Category Archives: People

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes

Off the Books

What’s in a number?

To many, 81 percent is a success story. It’s the nation’s all-time-high rate for high school graduation in 2013, the most recent year of federal data.

But the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations around the country have been digging into that number and found it’s more complicated.

Not all the news here is good.

Click here to view the full article

This Summer, The Cafeteria Comes To The Kids

Kids this summer are eating up the "chow bus"

(LA Johnson/NPR)

“Chow bus! Chow bus! Chow bus!” chants Gunner Fischer, 3, as a custom-painted school bus rounds the corner and rumbles toward his apartment complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

About 21 million students nationwide eat free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, but getting those same kids fed during the summer is a challenge. Only a fraction of those make it to schools or community centers for summer meals.

So some school districts are getting creative in the way they’re using USDA funds: Murfreesboro City Schools is taking the cafeteria to the kids. The district calls it the Combating Hunger on Wheels Bus — or the CHOW bus.

Click here to view the full article

Insurer Uses Personal Data To Predict Who Will Get Sick

Carol and John Iovine say the health coach their insurer assigned John after he had a torrent of grave health problems in 2014 has helped them get the medical care he still needs. And it's helped keep him out of the hospital.

(Carol and John Iovine say the health coach their insurer assigned John after he had a torrent of grave health problems in 2014 has helped them get the medical care he still needs. And it’s helped keep him out of the hospital.
Todd Bookman/WHYY)

The first thing out of John Iovine’s mouth is an apology.

“You got to forgive me if I don’t remember too much,” he says. “I had a stroke.”

Signs of that stroke are everywhere — the bed in the dining room, a shower installed in the pantry. John is thin, and sits in blue pajama pants in the wheelchair he uses to get around.

He may, however, have overstated his memory problems.

Click here to view the full article

Test Preppers, Take Note: Free SAT Study Tools Could Signal Sea Change

The College Board has announced a partnership with Khan Academy to make prep materials for the SAT college-entrance exam available free online.

(The College Board has announced a partnership with Khan Academy to make prep materials for the SAT college-entrance exam available free online.)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The SAT is undergoing major changes for 2016.

And, as of today, students — for free — can tap into new online study prep tools fromKhan Academy, the online education nonprofit.

The partnership between Khan Academy and the College Board, which administers the SAT, could take a big bite out of the test prep-industrial complex; a multimillion dollar field that offers everything from $4,000 private tutoring courses to SAT prep shower curtains … for $28.99, plus shipping.

Click here to view the full article 

Why The President Wants To Give Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Toddlers

Nikki Jones' preschool class at Porter Early Childhood Development Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Why does public school start at age 5?

Neuroscientists say the most important brain development begins at birth. Friedrich Froebel, who coined the term “kindergarten” in Germany in the mid-19th century, was among the first education thinkers to intuit this fact about the brain. His “child-gardens” were mixed-age classrooms of children from 3 to 7 years old, who learned through play.

When reformers such as Boston’s Elizabeth Peabody brought kindergarten to the United States, they followed Froebel’s mixed-age model. But when kindergartens became incorporated into public school systems, beginning in the late 19th century, the age cutoff was generally set higher, at age 5.

Click here to view the full article

New law requires California schools to stock epinephrine injectors for allergic children

A photograph of Natalie Giorgi rests at the State Capitol in April as her mother Joanne Giorgi came to support increased access to epinephrine auto-injectors in schools.

Cathy Owens was a nurse at Murrieta Valley High School in 1997 when she encountered a student in the throes of a severe allergic reaction, unable to breathe and fading fast. Owens called for an ambulance, but the teen was deteriorating too quickly. She made a split-second decision to use another student’s prescription epinephrine injector.

Her action was a breach of federal law, but a necessary one under the circumstances, she said. “That’s not a choice anyone should have to make, but I had to make it,” Owens said. “We didn’t want a child to die.”

McKibbin wins San Juan Unified seat, joining incumbent Paulo in victory

Retired education administrator Michael McKibbin has won a seat on the San Juan Unified School District board, joining Trustee Greg Paulo as a victor in last week’s election, based on new Sacramento County returns.

Michael Miller, who flirted briefly with election victory in last week’s early vote count, conceded the race Wednesday for the second San Juan Unified spot on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Click here to view the full article 

Amid The Stereotypes, Some Facts About Millennials

Friends balance on pilings at the beach.

“Millennial” is the buzzword of the moment — with much of the national conversation focused on stereotypes and anecdotes. But are young adults today really all that different from those of previous generations?

A review of data shows that millennials do have characteristics that set them apart. Unlike their parents’ generation, millennials are ushering in an age when minorities will lead the U.S. population. Many of them aren’t too keen on marrying early. They are the most educated generation — but even so, a majority remains undereducated. And since they entered the workforce in the midst of a sluggish economy, many also remain underemployed.

Click here to view the full article

6 Pitfalls To Avoid When Picking Insurance On The Job

Man shopping with some very high-price options.

You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you’re not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.

Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefits packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cellphones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015.

Click here to view the full article

Common Core Reading: Difficult, Dahl, Repeat

Fifth-graders discuss the meanings of difficult words during a Common Core-inspired reading lesson.

All week we’ve been reporting on big changes in reading instruction brought on by the Common Core State Standards: a doubling-down on evidence-based reading, writing and speaking; increased use of nonfiction; and a big push to get kids reading more “complex texts.

Whatever you think of these shifts, they’re meaningless ideas without a classroom and kids to make sense of them. That’s today’s story, as we round out our series on reading in the Core era.

Click here to view the full article