Education

Education
4:27 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot'

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 8:02 am

Deborah Oster Pannell's husband died when her son, Josiah, was 6 years old. That week, Pannell visited Josiah's school and, with his teacher and guidance counselor, explained to his first-grade class what had happened.

"I'll never forget the three of us sitting up there — and all these little shining faces looking up at us — talking about how Josiah lost his dad and he might be sad for a while," Pannell says.

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Education
7:28 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Meet The Classroom Of The Future

A blended learning classroom at David Boody Jr. High School in New York City.
Courtesy of New Classrooms

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:17 pm

The classroom of the future probably won't be led by a robot with arms and legs, but it may be guided by a digital brain.

It may look like this: one room, about the size of a basketball court; more than 100 students, all plugged into a laptop; and 15 teachers and teaching assistants.

This isn't just the future, it's the sixth grade math class at David Boody Jr. High School in Brooklyn, near Coney Island. Beneath all the human buzz, something other than humans is running the show: algorithms.

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Education
3:26 am
Fri January 9, 2015

A 'Sizable Decrease' In Those Passing The GED

Kaylin Wainwright (center) works with student Natnael Gebremariam (left) during a GED preparation class in Washington, D.C. Seated at right is student Sibusiso Kunene.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 6:54 pm

One year after the launch of a major overhaul of the GED exam — the first since 2002 — the high school equivalency program has seen a sharp drop in the number of people who took and passed the test, according to local and state educators and the organization that runs it. In addition, at least 16 states have begun offering or plan to offer new, alternative tests.

Combined, these changes represent a dramatic shift in the equivalency landscape dominated by the GED since its inception during World War II.

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Education
3:25 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Obama In Tennessee To Promote Free Community College

President Obama speaks at a Ford assembly plant on Wednesday in Wayne, Mich., about the resurgent automotive and manufacturing sector.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 7:15 pm

President Obama is in Tennessee previewing some of the big issues he'll talk about in his State of the Union address later this month. Friday, he'll speak in Knoxville, focusing on education and an idea that is gathering steam in some states: making community college tuition-free.

In the emerging debate over this idea, there are skeptics and there are true believers.

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Education
7:03 am
Tue January 6, 2015

What Schools Could Use Instead Of Standardized Tests

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:26 pm

Close your eyes for a minute and daydream about a world without bubble tests.

Education Week recently reported that some Republican Senate aides are doing more than dreaming — they're drafting a bill that would eliminate the federal mandate on standardized testing.

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Education
5:19 am
Sat January 3, 2015

Kindergarten Entry Tests And More Education Predictions for 2015

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 2:40 pm

In 2014 we've covered education as the world-changing story it is and you've been along for the ride. And so at year's end, NPR Ed reached far and wide to bring you a set of provocative predictions for the education world in 2015:

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Education
9:56 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play: How Libraries Reach Kids Before They Can Read

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:17 pm

Literacy begins at home — there are a number of simple things parents can do with their young children to help them get ready to read. But parents can't do it all alone, and that's where community services, especially libraries, come in.

On a recent morning, parents and children gathered in the "Play and Learn" center in the Mount Airy Library in Carroll County, Md. Jenny Busbey and her daughter Layla were using the puppet theater to go on an imaginary adventure. There are play-and-learn centers in all of the Carroll County libraries.

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Education
5:06 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Nonprofit Fights Illiteracy By Getting Books To Kids Who Need Them

First Book President and CEO Kyle Zimmer reads to children during a book distribution event.
Courtesy of First Book

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 3:09 pm

When it comes to learning to read, educators agree: the younger, the better. Children can be exposed to books even before they can talk, but for that a family has to have books, which isn't always the case.

There are neighborhoods in this country with plenty of books; and then there are neighborhoods where books are harder to find. Almost 15 years ago, Susan Neuman, now a professor at New York University, focused on that discrepancy, in a study that looked at just how many books were available in Philadelphia's low-income neighborhoods. The results were startling.

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Education
5:25 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Remembering The Pioneering Audiologist Who Tested Hearing At Birth

For more than 30 years, Marion Downs pushed for newborns to be screened for hearing loss soon after birth.
Marion Downs Center

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 4:03 pm

Before turning the page on 2014, All Things Considered is paying tribute to some of the people who died this year whose stories you may not have heard — including Marion Downs.

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Education
7:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

'Military Children': Their Struggles, Sacrifices And Strengths

Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers.
Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 9:31 am

We've all seen the photo: A soldier in fatigues stoops down to hug his child one last time before heading off to a war zone.

We may have an idea of what comes next for the soldier, but rarely do we discuss what's next for the child.

