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

New guidelines for campus sexual assault enforcement are open for public comment

Every time Bill Zima, superintendent of schools in Hallowell, Maine, sends an email, it has this sentence under his signature: "Cultivating Hope In All Learners."

This is his school district's philosophy. It means something very specific. Zima got it from a YouTube video.

"A colleague sent it to me. It was a guy in a three-piece suit standing in front of a podium that said Business Summit To Drive Education Reform. I thought, ugh, this is going to be a bashing of public education."

Every year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation hosts a weekend to celebrate the scholarship students they fund. For the four years that Harold Levy led the foundation, you'd often find him at that event, sitting on the floor, deep in conversation with students.

A San Diego businessman wanted to do something to help young people affected by the Camp Fire, which decimated the city of Paradise, Calif., earlier this month.

So Bob Wilson came with two suitcases full of $1,000 checks – enough for each of Paradise High School's 980 students and 105 staff members, including teachers, janitors and bus drivers.

On a rainy Tuesday night, the students and staff from a town now dispersed showed up at nearby Chico High School, where Wilson handed out the checks — $1.1 million in all, according to The Associated Press.

Talking about race is hard. It often involves hurt feelings and misunderstandings. And the words and phrases we use can either push those conversations forward or bring them to a standstill. One such term: white tears.

The former president of Michigan State University was arraigned Monday on felony and misdemeanor charges surrounding her involvement with the school's handling of serial sexual predator, Larry Nassar. Attorneys for Lou Anna K. Simon say she pleaded not guilty, and plans to fight the charges. Officials say Simon lied to or mislead law enforcement officers about her knowledge of details about a Title IX investigation by the school into Nassar.

As the nation's eyes were on Broward County, Florida, for a flawed, week long election recount, a state commission a few miles away was investigating the county government's role in the Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland high school. It found that failed leadership, inconsistent or unenforced policies, and misinformation contributed to the 17 deaths.

Large community potlucks and school plays where students dress up as Pilgrims and Indians help students learn the familiar story of the very first Thanksgiving. The holiday gives schools an opportunity to bring history to life for their young students. Although it wasn't called Thanksgiving in 1620, the story celebrates Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to celebrate a successful harvest.

Here's What College Freshmen Are Reading

Nov 22, 2018

The college common reading program is usually a freshman's first, unofficial assignment. The program is a way schools try to stimulate discussion.

Not every school participates in these programs, but the ones that do pick books – both fiction and nonfiction – ranging in topics from race and politics to climate change.

One of the companies that handles federal student loans has been steering some borrowers toward repayment plans that cost them more money over time.

That's the finding of a report that the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid did on Navient, one of its loan servicers. But while FSA offered suggestions for improving some of Navient's practices, it says the company didn't necessarily do anything wrong.

The sudden outbreak of chickenpox at a North Carolina private school isn't exactly surprising.

At least 36 students have become infected with the disease at Asheville Waldorf School in the city of Asheville — a school that has among the highest rates of parents who received an exemption from the state's vaccination requirements.

NPR Ed wants to know about the student gifts that still stand out among the cookies and cards of past holiday seasons.

Teachers, tell us: What's the most memorable gift you've received from a student? What made it great? Did it make you laugh or cry? Why have you held on to it?

Submit your story here, along with a photo. (You can also fill the form out here.) We may contact you for more information and feature your story on NPR.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In what is the largest individual donation ever made to a single university, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday that he is donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University to assist students with financial aid.

School shootings have taken a terrible human toll. They have also been a boon to the business of security technology.

Over the summer, Washington Post reporter John Woodrow Cox saw an array of items on display at an expo in Orlando, Fla. He and fellow reporter Steven Rich went on to investigate whether any of the technology being promoted and sold really helps save lives.

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

New rules on college campus sexual assault and harassment

Texas' Board of Education voted Friday to change the way its students learn about the Civil War. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students will be taught that slavery played a "central role" in the war.

The state's previous social studies standards listed three causes for the Civil War: sectionalism, states' rights and slavery, in that order. In September, the board's Democrats proposed listing slavery as the only cause.

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Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

If you do a Google image search for "classroom," you'll mostly see one familiar scene: rows or groups of desks, with a spot at the front of the room for the teacher.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced sweeping rules on how colleges handle cases of sexual assault and harassment that she says will fix a "failed" and "shameful" system that has been unfair to accused students.

We don't expect you to be experts. In fact, we expect that most of you are putting a podcast together for the first time.

And even though this is a contest, it's also about learning new skills in a fun way. We want to make that learning easier — so we've put together a guide to help you along the way.

Getting Started

Whether you're leading your class or advising an extracurricular group, we hope this guide will make the podcasting process easier.

Below, you'll find a breakdown of the process and a series of sample lesson plans to ensure that students have the skills and background knowledge to start making a podcast.

For our contest, teachers must submit entries to NPR, but we expect that students themselves are the ones creating them.

OK, class, listen up!

Here's your assignment for next semester: Take a topic, a lesson or a unit you're learning about, and turn it into a podcast.

Yup, we're launching the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. It's a chance for teachers and students in grades five through 12 across the country to turn your classrooms into production studios, your assignments into scripts and your ideas into sound.

Have something to say? Now is your chance.

A ruling by a federal judge last month seemed like it would end a long legal battle between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and tens of thousands of student loan borrowers waiting to have their debts canceled. But as of Tuesday, there is a new round of litigation.

Student debt in the U.S. now stands at about $1.5 trillion. It's a number we often call a crisis, advising students to avoid borrowing if they possibly can.

It's a rainy fall Saturday and a 17-year-old named Jerry is spending yet another morning at the GPS Academy, an education enrichment center in New York City.

"I mean, I've been pretty stressed," he says. He applied for early decision to the University of Pennsylvania, where he wants to study business.

No one ever shows up at brunch and says, "Oh my gosh, I was so sober last night!"

Risky behavior draws attention. As a result, people tend to assume that everyone else is doing it more than they really are.

But, over the last two decades, research on college campuses has shown that giving students the real facts about their peers reduces unsafe drinking. This approach is called positive social norms. It works because of a basic truth of human nature: People want to do what others are doing.

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