinions can be. If an army of fact-checkers can’t move a mind, what can?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is taking his shot helping narrow the opportunity and equity gaps with his Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook. The Los Angeles nonprofit helps public school students in the city access a free, fun, weeklong STEM education camp experience in the Angeles National Forest.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dr. Carmen Puliafito was dean of the medical school at the University of Southern California. A photo in the LA Times shows a man in a dark suit and tie, a white shirt and a serious expression.

Teachers have one of the lowest-paid professional jobs in the U.S. You need a bachelor's degree, which can be costly — an equation that often means a lot of student loans. We've reported on the factors that make this particular job even more vulnerable to a ton of debt, including chronically low teacher pay, the increasing pressure to get a master's degree and the many ways to repay loans or apply for loan forgiveness.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's welcome news to anyone planning to attend college soon or their parents - tuition is growing at the slowest pace in decades. Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on this trend and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

On-campus disciplinary processes for assaults that are reported have drawn criticism from both survivors and those accused of assault. According to federal statistics, only about one in six survivors of sexual assault on college campuses report the incident to school authorities.

Emporia, Kansas is home to rolling prairies, wheat fields, and the world's biggest frisbee golf tournament.

But the reason we went there: the National Teacher Hall of Fame, which gives the place it's most revered title, Teacher Town USA.

In 1989 the members of the Emporia local school board and Emporia State University asked, 'Why doesn't anyone honor teachers?'

To fill the void, they created the museum and hall of fame, where the top five teachers in the nation are honored every year. To be eligible, you must have taught for 20 years or more.

The Controversy Over Comprehensive Sex Ed

Jul 24, 2017

Yes, sex education class is still just as embarrassing and awkward as it ever was. But what kids are learning in school about the birds and bees may be changing.

President Trump’s administration is poised to defund some teen pregnancy prevention research programs which had been supported by the Department of Health and Human Services. And the new assistant secretary for HHS is an advocate for teaching an abstinence-only curriculum in schools.

Katie Atkinson / GPB News

Kids sing and dance at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Macon. Later, they’ll go swimming or tour the local museum.  

This is no ordinary summer camp, it’s Freedom School. And these kids are here to read.

The original Freedom Schools provided free, alternate education for black students during the Civil Rights Movement. The Children’s Defense Fund re-imagined the program in 1995.

Today’s Freedom Schools exist in 29 states, including Georgia. The program expanded to Macon this year.

It's afternoon, and in a spacious courtyard in Accra, Ghana, children sit at tables and talk to adult mentors. Pat Wilkins, a youthful 52-year-old, firmly asks what they've been learning in school. She peers seriously at them through her glasses. And then "Aunty Pat" — as the kids call her — cracks a smile.

It's this blend of discipline and nurturing that's the foundation of BASICS, a nonprofit organization Wilkins started in 2001 that aims to change lives by guiding low-income children through school and preparing them for skilled jobs.

"It beeped in the envelope. That's how we knew."

Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers.

That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games.

This week, the FIRST Global Challenge, a highly anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries, ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, members of the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. And well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied the members visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.

Former Child Bride Is Pedaling Her Way To A Brighter Future

Jul 22, 2017

At 14, Jenipher Sanni married a man who already had a wife and kids. He yelled at her a lot. She dropped out of school.

Now 20, she's left her husband and is a newly minted high school graduate. And she's helping girls in her community stay in school.

In this week's edition of our education news roundup, we take you from school vouchers to AP exams to community college.

Betsy DeVos speaks to American Legislative Exchange Council

Protests greeted the education secretary in Denver this week at her speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Her family has close ties to the organization, which brings together state legislators, free-market conservatives and corporate sponsors to write model bills that get adopted all over the country.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

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.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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!"

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says the Fort Valley State University, a historically black college in middle Georgia, has failed to comply with core requirements for accreditation.

 

These include improving financial control, student support services, and physical facilities. SACS also says Fort Valley is not meeting their requirements involving federal student aid funds.

 

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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