Current Event March 11, 2016
There are at least 600 schools across the country that have handed iPads to every student. At Burlington High School in Massachusetts, the students are using iPads and not textbooks. The principal states that everything students need for learning can be found on their web-enabled devices. Textbooks are static and publisher-driven, whereas in this school they focus on personalized learning where students frame the coursework. Some say technology should be limited in order to engage students in real world experiences, and that textbooks are an important part of how students learn. Listen to the story of this High School and debate with your students: Are textbooks or tablets better for student learning?
Current Event March 8, 2016
Some people have trouble staying focused. Many of those people have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. A team at Yale University was able to identify children and adolescents with ADHD by studying certain connections in their brains. This finding adds to the evidence that ADHD is not just a behavioral problem. Listen to hear more about this new research.
Current Event December 17, 2015
At a high school in Tennessee, a teacher asked his students to go without their phones for 24 hours. He says cell phones are an addiction where there is always something for students to see and something for students to do. He wanted them to see what happened when they lived a day without them. Listen to this story to hear the reaction of the students and how they filled their time without their phones.
Current Event December 16, 2015
In San Quentin prison, inmates can learn about money management and investing while behind bars. The teacher of the class is serving a life sentence and has earned the nickname, “Wall Street.” He learned to read as well as to trade stocks while he was in prison. There are several business school and financial experts that volunteer with the class. Many of the inmates will need financial management skills as they re-enter the outside world. Listen to hear about this program that helps inmates be more successful when they are released.
Current Event November 27, 2015
The biggest test in the life of a South Korean teenager is the college entrance exam. All high school seniors take it on the same day each year, and there are many preparations to make sure students can fully concentrate on the exam. In South Korea, there is a belief that you will fail at everything unless you do well on this exam. However, if you do well, you go to a good school and get a good job. That’s a lot of pressure for students. This exam is much like the SAT or ACT in the United States. Listen to hear about high stakes testing in Korea and then debate: Should one test determine students' academic futures?
Current Event November 4, 2015
In northern India, arranged marriages are normal. Some girls are married very young, as young as 10 years old. But they aren’t sent to live with their husbands until they turn 15. One charity started a school for child brides. They offer a deal to rural families: delay married life and get a free education. At the school, girls stay in dorms and attend many classes throughout the day. If they don’t pass a tough test at the end of their schooling, they are sent home to their husbands to be housewives. Listen to this story to hear more about the lives of these young girls in India and how different their lives are from young girls in the United States.
Current Event September 18, 2015
Colleges compete to enroll the best students. Traditional admission methods look at SAT and ACT test scores, GPAs and extracurricular activities. Now there is an increasingly popular trend: colleges that tell students the SAT and ACT are optional. They are choosing not to emphasize standardized test scores in their admissions decisions. The hope is that this will diversify enrollment and open doors for underrepresented populations. But there is some evidence that it does not achieve those goals. For example, test-optional colleges may increase their applicant pool but not their enrollment numbers. Listen to hear both sides of this debate.
Current Event August 25, 2015
Sleep is important for everyone’s health, but it’s particularly important for children and teenagers, whose brains are still growing. Teenagers are biologically inclined to stay up later, resulting in two-thirds of young people being seriously sleep deprived. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, smoking, drinking, lower grades, and can contribute to car crashes. To prevent these things, health experts recommend that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. School districts are not following this recommendation, however, as five out of six schools start before then. Listen to more about this ongoing public health issue.
Current Event May 28, 2015
Suicide on college campuses has been a persistent problem over the last decade. MIT, an elite university in Boston, Massachusetts, recently had a cluster of student suicides on their campus. In response to the tragedies, the MIT community reached out and promoted a conversation among the student body. One student took it upon herself to do more and encourage more student interactions all year round with wristbands that say TMAYD, which stands for Tell Me About Your Day. Listen to learn more about this effort and how it is changing the MIT community.
Current Event April 23, 2015
Educators in Atlanta, Georgia have been convicted and in some cases sent to jail for orchestrating cheating on high-stakes tests in their school districts. An investigation found widespread evidence that educators were pressured to erase wrong answers on student tests and fill in the correct bubble. This is not the only example of cheating in school systems, but it is the largest. Listen to learn more how the federal No Child Left Behind law put so much pressure on school administrators that it led to the cheating scandal.
