Education

Ways to Connect

After the 2016 presidential election, teachers across the country reported they were seeing increased name-calling and bullying in their classrooms. Now, research shows that those stories — at least in one state — are confirmed by student surveys.

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Why Los Angeles Teachers Are Striking

Jan 8, 2019

Updated Monday, Jan. 14, at 10:31 a.m. ET.

Teachers in Los Angeles, the nation's second largest school district, began a strike on Monday. It's the first time the city has seen a teacher strike in nearly 30 years, and roughly 480,000 public school students will be affected.

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A blistering report released on Wednesday by an investigative panel looking into the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last year, exposes a litany of school security breaches and chaotic protocol leading to the deaths of 17 students and faculty, and it recommends arming teachers to prevent or slow future on-campus attacks.

A for-profit higher education company will no longer collect nearly a half-billion dollars in student debt, now that the firm has reached settlements with 48 states and the District of Columbia.

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Jack Silva didn't know anything about how children learn to read. What he did know is that a lot of students in his district were struggling.

Silva is the chief academic officer for Bethlehem, Pa., public schools. In 2015, only 56 percent of third-graders were scoring proficient on the state reading test. That year, he set out to do something about that.

"It was really looking yourself in the mirror and saying, 'Which 4 in 10 students don't deserve to learn to read?' " he recalls.

Whether you're a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, a Slytherin or a muggle still hoping your Hogwarts letter will arrive by owl, it is undeniable that the Harry Potter fandom has had a lasting impact throughout the world.

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This story is part of our ongoing "Missed Connections" series, and it begins at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore.

Greg McKelvey says the day he crossed paths with police officer Andrew Halbert eight years ago left him deeply affected. This month, McKelvey reflected on the incident in a Twitter thread that went viral.

A 16-year-old is scheduled to graduate from high school in Kansas and Harvard University within the span of two weeks.

Braxton Moral, a senior at Ulysses High School, plans to attend the school's commencement May 19, then the university's ceremonies later in the month, reported The Hutchinson News.

"I'm not any different; I just do a little thing on the side," he told NPR. "I try to play it down at high school because if I talk about it, it becomes a divide."

In a classroom that's so cold you can see your own breath, five teenage girls, their hair covered by brightly patterned scarves, and two boys read English phrases from textbooks. Repeating after their teacher, they say, "It has plants from all over the world."

The lesson, about an indoor rainforest in the United Kingdom, is a world away from the devastation surrounding them. They are students in Raqqa, Syria, a city that ISIS once claimed as its capital.

In 2006, Derek Amato suffered a major concussion from diving into a shallow swimming pool. When he woke up in the hospital, he was different. He discovered he was really good a playing piano.

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How Do You Teach Kids To Be Honest?

Dec 25, 2018

Let's say you're a student in class. There are boxes full of delicious snacks on a table in front of the room: muffins, peanut brittle, candy, samosas (deep-fried potatoes wrapped in a packet of dough). There's a money box next to the snacks.

It's up to you whether to pay or not. And nobody's watching.

Would you be an honest citizen and toss some coins into the box? Or would you walk off with a snack without chipping in?

That's the premise of the honesty shop – an unattended business that relies on the customer to do the right thing.

Four days a week, Micah Swimmer facilitates an all-day language session between young adults who are learning Eastern Band Cherokee and older, fluent speakers.

He points to the back of his classroom at the New Kituwah Academy in Cherokee, N.C. It's early September, and sheets of paper on a bulletin board display the names of 226 Eastern Band Cherokee members.

"That's all we have out of [about] 16,000 enrolled members," he says. "That's all we have left that are fluent speakers."

There are hundreds of books about picking the best college. But let's face it: Most of them are written for high schoolers. In reality, 40 percent of college students are 25 or older — well out of high school — and many have kids, full-time jobs or both. (We've written about this before.)

Now, a new book by Rebecca Klein-Collins offers advice and guidance for the adult student looking to go to college.

It's the time of year when schoolchildren and, let's be honest, sometimes their parents, face a big decision: what gift to give their teacher for the holidays. There's the old standby, an apple on the desk. Gift cards are also convenient; and homemade cookies can earn bonus points. But many students get far more creative.

When was the first time race — as a concept or category — came up in conversation with your child?

What questions did they have? Is there anything you wish you could have handled differently? Or if you haven't had this conversation yet, do you have any questions about how to begin?

Tell us your story in a voice memo. Use this form or email it to parenting@npr.org.

A federal commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommends rescinding Obama-era guidance intended to reduce racial discrimination in school discipline. And, DeVos says, it urges schools to "seriously consider partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel."

Sometimes a psychiatric crisis can be triggered by something small. For Alexia Phillips, 21, it was a heated argument with a close family member in February 2017. She remembers the fight blew up before she left the house to go to classes at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

By midday, Phillips, then a sophomore, says she began to cry loudly and uncontrollably.

"It really triggered me. I just got really angry really fast...I was crying so much I couldn't breathe and couldn't talk. I didn't know how to handle it," she says.

Students in U.S. schools were less likely to be suspended in 2016 than they were in 2012. But the progress is incremental, and large gaps — by race and by special education status — remain.

This data comes from an analysis of federal data for NPR in partnership with the nonprofit organization Child Trends. And it comes as the Trump administration is preparing the final report from a school safety commission that is expected to back away from or rescind Obama-era guidance intended to reduce racial disparities in school discipline.

Yassiry Gonzalez goes to bed early. But often she wakes up around 1 or 2 in the morning. And from then on, sometimes all the way through dawn, the New York City high school student is on her phone — on FaceTime with close friends, or looking through Instagram.

"Sometimes, I'm so tired that I'll just fall asleep in school." She estimates the all-nighters happen once or twice a week. And on the weekends? "There's no sleep. No sleep."

Looking back, 2018 may be the year that a critical mass of people started wondering: Am I spending too much time on my phone?

A spike in blood pressure. A racing heart rate. Sweaty palms.

For many adults, this is what they feel when faced with difficult math.

But for kids, math anxiety isn't just a feeling, it can affect their ability to do well in school. This fear tends to creep up on students when performance matters the most, like during exams or while speaking in class.

One reason for a kid's math anxiety? How their parents feel about the subject.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

The Education Department hatches plan to fix troubled TEACH grant

The Education Department plans to erase debt for thousands of teachers whose TEACH grants were converted to loans, after an almost year-long NPR investigation into the troubled federal program.

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