WBEZ | college http://www.wbez.org/tags/college Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Wheaton College Moves to Fire Professor http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/wheaton-college-moves-fire-professor-114397 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img about="" alt="" ap="" clarifying="" class="image-original_image" issues.="" m.="" photo="" spencer="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_201601061939520000.jpg" style="height: 424px; width: 620px;" theological="" title="Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Chicago. Hawkins, who's Christian, posted her views on Facebook and wore a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims is disputing the university's account of interactions with administrators who've initiated steps to fire her. Suburban Chicago's Wheaton College initiated the termination-for-cause proceeding against Hawkins on Tuesday, saying she refused to participate in &quot;clarifying conversations&quot; about theological issues. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)" /></div><p>In the wake of the San Bernadino shootings, Prof. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College attempted to show solidarity with American Muslim communities by donning a hijab and citing&nbsp;Pope Francis in a Facebook post, saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-17/wheaton-professor-suspended-over-stance-islam-114200" target="_blank">The college suspended Hawkins</a>, and now they&#39;re moving to fire her.</p><p>Hawkins says her bid to remain employed at the school has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-23/wheaton-professor-talk-next-steps-wbez-114270" target="_blank">become the fight of her life.</a>&nbsp;Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Hawkins said the controversy is now about much more than her.</p><h3><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 32px; line-height: 24px; text-align: center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">▼</span><strong><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Listen</span>: WBEZ&#39;s Odette Yousef reports.</strong></h3><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/240743280&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 14:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-06/wheaton-college-moves-fire-professor-114397 Local Free Community College Plans May Be Template for U.S. http://www.wbez.org/news/local-free-community-college-plans-may-be-template-us-113970 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/7658219802_47c3c12d9d_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; An economic engine. A jumpstart for lower-income students. A partnership with businesses to groom a workforce. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-proposes-publicly-funded-community-college-all-111368" target="_blank">The idea of free community college has been touted as all these, by President Barack Obama</a>, Democratic presidential candidates, and some Republicans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The idea is to curb student debt and boost employment by removing cost barriers. Educators are split on its merits, with some worrying the push could divert students away from four-year schools. And some proposals could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, and may still leave students with debt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But thousands of high school graduates have just started community college for free, with the first batch enrolled in independent first-year programs in Tennessee, Chicago and soon Oregon doing so under different price tags and philosophies &mdash; offering templates of how a federal program might look and potential glitches.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;My family wasn&#39;t going to be able to support me financially,&quot; said 19-year-old aspiring doctor Michelle Rodriguez, who&#39;s taking classes for free in Chicago after concluding that even with in-state tuition and a scholarship a state university would be tough. &quot;I&#39;m the oldest. I&#39;m the first generation to go to college.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee is at the forefront, with over 15,000 students enrolled in what&#39;s characterized as a jobs program. Chicago has just under 1,000 recent graduates in its City Colleges plan, with a push toward getting students into four-year schools at a discount. Oregon is accepting applications for next fall, with as many as 10,000 applicants expected. Other states are watching and considering their own programs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Cost is bound to be a contentious issue, especially with strapped state and municipal budgets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Chicago&#39;s Star Scholarship &mdash; a signature Mayor Rahm Emanuel initiative &mdash; is the most generous. Beyond tuition, it picks up books and transportation. &quot;All I have to worry about is ordering my books on time, getting my homework on time and studying,&quot; Rodriguez said. The price tops $3 million for the inaugural class.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee, which this year relies on roughly $12 million from lottery funds, is a &quot;last dollar program&quot; &mdash; paying what federal aid doesn&#39;t cover, with an average of $1,165 a person. Related costs are up to students. For now, Oregon has set aside $10 million, and will cover up to the average tuition of $3,500 annually per student.