Update: One month after issuing the sentence, the judge in the Atlanta cheating case had a change of heart and reduced the sentences of three former educators from seven years in prison to three.
Current Event March 18, 2015
Animal dissection has been used for centuries as a tool to better understand the human body. Technology has made virtual dissections possible - allowing young people to see the inner workings of frogs through a computer program or app. This technology cannot give students the real life, visceral experience of cutting through skin or experiencing the way organs fit together, leading many educators to continue to champion real dissection. Listen to learn how frog dissections can impact students and teachers.
Current Event March 15, 2015
The rights of women around the world vary widely. Women in Saudi Arabia have fought for their right to drive, be part of government, compete in the Olympics and, most recently, attend gym class. The school system in Saudi Arabia is divided by gender. Boys schools have long had gym class; a new policy would allow girls schools the same. The reaction within the country has been mixed. Some argue it breaks religious law, others say it is a natural and healthy way for young girls to grow. Listen to hear from women in Saudi Arabia.
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," tells the story of Arnold Spirit, a young Native American who leaves the reservation to get a better education. In this semi-autobiographical book, author Sherman Alexie discusses big issues including choosing your identity, figuring out where you belong and the hardships American Indians face living on reservations.
Current Event December 26, 2014
Michael’s mother died when he was in the eighth grade. For years, he avoided his Catholic school’s Mother/Son mass, acutely feeling the loss of his mother. But then Michael’s friend’s mom stepped in and invited him to come with her and her son. Listen to learn how this event changed their relationship, giving Michael a second mother.
Current Event November 5, 2014
Being the top student in your high school class is difficult under the best of circumstances. This audio tells the story of a remarkable young woman, Rashema Melson, who graduated as valedictorian of her high school, despite six years of homelessness. Listen to learn more directly from Rashema herself.
Current Event October 1, 2014
The line between appropriate discipline and child abuse has been debated in the news lately in response to the child abuse allegations against Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson. In this public radio story we hear about the history of corporal punishment in the United States, the frequency of punishment in the home and in school, as well as how different parts of the country punish children differently.
Current Event September 19, 2014
Twenty years after Brown vs. The Board of Education ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional, Boston began to desegregate its school system through busing. The city’s plan to bus 18,000 students to schools outside of their neighborhoods met intense and violent resistance from the first day. The hostility and hatred radiated through Boston for months. Today’s public radio story features audio from that tumultuous period and testimonials from Boston residents who lived through the turbulent efforts to integrate public schools. NOTE: Story includes strong language from the protests.
Current Event September 17, 2014
Today is Constitution Day. Help your students learn good citizenship with this story about an 11-year-old boy who loves politics. While reporting on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri a reporter met Marquis Govan. This public radio story takes us to Marquis’ home and school in Missouri and tells the story of how he got involved in politics, how he stays engaged and what he hopes for in the future. Sharpen your listening skills and learn ways that young people can be engaged in politics well before they are old enough to vote.
Current Event September 3, 2014
This back-to-school season parents and economists alike are shocked by the costs associated with preparing students for school. Schools are increasingly asking families to buy supplies for the classroom and school, as well as personalized technology. The additional costs have some questioning whether it is reasonable. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about how families and schools are adjusting to increased technological costs.
Current Event June 15, 2014
School sponsored prayer was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. The case that led to this decision began in November 1956 when a 16-year-old schoolboy protested his public school’s mandatory prayer and Bible reading period by reading silently from the Koran and refusing to stand for the Lord’s Prayer. This simple act of resistance led to a huge change in the way public schools interact with religion. In the early 1960s, 40% of school districts in the U.S. had mandatory Bible reading and prayer; it is now unconstitutional for any public school to sponsor prayer. However, there continue to be challenges regarding prayer and religion in public schools. In 2012, a Rhode Island teen complained about a prayer banner at her high school. Listen to learn how the community and courts responded to her challenge.