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Sex Ed In Georgia Schools Still Abstinence-Heavy

Jul 30, 2018
Sophie Peel

No sex until marriage. That’s the message in many Georgia counties, where sex ed is abstinence based. Despite hundreds of student requests for science-based programs and several parent-led initiatives for curriculum change, abstinence-based programs still dominate Georgia schools.


For the past three weeks, students across India's capital have been attending a radical new course: happiness.

The Delhi government introduced "happiness classes" in an effort to shift the country's academic focus from student achievement to emotional well-being. In a country that uses standardized testing to determine student success, offers a limited number of seats in top universities and sets high expectations, educators have been seeing mental health consequences.

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

Congress approves career tech bill

Believe it or not, it's still possible: This week, Congress approved a measure with bipartisan support.

The measure in question is a rewrite of the legislation that governs more than $1 billion of federal funding for career and technical education. CTE programs are meant to give students skills and hands-on experience in a range of important fields, from construction to the culinary arts.

The U.S. Education Department is proposing changes to Obama-era rules that offer debt relief for students who were defrauded by their colleges.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Right to Speak.

About James Kirchick's TED Talk

When James Kirchick was in college, someone he found deeply offensive spoke on campus. Rather than protest, James attended the talk. He says free speech benefits everyone, especially the powerless.

About James Kirchick

Esperanza Yanez can spot a sick cow just by looking at it.

"The head hangs down and they don't eat," says Yanez, who immigrated from Mexico two decades ago and has been caring for cattle ever since.

While learning to communicate with animals takes years of patience, Yanez says the true language barrier exists between the dairy workers and the veterinarians who rarely speak Spanish. Medical terminology can be confusing, and to avoid embarrassment, Yanez says she and other workers may feign comprehension.

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During their daughter's freshman year of high school, Paul and Joy Orton spent afternoons describing biology diagrams and illustrations to her. She is blind, and the materials given to her in class were not in a format she could read.

Their daughter had no trouble understanding the material, but she was dependent on her parents. She wanted to learn on her own, like her classmates did.

Her parents successfully lobbied their northern Alabama district for a Braille biology textbook.

A version of this interview ran in 2015.

Have you ever paid your kid for good grades? Have you driven to school to drop off a forgotten assignment? Have you done a college student's laundry? What about coming along to Junior's first job interview?

Look people in the eye. Smile. Shake hands. Sit up tall. Speak clearly and confidently.

That's the last-minute advice professor Paul Calhoun gives a handful of college students before they head off for a series of job interviews. The Skidmore College juniors and seniors he's talking to are dressed in suits and button-downs; dresses and heels. They stand out in a college library swimming with other finals-takers, most in sweatpants or leggings and T-shirts.

An earlier version of this piece ran in 2016.

"Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?"

When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a "Just because." You can explain: "Red is for stop and green is for go." Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement.

Fake news. Record-low voting turnout. Frequent and false claims from elected officials. Vitriol in many corners of political debate.

These are symptoms we hear of all the time that our democracy is not so healthy.

And those factors might be why many states are turning to the traditional — and obvious — place where people learn how government is supposed to work: schools. More than half of the states in their last legislative sessions — 27 to be exact — have considered bills or other proposals to expand the teaching of civics.

Trump administration lawyers are defending their new rules on how campuses should handle cases of sexual assault. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued the new guidance last fall after scrapping Obama-era rules that she said were forcing schools to violate the due process rights of the accused. Survivors' advocates filed a federal lawsuit shortly after, arguing DeVos' replacement guidelines discriminate against accusers and discourage them from reporting assaults.

Smartphones and tablets have quickly become a permanent part of students' daily lives. Kids up to 8 years old spent almost an hour a day on mobile devices, Common Sense Media reported last year.

Rachael McRae, a fifth-grade teacher in central Illinois, was sitting on the couch the other day with her 4-month-old when she saw the email.

"He was having a fussy day," she says, "so I was bouncing him in one arm, and started going through my emails on my phone, just to feel like I was getting something done." In her spam folder, she found an email from an organization called My Pay, My Say, urging her to drop her union membership.

Rates of anxiety and depression among teens in the U.S. have been rising for years. According to one study, nearly one in three adolescents (ages 13-18) now meets the criteria for an anxiety disorder, and in the latest results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 32 percent of teens reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.

Do you remember the day you decided you were no good at math?

Or maybe you had the less common, opposite experience: a moment of math excitement that hooked you for good?

Thousands of studies have been published that touch on the topic of "math anxiety." Overwhelming fear of math, regardless of one's actual aptitude, affects students of all ages, from kindergarten to grad school.

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

Secret Service releases guide to prevent school shootings

Build a team of people to monitor the school and its students. Define unacceptable and concerning behaviors. Have a hub where people can report suspicious activity. Determine when the police should be involved.

As a parent, did you ever push your child in ways you now regret – or not push enough? Or when you were a child, did you ever feel pushed too hard or not enough?

A version of this piece ran in February 2018.

Parents today struggle to set screen time guidelines.

One big reason is a lack of role models. Grandma doesn't have any tried-and-true sayings about iPad time. This stuff is just too new.

An earlier version of this piece ran in June 2017.

It's summer vacation season again and many families will be lucky enough to be heading off for at least a few days. At least half of parents say quality time together is the most important reason to take a family vacation, according to a national survey by the rental car company Alamo.

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Forty-five million Americans are burdened by student loans. A new quiz show lets a handful of them use what they learned in school to pay off their debt.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PAID OFF")

Huang Yimeng was disoriented when she learned that her U.S. visa was denied last November. It meant the recent University of Virginia graduate wouldn't be returning to the U.S. to continue her work at McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm.

She was in Shanghai when she got the news, having bought a return ticket and leaving most of her belongings in her apartment in the U.S.

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