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Obama has floated a $60 billion nationwide plan calling for two years of free community college available to most anyone with a family income under $200,000 who can keep a 2.5 grade point average.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Republicans criticized the cost, and at least one presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has said it&#39;s a bad concept. But Republican Jeb Bush likes the general idea and has supported Tennessee Promise. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both have proposed affordable college plans, and Sanders has introduced legislation to make four-year public universities free.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Using public dollars for such programs is relatively new. Organizers studied plans utilizing private dollars as a model. Graduates from Kalamazoo, Michigan, have had free tuition available at some public colleges for a decade. Philanthropists have run a similar Knoxville, Tennessee, fund since 2008.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still, Democratic state Sen. Mark Hass, who pushed the Oregon Promise, had a hard time convincing his own party of benefits. He went to the economics.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;To make a business case out of it, you look at the social costs that some of those people would likely incur on the way to poverty,&quot; he said. &quot;A year of community college is a lot less than a lifetime on food stamps.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>GOP-led Tennessee, which has all 13 of its community colleges participating, saw an 18 percent enrollment bump at technical colleges, according to Mike Krause, executive director of Tennessee Promise.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;This is a jobs conversation,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>With most students in Tennessee and Chicago just finishing their first semesters, it&#39;s early for data on dropouts, higher degrees or job placement. Education experts, though, say the Tennessee and Oregon models could still leave students with debt.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Students from low-income families, even when getting their tuition paid for, still have substantial shares of their cost of attendance to cover,&quot; said Debbie Cochrane, research director at the nonprofit Institute for College Access &amp; Success. &quot;They&#39;re not borrowing for tuition. They&#39;re borrowing for costs beyond tuition.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That organization says 69 percent of 2014 college graduates left school with outstanding student loans, which averaged $28,950.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Octavia Coaks, an 18-year-old in Chicago, said she feels lucky that her parents, a nursing assistant and railroad engineer, don&#39;t have to borrow more.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I have a sister in college, they&#39;re (already) taking out loans. I don&#39;t want to put that kind of burden on them,&quot; said Coaks, who wants to study forensic science.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Setting the qualification parameters is one way to define the program. Unlike Obama&#39;s plan, the state and Chicago programs are limited to recent graduates.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tennessee has no grade requirement. Oregon will require a 2.5 average. Chicago requires a 3.0 GPA.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said that level is a signal students &quot;have the persistence and dedication to their studies needed to succeed in college.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some researchers worry the program could divert students, at least initially, from four-year schools.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Typically, students who have a 3.0 are already going to go to college,&quot; said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who studies such programs. &quot;It doesn&#39;t usually change who goes to college, it might change where they go.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But many in the Chicago program say they&#39;re trying to complete general requirements and then transfer. A dozen Chicago-area colleges say they&#39;ll offer scholarships to Star Scholars. Chicago graduate Oscar Sanchez, 18, says he&#39;s inspired by his older classmates in community college.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;If they&#39;re putting that much effort, why can&#39;t I?&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/local-free-community-college-plans-may-be-template-us-113970 Denver ballot question poses sales tax to fund college tuition http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-04/denver-ballot-question-poses-sales-tax-fund-college-tuition-113637 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1102_colorado-tax-624x468.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95329"><img alt="Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speaks in support of a ballot measure that would create a city scholarship fund, during a rally at Sunken Gardens Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Vic Vela/CPR)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1102_colorado-tax-624x468.