There's little dispute among educators that kids are not reading as well as they should be, but there's endless debate over what to do about it. Now, a growing number of states are taking a hard-line approach through mandatory retentions — meaning third-graders who can't read at grade level will automatically get held back.
To those pushing the idea, it's equal doses of tough and love: You are not doing kids any favors, they say, by waiving them on to fourth grade if they aren't up to snuff on their reading.
Toola, the southern sea otter, with a surrogate pup.
Toola may not be a household name, but she made quite an impression on the staff of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she lived most of her adult life.
Just look at how Dr. Mike Murray, an aquarium veterinarian, described the sea otter:
"I will argue that there is no other single sea otter that had a greater impact upon the sea otter species, the sea otter programs worldwide, and upon the interface between the sea otters' scientific community and the public."
Gregg Williams, then the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, in August 2010.
Gregg Williams, who has spent time as an assistant or head coach at six NFL teams, is meeting with league investigators today to talk about what he's admitted was "a bounty pool of up to $50,000 over the last three seasons that rewarded players with thousand-dollar payoffs for knocking targeted opponents out of games while he was the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator," The Associated Press reports.
Both in their early 20s, First Aid Kit's Johanna and Klara Söderberg are already winning over listeners worldwide with their intricate, woodsy harmonizing. The Swedish duo's second album, The Lion's Roar, has already charted in Australia, Denmark, the U.K., Norway and Sweden.
Raw milk lovers trust the stuff that comes straight from the cow more than they trust the FDA.
You'd think that scary numbers from the big dogs in infectious disease would be enough to make raw milk drinkers reconsider that choice.
But don't count on it. Just 7 percent of raw milk consumers say they trust health officials' recommendations on what foods are safe to eat, according to a new study.
That means that 93 percent of those folks aren't convinced when health officials say that raw milk products can cause diseases like bovine tuberculosis, Q-fever, and brucellosis, as well as more common food-borne illnesses like Listeria and Salmonella.
Dierks Bentley has a nice, deep voice; an open, friendly demeanor; and a knack for working in a variety of country-music genres, from bluegrass to power ballads. For all that, it's always been difficult to pin down what Bentley aims to do. Although he's only in his 30s, Bentley sounds as though he's working through a bit of a midlife crisis on his new album Home. Take, for example, the single "Am I the Only One," a novelty tune about going out to party with a twist — not many of Bentley's pals want to join him, because they've settled into adulthood, and he hasn't.
Demonstrators in Alabama are protesting the state's voter ID and tough immigration laws. They're calling it the "second" Selma to Montgomery March, marking the 47th anniversary of the historic civil rights march. Host Michel Martin speaks with two people covering the march: Orlando Rosa of La Jefa Radio and Birmingham News reporter Charles Dean.
There has been a lot of talk about regulating abortion for women, but what if the tables were turned on men? That's what Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal was thinking when she proposed legislation regulating male vasectomies. But critics say she just wants to attract media attention. Host Michel Martin speaks with Representative Neal.
Routines are made up of a three-part "habit loop": a queue, a behavior and a reward. Understanding and interrupting that loop is key to breaking a habit, says journalist Charles Duhigg.
Credit Elizabeth Alter / Courtesy Random House
Charles Duhigg writes for the business section of The New York Times.
Think about something it took you a really long time to learn, like how to parallel park. At first, parallel parking was difficult and you had to devote a lot of mental energy to it. But after you grew comfortable with parallel parking, it became much easier — almost habitual, you could say.
With Iran and its nuclear program looming over the discussions, President Obama just said at the White House that "the United States will always have Israel's back." The president's comment came with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is at the White House for talks today, by his side.
For his part, Netanyahu told reporters that the U.S. and Israel stand together on policy toward Iran, The Associated Press reports.
The two leaders just held something of a photo op. Other reports on what they had to say:
A new study suggests ways newspapers can survive in the digital world. Here dead-tree versions of front pages from around the country announce the death of Osama bin Laden in front of the Newseum in Washington on May 2, 2011.
Newspapers are dying, right?
You probably think so because, for one thing, you're not reading this in a newspaper.
It'd be a reasonable thought. Newspaper readers gradually have been stopping their subscriptions for many years. And the Internet (NPR.org, too) has steadily stolen readers and advertising revenue for the past decade.
With lots of topics to choose from, including the economy, the 2012 presidential race, Syria, Iran's nuclear ambitions and his meetings today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there will be plenty to ask President Obama about Tuesday afternoon when he holds a just-announced news conference.
President Obama told AIPAC, the influential Israel lobbying group, Sunday that his policy on a potential Iranian nuclear weapon was one of prevention, not containment. And in a warning seemingly aimed at Israeli and U.S.
Renee Montagne speaks with Kim Banta, assistant superintendent of schools for Kenton County, Ky. The town of Piner, which is in Banta's school district, was one of the hardest hit by recent tornadoes: at least four people were killed. But many residents are trying to return to normal life Monday — and that includes going back to school.
For those who just felt the earth shake in Northern California, the U.S. Geological Survey says there was a 4.0 magnitude temblor in the "San Francisco bay area" at 5:33 a.m. local time (8:33 a.m. ET).
There's no word yet on whether there was much, if any, damage.
The USGS says the quake was centered about 1 mile from El Cerrito, Calif.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a rally in Moscow on Sunday. He won election to the post he previously held: president.
It's no surprise that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Sunday's election to return to the more powerful post he previously held — president. His victory was widely expected. Putin appears to have gotten about two-thirds of the votes.
Also not surprising: Sunday's results are being followed with reports today that, as The Associated Press says, "the opposition and independent observers insisted the vote had been marred by widespread violations."