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.
Current Event June 8, 2014
What role should religion have in public life and in government? These are the questions America’s founding fathers faced when drafting the constitution. And it’s a question that is still examined today. This First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion while preventing the establishment of religion. These competing ideas have created a constitutional conflict when individuals want to exercise their religion in places funded by the government, like public schools. Listen to learn how this line was tested when a 6-year-old student wanted his mother to read his favorite book, the Bible, to his class.
Current Event May 30, 2014
Olin College in Massachusetts has one of the largest student populations of female engineers, which is rare because so few women go into the sciences. There is a documented gender and confidence gap for female engineers, but students think it can be closed by reaching girls at an earlier age. Listen to this radio story to find out how schools are fixing this problem.
Current Event March 26, 2014
What does it take to be successful in school and life? Research shows that success is strongly correlated to something called “grit.” Grit combines determination, persistence and resilience. People with grit are able to push through difficulties, learn from mistakes, and pick themselves up and try again when they fail. Schools and teachers are trying to instill grit in their students, but is this possible? Listen to learn more from people who support and challenge this new direction in education.
Current Event February 20, 2014
A potentially landmark lawsuit goes to trial Monday in California. At issue: whether job protections for public school teachers undermine a student’s constitutional right to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit see it as a potential model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. Unions and state officials say the lawsuit demonizes teachers and has no merit.
Current Event November 26, 2013
From accents to slang to dialect, people who speak English do not always sound the same. The way people speak reflects a lot of different factors in their lives including region, race, class and education. Some slang is reflective of an era. The word “groovy” will forever be linked to hippies, while other pronunciations reflect a longer history of language, colonization and power. Listen to learn how the pronunciation of the word “ask” has changed over time, and how the black community uses code-switching to adapt to their surroundings.
Current Event November 21, 2013
Several non-profits are targeting families in Africa making less than $2 per day: they want to give those families' children a chance to gain a world class education with affordable tuition. However, stakeholders in Africa feel like chains of low-cost private schools are actually accomplishing the opposite and do not allow access to education for the poorest kids. Discuss with your students the importance of education and what kind of aid is actually helpful by listening to this story.