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speaks in support of a ballot measure that would create a city scholarship fund, during a rally at Sunken Gardens Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Vic Vela/CPR)" /><p>Denver could become one of the first cities in the country to help students pay for any public college in Colorado.</p></div><p>Tomorrow, voters will decide on a tax that would fund scholarships for low-to-middle-income students. Supporters say it&rsquo;s critical for economic development in a city where less than half of high school graduates finish college.</p><p>Critics say city government should focus on fixing sidewalks and fighting crime.</p><p>From the&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/">Here &amp; Now</a>&nbsp;Contributors Network,&nbsp;Jenny Brundin&nbsp;with Colorado Public Radio reports.</p><p><em>CPR:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpr.org/news/story/why-denver-voters-are-being-asked-help-fund-college-scholarships" target="_blank">Why Denver Voters Are Being Asked To Help Fund College Scholarships</a></em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/02/denver-sales-tax-college" target="_blank"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 13:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-04/denver-ballot-question-poses-sales-tax-fund-college-tuition-113637 For students accused of campus rape, legal victories win back rights http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/As%20colleges%20have%20been%20cracking%20down%20on%20campus%20sexual%20assault%2C%20some%20students%20have%20been%20complaining%20that%20schools%20are%20going%20too%20far%20and%20trampling%20the%20rights%20of%20the%20accused%20in%20the%20process..jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="As colleges have been cracking down on campus sexual assault, some students have been complaining that schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. (Alberto Ruggieri/Illustration Works/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>College students can&#39;t miss the warnings these days about the risk of campus sexual assault, but increasingly, some students are also taking note of what they perceive as a different danger.</p><p>&quot;Once you are accused, you&#39;re guilty,&quot; says Parker Oaks, one of several Boston University students stopped by NPR between classes. &quot;We&#39;re living in a society where you&#39;re guilty before innocent now.&quot;</p><p>Xavier Adsera, another BU student, sounds a similar theme. &quot;We used to not be fair to women on this issue,&quot; he says. &quot;Now we&#39;re on the other extreme, not being fair to guys.&quot;</p><p>As colleges crack down on sexual assault, some students complain that the schools are going too far and trampling the rights of the accused in the process. In recent months, courts around the nation have offered some of those students significant victories, slamming schools for systems that are stacked against the accused.</p><p>&quot;Schools are overcorrecting,&quot; says a student from the University of California, San Diego. &quot;People like me are always getting hurt.&quot;</p><p>The student, who was suspended last spring after a fellow student accused him of sexual assault, asked to remain anonymous to protect his reputation. He says he was shocked by the accusation and denies any nonconsensual contact. He and his accuser had been hanging out, texting, partying and studying together on friendly terms for months after the alleged assault, he says. And he says he still has text messages to prove it, including her messages asking to come over to his place and share drinks, or &quot;pre-game,&quot; together before a party.</p><p>But he says he never had a chance to make his case because the school wouldn&#39;t let him introduce his text messages as evidence, challenge the investigator or effectively cross-examine his accuser.</p></div><p>&quot;I was so angry because that was really my sole opportunity to defend myself,&quot; he says.</p><p>So he took his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nacua.org/documents/Doe_v_RegentsUCASanDiego.pdf">case to court</a>, filing as John Doe, and won what&#39;s being called a landmark ruling against UC-San Diego. The judge said the school&#39;s process was unfairly skewed against Doe and ordered the school to reinstate him. &quot;While the Court respects the university&#39;s determination to address sexual abuse and violence on its campus,&quot; wrote Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman, &quot;the hearing against petitioner was unfair.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I was ecstatic at that point,&quot; Doe says. &quot;It kind of took some b**** for a judge to come out and make the decision that they made, because every single point that we raised about unfairness and lack of evidence, the judge agreed with.&quot;</p><p>&quot;A case like this makes for a really easy lesson to say, &#39;This is what not to do,&#39;, &quot; says Western New England University law school professor Erin Buzuvis, who&nbsp;<a href="http://title-ix.blogspot.com/">blogs about sexual assault</a>&nbsp;and also consults to universities on how to handle allegations. The San Diego ruling is one of a recent flurry of decisions slamming schools for systems stacked against accused students.