Current Event May 26, 2017
A fidget spinner has two or three paddle-shaped blades attached to a central core. Kids hold it by the core and flick the blades to make it spin. Fidget spinners are popular in elementary and middle schools. They can be an effective calming influence and can help some students concentrate. They can also become airborne and create distractions to others who are trying to focus. Teachers have to decide whether to allow or ban them in their classrooms. Listen and then debate: Should fidget spinners be allowed in classrooms?
Current Event May 25, 2017
Some high schools give special recognition to students who can speak and read in two languages. At graduation, these students receive a bi-literacy seal on their diplomas that recognizes not only test scores but also the value of learning two languages. This distinction shows appreciation for cultural perspectives and celebrates diversity, along with making these students ready to succeed in a global environment. Listen to learn more about this new movement to honor fluency in a second language.
Current Event April 27, 2017
Student reporters for a Kansas high school paper uncovered that their new principal put misleading credentials on her resume. As a result of this investigation, the principal has been forced to resign. Now, journalists around the country are praising these student reporters for their detailed and conscientious investigation. Listen to learn more about the controversy and the investigative work of these high school students.
Current Event March 31, 2017
Howard Zinn is best known for his book, “The People’s History of the United States” in which he reveals the United States’ long history of war, invasion, and human rights violations. A lawmaker in Arkansas has introduced a bill to ban the writings of historian Howard Zinn from schools in the state. Some people view Zinn’s work as an important insight into the negative aspects of U.S. history, while critics say that it is anti-American. Listen to hear more about Zinn’s perspective on United States history and an Arkansas educator’s views on the proposal to ban Zinn’s books from schools. Listen and then debate with your students: Should some books be banned?
Current Event February 28, 2017
ISIS has been pushed out of the eastern part of the Iraqi city, Mosul. Under ISIS control, children in Mosul were not able to go to school. Now, schools in Mosul are beginning to reopen. In the years that schools were closed, students fell behind in their education. But recently teachers have returned to work, although they haven’t been paid, and schools are still without heat or electric light. Listen to learn more about how the Education Ministry in Mosul is working to rebuild the city’s school system.
Current Event January 6, 2017
China is working to improve its public education by focusing on sparking curiosity and encouraging students to think independently. Traditionally, the focus was on gathering knowledge, passing tests and following orders. Now, students in some schools do their own research and discuss their ideas, which is helping to improve student achievement. In a country where Chinese authorities traditionally assign students’ college majors and jobs, these changes in the education model will help students think for themselves and also thrive in Chinese society.
Current Event October 14, 2016
Implicit racial bias has been discussed in recent police shootings, preschool suspensions, and in both the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Unconscious attitudes or stereotypes can lead us to draw conclusions about each other that are sometimes opposite of what we consciously think or believe. In this study on bias, over one hundred preschool teachers looked for disruptive behavior in some children more than in others. Listen to hear how race and empathy are involved in how children are viewed, and debate whether you think everyone has a bias.
Current Event September 20, 2016
Immigrants living in the United States have a lot to learn when they first arrive. Parents must learn how the school system works in the United States so that they can ensure their children are successful. There are often cultural differences as well as language barriers, which make it difficult to adapt. An organization in Rhode Island helps immigrant parents navigate the school system by providing classes that are translated into several languages. Listen to hear what kinds of challenges immigrant parents face.
Current Event September 1, 2016
Colleges and universities in the U.S. can consider a student’s race when they are deciding if they will admit that student or not. Selecting a racially balanced student body has been important to many colleges and now the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas at Austin is legal. The difficulty will be to consider race without discriminating against other students during the admissions process. Listen to hear more about the issue of promoting diversity in admissions policies of colleges and universities.
