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Steven Isaacs — @mr_isaacs on Twitter — is a full-time technology teacher in Baskingridge, N.J. He's also the co-founder of a new festival that set the Guinness World Record for largest gathering dedicated to a single video game.

The game that cements both halves of his life together? Minecraft.

When People With Autism Encounter Police

Aug 8, 2017

With guest host John Donvan.

Missed social cues are awkward. But what happens when poor communication is a matter of life and death?

People with autism are significantly more likely to have an encounter with law enforcement over the course of their lives. Now, more police officers are being trained to better understand their interactions with men, women and children on the autism spectrum.

Old Shoe Woman / Foter

This week marks the beginning of school for many districts in Metro Atlanta. But as of mid-June, there were 1,400 vacancies in schools across the city. DeKalb County alone lost 900 teachers at the end of last school year.

It's a fall tradition: Students don college sweatshirts and their parents, meanwhile, sweat the tuition bills.

One flash-in-the-pan movie this summer even featured a couple, played by Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, who start a casino to cope with their kids' college costs.

Annual tuition hikes have been pretty much a given in higher ed, but recently, there are signs that the decades-long rise in college costs is nearing a peak.

The cubist revolution, now in its eighth year, is thriving.

That's Minecraft cubes, of course.

The game where you build virtual Lego-like worlds and populate them with people, animals and just about everything in between is one of the most popular games ever made; it's second only to Tetris as the best-selling video game of all time. There's gold in them thar cubes: More than 120 million copies have sold since Minecraft launched in 2009.*

So what's behind the game's enduring appeal?

Betsy DeVos was back in western Michigan last week. It was her first public visit to the area where she grew up since being named education secretary. She visited a science-focused summer learning program and Grand Rapids Community College, and she met privately with superintendents from across the state.

Brian MacDonald was looking for a new home several years ago in the wealthy city of Pasadena, Calif. He says when he told the real estate agent that he had five school-aged children, she told him not to enroll in Pasadena's public schools.

That was pretty surprising to MacDonald. He's the school district's superintendent.

"Her recommendation was Arcadia, or even Glendora," two nearby cities, he says. "She thought that it was OK to tell me that I should put my kids in another district. I mean, I couldn't believe it. My jaw dropped."

LA Schools And Charters

Aug 6, 2017

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The Justice Department confirms it is looking into a complaint that accuses Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. The probe raises questions about whether college admission policies in general may come under scrutiny by the Trump Administration.

A coalition of more than 60 organizations accuses Harvard of holding Asian-American applicants to higher standards than black and Latino applicants.

Swan Lee of Brookline is an organizer of the coalition.

For students starting medical school, the first year can involve a lot of time in a lecture hall. There are hundreds of terms to master and pages upon pages of notes to take.

But when the new class of medical students begins at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine next week, a lot of that learning won't take place with a professor at a lectern.

The school has begun to phase out lectures in favor of what's known as "active learning" and plans to be done with lectures altogether by 2019.

If you've ever driven south into Kansas on Interstate 35, past rolling prairies and wheat fields, eventually you'll run into the town of Emporia, population 25,000 and home to the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

I took that drive recently, curious about what I would find but also wondering, why Emporia?

"Why not Emporia?" asks Jennifer Baldwin, the administrative assistant of the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A legal motion the Department of Education filed yesterday could have big ramifications for half a million teachers, social workers, police officers and other public servants. The motion asserts that there has been no final decision on whether these people will have their student debt forgiven, as they had believed.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

When students don’t come to open house, why not take open house on the road?

That’s what teachers at Hartley Elementary in Macon did the day before the first day of school this week when they piled onto a bus and toured the Hartley school zone.

Why do this? Principal Carmalita Dillard said, sure, a lot of kids missed open house, but there were other reasons.

“I want the teachers to be able to experience where our kids come from,” Dillard said.

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There are some things Harvey Mudd College would like to be known for: being a small, close-knit, gender-balanced, racially and ethnically diverse engineering college; faculty who focus on teaching; graduates who head to companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft and earn six figures by mid-career.

And here is something it would not like to be known for: The last 12 months.

Copyright 2017 WBEZ. To see more, visit WBEZ.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A version of this story was first posted by member station WBEZ.

State money to public schools across Illinois could be cut off due to yet another budget impasse between lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

On Tuesday, Rauner, a Republican, partially vetoed a bill to overhaul the state's school funding formula, denouncing it a "bailout" of Chicago Public Schools.

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.

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