</p><p>In the past few months, Middlebury College and the University of Southern California were both ordered to reinstate expelled students. So was the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga after a judge ruled the school was basically upending a fundamental principle of justice by making an accused perpetrator prove he wasn&#39;t guilty.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve looked at what a university has done and thought, &#39;Oh, gosh, what are you thinking?&#39; &quot; Buzuvis says.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" in="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_120314163508.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="This Wednesday, March 14, 2012 photo shows attorney Wendy Murphy in the law library at the New England School of Law in Boston. Murphy, who has filed numerous Title IX complaints on behalf of victims, says colleges cave too easily in the face of threatened lawsuits from students accused of sexual violence. Most victims don't have the resources to pursue lawsuits, which is precisely why Title IX procedures on campus must work for them. That means putting a thumb on the scale in favor of victims - such as the &quot;preponderance of the evidence&quot; standard the Obama administration has said schools must use in adjudicating such cases. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)" />Some 50 challenges lodged by accused students are now in the pipeline; that&#39;s up from about a dozen just two years ago. Even one of the more brazen lawsuits, which claims a kind of reverse discrimination in federal court, recently logged a rare (albeit preliminary) legal victory.</p><p>The case, against Washington and Lee University, argues that overzealous administrators, who are using Title IX to crack down on gender discrimination and sexual assault, are actually violating the federal law at the same time by systematically discriminating against men. Most such cases filed in federal court have failed to get out of the box, but a judge allowed the claim against Washington and Lee to at least survive a first hurdle.</p><p>At the same time, the public conversation around campus sexual assault is beginning to put more focus on due process for accused students, and many campuses have been adding new protections for accused students &mdash; like the right to an attorney.</p><p>Joe Cohn, who&#39;s been advocating for the rights of the accused with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says he&#39;s heartened that two new bills on campus sexual assault include robust due-process protections. (The bills are the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3408">Fair Campus Act</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3403">Safe Campus Act</a>.) He says he also sees it as a victory that he &mdash; as an advocate for the accused &mdash; was invited to testify at a recent congressional hearing. But once there, he says, he was struck by how much more the pendulum has yet to swing.</p><p>At the hearing, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado wondered aloud why campuses don&#39;t decide cases using a lower standard of evidence. &quot;I mean, if 10 people are accused and under reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people,&quot; he said. Polis has since walked back his comments, saying he &quot;went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college.&quot; But Cohn says he continues to be dismayed that the comment was made and that it drew applause.</p><p>&quot;We are a ways away from reaching the kind of equilibrium that will provide fundamental fairness to everyone involved,&quot; Cohn says.</p><p>In some ways, advocates say, accused students are following much the same path that victims did: first suffering silently, thinking they&#39;re the only ones, then slowly connecting with others, then with attorneys and eventually becoming a force to be reckoned with.</p><p>&quot;The irony isn&#39;t lost on us,&quot; says Sherry Warner-Seefeld, founder of a group called Families Advocating for Campus Equality. &quot;The parallels are uncanny, frankly.&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld started the group a year ago after her son was suspended for sexual assault and then won on appeal. Now, Seefeld says, she can barely keep up with calls from guys in the same situation. Many accused students see themselves as victims, she says, and they feel as traumatized as victims of sexual assault.</p><p>&quot;If we dare to suggest such a thing, there are a number of people that go pretty hysterical about that,&quot; she says. &quot;But we know for a fact that there are huge amounts of depression [among students who have been accused and punished after a hearing they claim was unfair].&quot;</p><p>Warner-Seefeld says she&#39;s encouraged by what she sees as a new trend in the courts. She says there&#39;s no question that schools have historically had a problem: automatically doubting and blaming accusers. And she&#39;s quick to add that it&#39;s still an issue. But schools need to fix that, she says, without creating a new problem by automatically doubting and blaming the accused.