Current Event November 14, 2014
Every day across the country, school cafeterias try to balance serving food that students want to eat and food that is healthy for students to eat. When federal nutrition standards increased the amount of fruits and vegetables students must have on their plate each day, schools and school districts adopted creative approaches to make sure that these fruits and vegetables didn’t go directly in the trash. This public radio story takes us to one of these innovative lunch rooms in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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 August 29, 2014
Schools haven’t changed much in the last hundred years but as more schools embrace digital tools in the classroom, the traditional school building is likely to change. Today’s public radio story examines what the school of the future might look like. And designers are predicting that more flexible school spaces will cost less money to build.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 May 19, 2016
Teenagers from low-income, immigrant families must overcome challenges in order to graduate from high school. For many new immigrants, work and family can become difficult to balance. These students often work to help support their families, which can take priority over schoolwork. One high school senior has been able to find success despite some difficult circumstances. She helps her family earn money, plays the viola, and is on track to graduate high school. Listen to her story about defying the odds.
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 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.
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.