Current Event August 26, 2016
New research shows that black students in kindergarten through high school are almost four times as likely to be suspended from school than white students. Some people think that suspension should not be allowed in preschool at all. One reason given for the higher levels of discipline of black, male students is implicit bias. Specialists say that with more funding for public education, preschool teachers can receive better training, and more support to avoid resorting to suspension. Listen to the story to hear about one school that is making an effort to help disruptive students, rather than kick them out.
The United States declared war on Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But Afghanistan had already been a troubled and war torn country for many, many years. In 1996, the Taliban seized control of the country, imposing strict rule over all of its citizens. This story focuses on how the strict rules of society in Afghanistan continue to affect its people--especially children and girls. Listen to this interview with the author of “The Kids of Kabul” and learn more about the challenges faced by Afghan children and women, especially in the area of education.
Current Event May 25, 2016
The hit musical “Hamilton,” which tells the story of our nation’s first treasury secretary, has captured the attention of audiences around the country. Now, a Hamilton-based curriculum uses the play and its catchy music to teach history. Students have the opportunity to go to the musical, read related historical documents, and create their own projects inspired by the play. These activities help students empathize with important figures from our past and view history from diverse perspectives. Listen to hear more about how “Hamilton” is educating and inspiring students.
Current Event May 21, 2016
A former high school English teacher sits down with a former student. Like many students at his high school, he never graduated. Now, his teacher asks him why. They discuss how he could have better supported his students and what they needed. The student explains that despite his kind efforts, school was always difficult for him. Listen to their conversation to hear more about the challenges of both the teacher and student.
Current Event May 15, 2016
Yusor Abu Salha was killed in the tragic 2015 shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A year before, she had recorded an interview with her former third grade teacher and principal, Mussarut Jabeen. During their conversation, Yusor remembers Jabeen’s important lessons about how to treat others, while Jabeen remembers Yusor’s giving nature. Jabeen also knew the two other shooting victims, and remembers them fondly as well. Listen to the story to hear both Yusor and Jabeen reflect on the past.
Current Event May 14, 2016
In high school, it’s nice to know that someone is on your side. Reporter Guy Raz felt that way about his former high school guidance counselor. In this radio story, Guy sits down with his counselor Walter after twenty years, and thanks him for keeping his door open and always listening. From Walter, Guy learned important life lessons about power and respect that he still remembers today. Listen to hear this former guidance counselor and student reminisce about stories from high school.
Current Event May 11, 2016
President Obama's daughter, Malia, is taking a year off before starting college in the fall. Taking a break from academics the year after high school before starting college is commonly called a "gap year." Although it’s often an option for wealthy families, it’s starting to be a real option for more high school graduates. Colleges are looking for students who have more life experience and independence. Listen to hear more about the benefits of taking a gap year.
Current Event May 8, 2016
At some point in our lives, most of us have a tough teacher who pushes us hard to do our best. Reporter and All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish remembers her teacher of history and current events, was just that kind of teacher. Her strict teaching style clearly benefited Audie, who looks back fondly on all that she learned from her. Listen to this recent conversation between Audie and her former teacher, in which they reminisce together about their experiences as teacher and student.
Current Event May 5, 2016
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, listen to this story about Kobe Bryant’s high school English teacher. Throughout the years, Jeanne Mastriano had a profound influence on the basketball star; in fact, he has even called her his “muse.” Mrs. Mastriano talks about Kobe’s old study habits, his high school passions, and a recent poem he wrote about retiring from basketball. Listen to hear more about how this high school teacher has made a positive and lasting impact on Kobe and many other students.
In 2015, the United States resettled nearly 70,000 refugees as wars and political instability continue to drive people from their home countries. Resettlement isn’t easy for the person coming to a new country. One of those people, Barwaqo Mohamed was born and grew up in Somalia, but came to the U.S. as a political refugee in 2006. In this audio story, Barwaqo talks about her experience as an immigrant with a journalist who volunteered to tutor her in English for over four years. Barwaqo describes herself as a natural at learning languages and that helped her fit in. Listen to the interview to learn how that skill has served her since she came to the U.S.