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/15/446083439/for-students-accused-of-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights?ft=nprml&amp;f=446083439"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/students-accused-campus-rape-legal-victories-win-back-rights-113350 StoryCorps Chicago: “I grew up wanting to be white.” http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-%E2%80%9Ci-grew-wanting-be-white%E2%80%9D-113264 <p><div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/StoryCorps%20151009%20Eboo%20Patel%20bh.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="Eboo Patel (Couresy of StoryCorps)" />Eboo Patel was born in India and came to the United States with his parents when he was two years old. At the time, Patel&#39;s father was completing his MBA at the University of Notre Dame. Patel is the founder of <a href="https://www.ifyc.org/" target="_blank">Interfaith Youth Core</a>, a Chicago-based nonprofit that encourages collaboration among college students from different religious backgrounds. When Patel stopped by the StoryCorps booth in September, he talked about how the seeds of his work with the Interfaith Youth Core were sown from his own experiences at school.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>This story was recorded in partnership with the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/MALANational" target="_blank">Muslim American Leadership Alliance.</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div><div><em><a href="http://www.storycorps.org">StoryCorps</a>&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-%E2%80%9Ci-grew-wanting-be-white%E2%80%9D-113264 Morning Shift: August 19, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/morning-shift-august-19-2015-112685 <p><p>We take a deeper dive into the proposed CPS budget and how it will affect special education. We hear the voices of parents and talk to someone who crunches the numbers for the disability advocacy group Access Living. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton joins us to discuss his proposed bill to help CPS, which rivals Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s proposal. Vocalo&rsquo;s Ayana Contreras comes in with a little Reclaimed Soul. And dropping your kid off for his or her first year at college is an event full of emotions, and full of questions. How will they spend their time? What kinds of challenges will they face? And, how much can you...or should you&hellip;&rdquo;parent&rdquo; your college-age child? We talk with the author of the new book &ldquo;Off To College&rdquo; A Guide for Parents.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/morning-shift-august-19-2015-112685 Migrant farm worker sacrifices for son's college dream http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/migrant-farm-worker-sacrifices-sons-college-dream-111636 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps Debra and Roberto Olivera bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Roberto Olivera&rsquo;s entire family worked as migrant farm workers. His stepfather came from Jalisco, a largely agricultural area on the west coast of Mexico, and was not particularly educated. There was domestic abuse and alcohol in the home.</p><p>Roberto says his stepfather was a cruel man.</p><p>Roberto found refuge in school and at work. One day, his high school counselor called Roberto in and told him that he had a strong aptitude to succeed. He told him about a summer bridge program at the University of Santa Barbara, in preparation for going to college.</p><p>&quot;&#39;There&rsquo;s no way I can do that,&rsquo;&rdquo; Roberto remembers thinking. &ldquo;&lsquo;My stepfather will never let me leave home.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Then, on one weekend, the director of the program&mdash;baldheaded, Jewish man&mdash;showed up unexpectedly on Roberto&rsquo;s doorstep and asked to speak to his stepfather.</p><p>The discussion did not go well. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not going anywhere,&rdquo; his stepfather said. &ldquo;No way.&rdquo;</p><p>Shorty thereafter, the acceptance letter came.</p><p>&ldquo;So, now I had a choice,&rdquo; Roberto said. &ldquo;Was I going to go to school? Or was I going to stay and work in the fields?&rdquo;</p><p>One day, Roberto&rsquo;s mother was waiting for him in the dark of their kitchen. She was smoking a cigarette. It was after midnight.</p><p>Roberto had just come home from work at a restaurant, and as he lay down on his cot, his mother broke the silence.</p><p>&ldquo;I packed a suitcase,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s in the garage. Next Saturday, go. And don&rsquo;t look back. Whatever you do, do not look back.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I left her to that miserable man and all the people that were a part of it,&rdquo; Roberto said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/migrant-farm-worker-sacrifices-sons-college-dream-111636 Obama administration won't seek to end 529 college tax break http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-administration-wont-seek-end-529-college-tax-break-111466 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr bradley gorden backpacks.PNG" alt="" /><p><div class="storytext storylocation linkLocation" id="storytext"><p>Reversing what had been an unpopular approach, the White House says it is dropping the idea of ending a tax break for 529 college savings plans. Critics had called the proposal a tax hike. All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans.</p><p>Money in 529 accounts is meant to grow along with future college students, and then be distributed to pay for education expenses without being taxed.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/01/27/381783199/obama-takes-heat-for-proposing-to-end-college-savings-break">NPR&#39;s Tamara Keith reported</a> this morning, &quot;It&#39;s a pretty good deal, and one that&#39;s been around since 2001. But the White House says fewer than 3 percent of families use these accounts &mdash; and 70 percent of the money in them comes from families earning more than $200,000 a year.&quot;</p><p>Obama&#39;s plan had been to end the tax benefit for future contributions, replacing it with other education and tax proposals. But the idea drew bipartisan criticism, and the White House said today that it will now ask Congress to focus on &quot;a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support,&quot; along with proposals the president mentioned in his State of the Union speech.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Keith confirmed the reversal Tuesday. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/us/politics/obama-will-drop-proposal-to-end-529-college-savings-plans.html">The New York Times</a> reported the news today, saying that the president was &quot;facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties.&quot;</p><p>The move comes a day after Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., <a href="http://lynnjenkins.house.gov/press-releases/reps-jenkins-kind-introduce-legislation-to-expand-strengthen-529-college-savings-plans1/">introduced a bill</a> that would expand college savings plans instead of limiting them.</p><p>Today, Jenkins said her bill would &quot;further promote college access and eliminate barriers for middle class families to save and plan ahead. It would also modernize the program by allowing students to purchase a computer using their 529 funds.&quot;</p><p>House Speaker John Boehner, who had urged Obama to keep the 529 plans intact, says he&#39;s glad the president &quot;listened to the American people and withdrew his proposed tax hike on college savings.&quot; He added, &quot;This tax would have hurt middle-class families already struggling to get ahead.&quot;</p><p>Aides familiar with the conversations tell NPR&#39;s Keith that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged preserving the 529 provisions today, as she traveled with the president on Air Force One from India to Saudi Arabia.</p><p>You can read about 529 plans at the <a href="http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/intro529.htm">SEC website</a>, as well as at the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/529-Plans:-Questions-and-Answers">IRS site</a>.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/27/381967958/obama-administration-won-t-seek-to-end-529-college-tax-break" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-administration-wont-seek-end-529-college-tax-break-111466 Sept. 11 through the eyes of an NYU undergrad http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps-140912-Asha-Joseph_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;You know sometimes when you&rsquo;re in your house and a big truck will drive by and kinda shake the house? That&rsquo;s what it felt like,&rdquo; Asha Veal Brisebois says to her husband, Joseph, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Asha was in her bedroom at New York University&rsquo;s South Street Seaport dormitory, a five minute walk from the Twin Towers, when she felt her whole room rattle. &ldquo;And then I felt it again, and our suitemate opened the door and she was like: &lsquo;Something&rsquo;s going on.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brisebois and her roommates gathered in the living room, turned on the TV and saw what was happening: Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. &ldquo;It was weird. The only reference point that we had was those Denzel Washington movies, or those big Hollywood movies, where it&rsquo;s like, &lsquo;The terrorists have attacked.&rsquo; And no one quite knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>One of Asha&rsquo;s childhood friends called to see if she was okay. Asha said she was, and asked her friend to call her parents. As soon as she hung up, Asha&rsquo;s cell phone went dead.</p><p>Asha and her roommates started to panic. They lived on the fourteenth floor and someone suggested moving to a lower floor for safety. One of them had friends on the third floor, so they went downstairs. Their friends didn&rsquo;t answer and so the girls knocked on the door to the apartment next door. Three strangers let them in, and together they watched news reports on TV.</p><p>&ldquo;It was fine&hellip;Then it got weird when the Towers started to fall,&rdquo; Asha said. &ldquo;We felt it before we saw it on TV &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if there was a delay - and then the windows would go dark. So it was just kind of: You feel it, you see it on TV, and then the windows go dark... And it happened twice.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;At one point the RA came and knocked on the door and was like: You have to leave. Everyone&rsquo;s afraid that all of downtown is going to fall&hellip;.Everything&rsquo;s unstable.