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.
ELA Middle School Medium ELL
"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.
ELA Middle School Low
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.
ELA Middle School High
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 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 April 28, 2014
The level of college debt has risen in the last 20 years, where students now have to choose between overwhelming student loans or community colleges. Reform can start by fixing the financial aid system.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 7, 2016
In this conversation between a teacher and former student, the student, John, remembers how his teacher helped him through a difficult time. He remembers that his teacher, Mrs. Doyle, offered her support and let him know that she was there for him if he needed her. Decades later, John sent Mrs. Doyle a letter to express his gratitude. Listen to an honest and touching conversation between John and Mrs. Doyle, in which they express how they’ve impacted each other’s lives in positive ways.
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.