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Education
9:26 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Even More Secret Lives Of Teachers

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:21 am


Tell us about the Secret Lives of Teachers — maybe your own or a teacher you know. Or post your own Secret Life on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at #secretteachers. We're on Twitter at @npr_ed. Our Facebook page is here or you can drop us an email at NPREd@npr.org.

Education
3:59 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The Administration's College Rating System: How It Looks On Campus

Tuition, room and board at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va., costs $45,000 a year.
Parker Michels-Boyce Randolph College

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 1:23 pm

It's late afternoon. Most classes at Randolph College are done for the day but students have begun gathering in the lobby of the elegant, century-old main hall.

A student taps on a piano while he and four classmates wait for their philosophy professor. After-hours sessions like these are a key feature of this small, private liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Va.

It markets itself nationally as a "unique, nurturing community of learners," well worth the $45,000 a year in tuition, room and board.

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Education
3:42 am
Wed December 17, 2014

An Alternative To Suspension And Expulsion: 'Circle Up!'

A restorative justice circle at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif.
Sam Pasarow/Edna Brewer Middle School

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:27 am

One by one, in a room just off the gym floor at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif., seventh-graders go on the interview hot seat.

Some 80 students have applied to be "peer leaders" in the school's new, alternative discipline program called "restorative justice."

Kyle McClerkins, the program's director, grills them on aspects of adolescent life: "What is the biggest challenge for middle school girls? What has changed about you from sixth grade to now?"

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Education
4:48 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Teach For America At 25: With Maturity, New Pressure To Change

TFA at 25 years (from left): Matt Kramer, current co-CEO; Wendy Kopp, founder; Elisa Villanueva Beard, current co-CEO.
Courtesy of TFA

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 8:52 pm

This story was reported for the radio by Eric Westervelt and for online by Anya Kamenetz.

"We, the Committee of Public Safety, find Jean Valjean guilty. The sentence is death by guillotine!"

Molly McPherson, a redhead with glasses, is dressed in a blue bathrobe — in costume as Robespierre. Her seventh-graders are re-enacting the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, with a little assist from Les Miserables.

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Education
10:37 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Secret Lives Of Teachers: 'Bored Of Education'

"Bored of Education" music video

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 11:09 am

You're a sixth-grader in New York City. Your principal gives you a choice: Get free tickets to a Columbia University football game, or participate in a music video in which your assistant principal is the lead singer.

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Education
4:13 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 8:16 pm

The third in our four-part series on reading in the Common Core era.

Every set of academic standards has a soul.

Yes, a soul. It's made of varied stuff: part research, part practice, part conviction of its authors.

To find the soul, follow the words that turn up again and again in the winding backwaters and byways of the standards themselves.

A search of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards turns up one remarkable word 105 times. It is "complex" (or "complexity").

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Education
3:46 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Common Core Reading: The High Achievers

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:29 pm

Part 2 in a four-part series on reading in the Common Core era.

Linnea Wolters was prepared to hate the Common Core State Standards.

She taught fifth grade at a low-income school in Reno, Nev., where, she says, there was always some new plan to improve things. And none of it added up to good education. But, after leading her class through a Core-aligned lesson — a close reading of Emma Lazarus' sonnet "The New Colossus" — she was intrigued, especially by the way different students reacted to the process.

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Education
8:40 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Tools Of The Trade: The Abacus

"A" is for Abacus
LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:30 pm

For this series, we've been thinking a lot about some of the iconic objects that some of us remember using — if only for a short period of time — in our early schooling. Slide rules, the recorder, protractors and Bunsen burners.

But when the abacus came up, we were a bit stumped.

"Does anyone still use this thing?" we wondered. "And how the heck does it work?"

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Education
3:09 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

From Blue Bleach To Hazmat Hacks, Students Take On Ebola Challenges

Students taking part in Columbia University's Ebola design challenge demonstrated for judges how to use a special chamber for decontaminating small items.
Courtesy of Columbia Engineering

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 12:24 pm

If there's one thing college kids do best, it's thinking creatively. Often operating with limited resources and tight deadlines, they're used to coming up with ingenious solutions to life's everyday problems (usually on little sleep). So it's no surprise that experts are turning to students for help in battling one of this year's most pressing global health issues: the Ebola outbreak.

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Education
3:23 am
Mon October 13, 2014

A New Orleans Charter School Marches To Its Own Tune

Art projects like these anatomy murals are woven into the curriculum at the Homer Plessy Community Charter school in New Orleans.
Eric Westervelt/NPR

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am

This year, NPR Ed is reporting on the dramatic changes in the New Orleans school system.

All startups face big hurdles. But when you're a startup school in one of America's poorest cities, without deep-pocket backers, the challenges are daunting.

Oscar Brown is a New Orleans native. He grew up in the Desire housing project, a little over a mile west of his current home in a neighborhood ravaged by the storm that struck nearly a decade ago.

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