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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.