Education

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In a move that's being called "bold" and "out of the blue," Indiana's Purdue University is acquiring the for-profit Kaplan University. In announcing the deal last week, Purdue President Mitch Daniels said it was designed to open the university up to a vast new pool of students nationwide.

In the hills of southern New Hampshire, there's a stately old bell atop the Academy Building at Phillips Exeter.

With each toll, it signals passing periods between classes. The sound of the bell — much like the rest of the sprawling prep school's campus — evokes centuries of tradition. But next year, the school is trying something new.

It's all happening in an inconspicuous wood-framed building: Kirtland House. Right now, Kirtland House is a girls' dorm, but a sign on the first-floor bathroom hints at the future. It reads: "gender-inclusive restroom."

Racist hate speech on campus has become the de facto litmus test for free speech protections today. But racist hate speech may not be doing what progressive free speech defenders think it is doing.

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don't.

Immigration advocates claim that about half of the most lucrative startups in America were founded by immigrants. But it's complicated for a foreigner to start a company in America — there's no such thing as a startup visa.

That's why some entrepreneurs are "hacking the system" through a workaround that started as an experiment in Massachusetts and has expanded to five other states.

Mary Beth Burkes lives in Buchanan County, Va., a depressed coal-mining region where 1 in 4 families lives in poverty and where her autistic son gets extra help in the after-school program at his school.

Burkes says the program has been a godsend for her and other parents, because they know their children are in a safe place after school. "Their parents work," she says. "There is no day care in this area."

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On Skidaway Island today, you’ll find a state park, a marine science institute, and a private golf community. But 150 years ago, right after the Civil War, it was home to a monastery and a school for former slaves. An Armstrong State University professor and a team of student archaeologists are digging up the hidden history on the site of the former school.

 

This week and next is a national rite of passage for stressed-out overachievers everywhere. Nearly 3 million high school students at 22,000 high schools will be sitting down to take their Advanced Placement exams.

Created by the nonprofit College Board in the 1950s, AP is to other high school courses what Whole Foods is to other supermarkets: a mark of the aspirational, a promise of higher standards and, occasionally, a more expensive alternative.

As we head into the 100th day of the Trump presidency, NPR Ed has our regular weekly education roundup to keep you in the loop.

Attorneys General speak out on behalf of student borrowers

Twenty state attorneys general and the District of Columbia this week sent a letter criticizing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for revoking federal protections for student borrowers.

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At the TED Conference in Vancouver this week two TED Fellows talked about putting ideas to work to invigorate marginalized communities from within, while harnessing the collective power, creativity, and good will of residents who want to live in thriving, healthy and safe neighborhoods.

In 19th century Georgia, Princess Barbare Jorjadze grew up to be the country's first feminist. But until recently she's been best remembered for another accomplishment – her cookbook.

What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run early ed or pre-K program, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty?

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Four thousand or so people are struggling with a difficult question right now. They recently found out that they are descendants of slaves who were sold to pay a debt owed by Georgetown University. Georgetown is trying to make amends.

Fox News has been under fire in the past year for sexual harassment. First Fox chair Roger Ailes, then the network's favorite pundit, Bill O'Reilly, were forced to leave after multiple women complained of unwanted advances—and the blocked advancement they experienced when they didn't put out.

West Virginia State University announced Wednesday that it is suing Dow Chemical Co. for allegedly contaminating the groundwater beneath its campus. The school has accused the multinational chemical manufacturer of introducing three hazardous chemicals into the water in the community of Institute, near the city of Charleston.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

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Two years ago, when Amanda Gomez could not get financial aid for community college, she decided to enroll part time at El Paso Community College in Texas. This gave her time to work to pay for her courses.

Being a part-time student has its pros — mainly a lighter course load. But Gomez feels like she misses out on some important experiences, like being able to stay back after class to talk to her instructors, or study in libraries on campus.

She says the difference was notable when she took a semester as a full-time student.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio this week pushed ahead with plans to make New York City one of nation's few big cities to offer free, full-day preschool for all 3-year-olds­­.

The plan would serve, when fully rolled out over several years, more than 60,000 children a year. It builds on one of de Blasio's signature accomplishments of his first term – universal pre-K for 4-year-olds.

For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

With student debt at a staggering $1.3 trillion, many families are facing a huge financial dilemma: Their final springtime decisions about college enrollment and acceptance. The NPR Ed team teamed up with Weekend Edition to answer some listener questions about debt and degrees.

Waiting on the numbers

Marcy, from Union City, N.J. has twin girls going off to college in September.

One day Ronnie Sidney, from Tappahannock, Va., was goofing off with his classmates in math when one of them threw a paper football at the board — and it landed a little too close to the teacher. Sidney says the eighth-grade teacher, visibly frustrated, turned around and said, "None of you are going to college."

Greetings and welcome to NPR Ed's weekly roundup of education news from Washington and around the country.

Supreme Court hears a voucher-related case

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All the open seats at the Academy for Classical Education were gone by the time Sammy Smith’s daughters’ names were pulled in the school’s admissions lottery.

By then it was all about the waiting list for the parents still hanging around the ACE cafeteria on a day in February.

Organizers of Saturday's nationwide March for Science have some pretty lofty goals: supporting science "as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity." Promoting "evidence-based policies in the public interest." Oh, and don't forget highlighting "the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world."

Whoa, that's a lot of exalted ground to cover with one cardboard sign!

Like any good fifth-grade teacher, Mike Matthews wants to make his social studies unit on the American West as exciting as possible. So he's planning a special "Wild West" evening at the school with his students.

"We're going to have good ol' cowboy-fashion hot dogs and beans, Texas Toast and beef jerky," he says. Matthews will tell stories around a mock campfire, and for added authenticity, the fifth-graders will set up a saloon.

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appointed Candice Jackson as the acting assistant secretary of the Office for Civil Rights. Jackson will oversee a staff of hundreds charged with responding to thousands of civil rights complaints every year, including some from students who feel discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, sex, ability, and age.

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