Ways to Connect

Julia Keleher, Puerto Rico's education secretary, stood in front of a school library full of high school students and asked them to do something students in Puerto Rico's public schools aren't often asked.

"Take out your phones," she said. "Look up the definition of charter school."

A girl's hand shot up.

"A charter school," the girl read, "is a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established state school system in which it is located."

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"I am breaking an agreement between adults to honor a pact and an agreement I have with the children of Miami."

That was Alberto Carvalho's surprising statement today at an hours-long emergency meeting of the Miami-Dade County school board that was broadcast live. In it, the city's highly regarded superintendent said he is no longer interested in running New York City's public schools, the nation's largest school system.

After last month's mass shooting a Florida high school, students around the nation have staged walk-outs, rallies and other demonstrations to advocate for stricter gun measures. In response, some school administrators have threatened to suspend students who protest, and are being criticized for cracking down too hard. At the same time, many colleges are sending the opposite message, encouraging and congratulating students' activism.

In Boston, New Mission High School junior Ariyana Jones says many students at her school have been scared off from participating.

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The Library of Congress hosted a very special guest at story time this week:

Dolly Parton.

The country music legend is also a champion of early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library. Every month, the nonprofit program mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers.

What was supposed to be a "cooling off" day on Wednesday was anything but at West Virginia's Capitol.

After Gov. Jim Justice and union leaders had announced a deal to end the teacher strike and send educators and service personnel back to the classroom on Thursday, uncertainty forced all of the state's counties to call off school yet again.

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We're going to end this hour with a strange and wonderful moment from earlier this week. It happened in the normally hushed Great Hall of the Library of Congress here in Washington, D.C. NPR's Maureen Pao was there.

It's too early to know if politicians will heed the calls for increased gun control after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But one thing is clear: If change comes, it will be because of the passionate activism of the schools' students.

The work stoppage that has closed public schools in West Virginia will end Thursday, leaders of teacher and service personnel unions said after meeting with the governor.