Education

Ways to Connect

In Sarah Parrish's second-grade classroom, the colors are loud, but the kids are quiet.

It's Thursday morning. Her students sit at their desks, reading to themselves. Books about Ramona and Junie B. Jones. Mystery books, fantasy books ...

Marisa Sotelino has just finished Horse Diaries #3: Koda. She grins when asked about it, showing a mouthful of light green braces.

"It's interesting to see other people, or animals' point of view," she explains, "because, well, you can't be a different person."

The federal government is getting into hip-hop — well, sort of.

A case over school finance in New York has been dragging on now for more than 20 years.

Seven-year-old Anaya Ellick, who was born with no hands and does not use prostheses, recently won a national penmanship contest.

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In the early 1990s, voters in Oregon were feeling some tax anxiety.

Property values were rising, and many worried that also meant a rise in property taxes. And so, with something called Measure 5, they capped them.

Since schools depend heavily on property taxes, Oregon did something unique. The state decided to use income tax revenue to help offset the effect of this new property-tax cap.

There's just one problem: In tough economic times, income is more volatile than property values. And so began a roller coaster for Oregon's schools.

New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport is among the busiest in the country: More than 1,000 flights touch down and take off each day. More than 50 million passengers hurry through its gates each year.

But something else is happening, too.

Not far from the waxed floors of the terminals and the automated voice proclaiming the end of the moving walkway, there's a school. And a classroom that has six wheels, two wings and a tail. It is a Boeing 727, parked on the tarmac near the hangars and warehouses.

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Given thousands of related job openings but only hundreds of computer science college graduates, Alabama is trying to ramp up its computer science education. That includes a new policy allowing those classes to count toward core math graduation requirements. WBHM’s Dan Carsen concludes the Southern Education Desk series “Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South” with a visit to a Birmingham-area class that’s leading the way.

Hoover High School junior Griffin Davis is all about his computer science class.

There's no magical spending threshold for student success. Solutions are also complicated by the fact that children with different needs require different levels of support.

To better understand those needs — and what it will cost to meet them — a state can commission what's called an "adequacy study."

Most states have already done at least one.

Michigan is a late-comer. Its first adequacy study is due out this month.

Saying "colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed," Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have allowed licensed owners to carry guns on campus in all but a few buildings.

The "campus carry" legislation, HB 859, would have allowed guns on campuses and in buildings owned by any public college, technical school or other institution, providing exceptions only for areas used for athletic events, dormitories, and fraternity and sorority houses.

When you enter Marissa McGee's classroom, the first thing you notice is her connection with her students. They're delighted by her enthusiasm, they pick up on her sarcasm, and they often double over with giggles when she makes a joke.

And this is kindergarten. So McGee's students — her audience — are 5-year-olds.

"They're easy to please," she says, laughing. "I'm not that funny. I wouldn't even consider myself funny at all."

This rapport is how Marissa McGee works to shape these kindergartners into thoughtful, educated adults.

Lynn Hatter / WFSU

Florida students don’t have to take a foreign language to graduate from a public high school, but the state’s public university system does require at least two years of study in another language. Computer Coders have found a champion in Florida Senator Jeremy Ring. Ring, a former Yahoo! executive, believes coding and technology is an art, rather than a science. The Margate Democrat says why not broaden the language offerings? Instead of the usual suspects, like French or Spanish, and for those who are true romantics—Latin… why not something like Python? Or C++?

In Colorado the economy is booming. The unemployment rate is 3 percent. And shiny new skyscrapers are rising all over Denver as revelers pour fistfuls of cash into downtown bars and restaurants.

But no one invited Colorado's public schools to the party.

In 1992, voters in the state amended the constitution with something called the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

Thousands of children in Flint, Mich., have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, creating problems that could last a lifetime.

A new effort is trying to help those most at risk.

For weeks, teachers and other volunteers from the Genesee Intermediate School District have been knocking on doors in Flint, trying to recruit kids for early childhood education programs that are critical for the youngest victims of Flint's lead-tainted tap water.

A group of high school girls are chanting. You could call it a cheer. But it's definitely not your typical high school cheer:

"I need my freedom, I want my rights, the right to education, the right to choose and the right to grow into the woman I want to be."

Welcome to the Sekenani Girls Secondary School, located in Kenya's Maasai Mara, a world famous game reserve known for its rolling grasslands, giraffes and safari jeeps. But not for schools.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

First-graders at The Lovett School in Atlanta are learning geometry a bit differently than usual. They’re building three-dimensional cubes, using any materials they choose.

This approach follows a method The Lovett School calls “exploration based” learning. That is exactly the kind of method that State Superintendent Richard Woods looks for in educational programs.

Imagine your bright young son or daughter comes to you, high school mortarboard in hand, and says, "Mom, Dad, I'm not going to college next year." What's your reaction?

If you're the commander in chief or first lady, the answer is, reportedly, supportive. Their older daughter, Malia Obama, made headlines this week by announcing that she would put off matriculating at Harvard University until 2017.

It turns out that this decision is becoming more popular at Harvard and around the country.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

It looks like the Georgia Milestones test might not be tied to grade promotion this year after all.

So far, students in third, fifth and eighth grades had to perform up to grade level in core areas of study to pass onto the next grade.

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More than 90 Detroit public schools were closed Monday because of a teacher "sickout" over pay.

The public schools will run out of money after June "unless Michigan lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term aid," Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek tells our Newscast unit.

Without that longer-term funding, teachers who spread their paychecks throughout the year would not get paid for work they had already done.

Cwiek reports:

Sleep has a big impact on learning. And not just when you do it in class. Sleep deprivation affects memory, cognition and motivation, and the effects are compounded when it's long-term.

In 13 states, parents and school districts are suing, saying schools aren't getting enough money to serve the needs of students.

In no other state are the courts more baked in to school funding than in Kansas, though.

There, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the latest funding case within the next week. If justices don't approve of the legislators' fix to the system, the court could shut down public schools on June 30.

Ending months of speculation, the White House has announced that Malia Obama will attend Harvard starting in Fall 2017.

A statement from the office of the first lady reads: "The President and Mrs. Obama announced today that their daughter Malia will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021."

The Kansas Supreme Court gave state lawmakers an ultimatum:

Make school funding more equitable by June 30, or it will consider shutting down the state's public schools.

Since then, things have gotten ugly.

Lawmakers followed up with a plan — to make it easier to impeach Supreme Court judges who attempt to "usurp the power" of the Legislature or governor.

There's a long-held debate in education. " 'Do you fix education to cure poverty or do you cure poverty to cure education?' And I think that's a false dichotomy," says the superintendent of Camden schools in New Jersey, Paymon Rouhanifard. "You have to address both."

That can be expensive.

In 1997, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state's school funding formula was leaving behind poor students. It ordered millions of dollars in additional funding to 31 of the then-poorest districts.

It's a well-worn (if not-entirely-agreed-upon) idea that college makes people more liberal. But a new report adds a twist to this: the most educated Americans have grown increasingly liberal over the last couple of decades.

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Waitlisted or not, many students will not get into the schools of their choice. And many, of course, will see that as a failure.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOSER LIKE ME")

LEA MICHELE: (Singing) Yeah, you may think that I'm a zero.

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