&rdquo;</p><p>The air outside was dirty and Asha began to worry about her asthma. She asked to borrow a shirt from one of the men whose apartment they were in, so she could breathe into it. She was delayed and lost her friends in the chaos of the evacuation.</p><p>She walked for a while and eventually found herself in the school&rsquo;s gym, where she was reunited with her friends by chance. One of her roommates had Asha&rsquo;s asthma inhaler in her purse and had insisted on waiting for her outside of their dorm. Asha didn&rsquo;t see her, but the gesture was still meaningful.</p><p>&ldquo;You have your best friends from college&hellip;Those are my friends forever &ndash; people that took care of you like family on the worst of worst days&hellip;That&rsquo;s your family. Those are your friends. You stay with each other. You look out for each other.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 It's like the first day every day in popular 'Feelings' class http://www.wbez.org/news/its-first-day-every-day-popular-feelings-class-110676 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Oak_Park_and_River_Forest_High_School.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On the first day of school at west suburban Oak Park River Forest High School, 25 seniors trickle into the second floor library.</p><p>&ldquo;How many of you know of this class as &lsquo;Experiments in Reading Literature and the World&rsquo;? How many of you know it as &lsquo;Feelings&rsquo; class? How many know it as both?&rdquo; asks teacher Avi Lessing.</p><p>&ldquo;Either way you&rsquo;re in the right place.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Lessing started teaching this class in 2005 after pitching it to a bunch of juniors. It was pretty popular then, but now, it&rsquo;s even more so. This year, there are nine sections and two other teachers teaching it.<br /><br />&ldquo;The main idea of the class, if I could sum it up, is that, you know how on the first day of school is the getting-to-know each other day and the rest of the days become just like school?&rdquo; Lessing said. &ldquo;In this class, every day is the getting to know you, and getting to know yourself, and getting to know your classmates.&rdquo;</p><p>Lessing says as school becomes more and more about academic achievement and test scores, students are missing important skills&mdash;often referred to in education circles as social-emotional skills&mdash;like how to listen, how to communicate, how to relate to people with different experiences than your own.</p><p>This class has become one piece of a bigger focus at Oak Park River Forest to integrate social-emotional learning into the curriculum. The school&rsquo;s Board of Education outlined it specifically in the formal goals for the 2014-2015 school year.<br /><br />The kids in Lessing&rsquo;s second period class on Tuesday are racially diverse and come from all different parts of the school&mdash;athletes, brains, music nerds&mdash;a bit like <em>The Breakfast Club</em>.<br /><br />Class starts with all the students standing in a big circle. For the rest of the period, they play a series of different name games. First, find the people you know and say hello. Then, stop, find a partner, stand back-to-back and change three things about your physical appearance.</p><p>Emma Burke puts her straight brown hair in a ponytail, takes off a shoe and removes her ID. Another young man pulls the bottom hem of his shirt up and through his collar so his stomach is exposed.&nbsp;</p><p>The pairs then turn around and try to notice what the other person had changed.<br /><br />&ldquo;You buttoned your flannel and your ID is backward,&rdquo; Burke guesses.<br /><br />Then, Lessing tells the students to find the people they don&rsquo;t know, introduce themselves and bow to each other. After that, with another different partner, play &ldquo;two truths and a lie&rdquo; and finally, recap by walking around, touching someone&rsquo;s shoe and repeating their name.<br /><br />At the end of class, Lessing asks each student to go around and say why they signed up for this class in the first place. The answers are all over the board.<br /><br />&ldquo;I took this class because my homies told me it was cool,&rdquo; says Sargron Sinclair.<br />&ldquo;My sister told me to,&rdquo; Burke says.<br />&ldquo;I wanted a non-traditional learning environment,&rdquo; says Elaine Houha.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;My counselor put me here,&rdquo; a young man named Toby says.<br />&ldquo;I took this class because I want to learn something that I can actually apply to my life,&rdquo; adds a girl named Beverly.<br /><br />With a class full of seniors, Lessing warns the students it&rsquo;s not just an easy &lsquo;A&rsquo; or a blow-off class.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s easy in the sense that you get to know a lot of people,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But I think it&rsquo;s hard in the sense that you have to show up and kind of face each other and be here. I value your presence more than anything else.&rdquo;<br /><br />And, he hopes, students will eventually see &ldquo;Feelings&rdquo; class as less of a class and more a part of who they&rsquo;re each becoming.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/its-first-day-every-day-popular-feelings-class-110676