WBEZ | high school http://www.wbez.org/tags/high-school Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en What it Means That the High School Diploma is Now a Moving Target http://www.wbez.org/news/what-it-means-high-school-diploma-now-moving-target-114722 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/movingtarget.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About three months ago, Bill Nelson got an unusual phone call.</p><p>Nelson oversees data and assessment for the Agua Fria Union High School District in southwest Phoenix, Ariz. The call was from a former student, who left the district back in 2011.</p><p>He was &quot;not quite a graduate,&quot; Nelson recalls. At the time, the young man had failed part of Arizona&#39;s high school exit exam, called the AIMS.</p><p>But in 2015, Arizona rescinded the AIMS requirement, and made that retroactive. So this former student was in luck.</p><p>After Nelson looked up his records, he was able to issue a new transcript and diploma, making the young man eligible for a steady, relatively well-paying job as a miner in Colorado. &quot;He was really very happy,&quot; Nelson says.</p><p>Which raises&nbsp;<a href="http://apps.npr.org/grad-rates/">a question NPR Ed has been exploring</a>&nbsp;for some time: What does it mean to graduate from high school?</p><p>The answer used to be fairly straightforward: Pass a given number of classes in a few core subjects, and you&#39;re good. Or if you didn&#39;t make it, you could take a test called the GED for a second chance.</p><p>That simplicity has more recently been replaced by a whole lot of confusion. The GED has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/01/27/464418078/lowering-the-bar-for-the-new-ged-test">two competing high school equivalency tests now,</a>&nbsp;for example.</p><p>And in the past decade, high school exit exams have passed quickly in and out of vogue. Half of states required them in 2012. This year? Only 13.</p><p>As&nbsp;Education Week&nbsp;<a href="http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/27/states-move-to-issue-high-school-diplomas.html">reported last week</a>, when states get rid of these exams, the question naturally arises: Why leave students without a diploma, when the test they failed is no longer required?</p><p>The newspaper reported that Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, California and Alaska, along with Arizona, have so far passed laws to allow students who failed some of these tests to get their diplomas anyway.</p><p>The change could profoundly affect the lives of tens of thousands of people. The difference between a high school graduate and a high school dropout is a<a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/median-weekly-earnings-by-education-gender-race-and-ethnicity-in-2014.htm">&nbsp;37 percent increase in weekly earnings on average</a>.</p><div id="con465054803" previewtitle="Related NPR Stories"><p>But making the switch is resource-intensive. In Georgia, some of these students&nbsp;<a href="http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2015/03/30/governor-signs-bill-today-enabling-8000-georgians-to-receive-high-school-diploma/">should have graduated up to 20 years ago</a>. In California, reports say, schools and districts are<a href="http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/11/09/55511/thousands-stopped-by-exit-exam-may-qualify-for-dip/">responding unevenly</a>&nbsp;to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_28948354/state-exit-exam-suspension-gives-hope-thousands-seeking">logistical nightmare</a>&nbsp;of tracking down former students who have long since gone on with their lives. In Texas, the state education agency had to rule on the eligibility of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Wylie-Senior-Deemed-Ineligible-for-Graduation-Based-on-Texas-Senate-Bill-305935721.html">just one student.</a></p></div><p>In Agua Fria, Bill Nelson&nbsp;<a href="http://kjzz.org/content/139559/former-arizona-high-school-students-who-failed-aims-getting-retroactive-diplomas">set up a hotline&nbsp;</a>for students to call and dug into student records going back five years. He did it all on his own initiative, with no extra resources from the state. He mailed 40 diplomas out just three months after the change in the law.</p><p>The issue is clearly complicated. As we&#39;ve reported,<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/12/15/459821708/u-s-high-school-graduation-rate-hits-new-record-high">&nbsp;increasing high school graduation rates</a>&nbsp;is a national priority, reinforced by federal law. At the same time, the Common Core is supposed to be enforcing higher &quot;college and career ready&quot; standards. But constantly changing requirements make it harder to believe that any consistent standard is being maintained.</p><p>&quot;The requirements for a high school diploma vary from state to state and even from district to district,&quot; says Russell Rumberger, a professor of education at UC Santa Barbara who has studied the high school diploma extensively. &quot;This means that the knowledge and skills students possess when graduating, and hence their level of preparedness for college and careers, also vary.&quot;</p><h3>More On High School Graduation</h3><div><div class="bucketwrap image medium" id="res465055600" previewtitle="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 40px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; float: none; width: auto; clear: left; overflow: hidden; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><div class="imagewrap" data-crop-type="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; text-align: center;"><a href="http://apps.npr.org/grad-rates/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(109, 138, 196); -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; text-decoration: none;"><img alt="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project: apps.npr.org/grad-rates/" class="img" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/31/screen-shot-2016-01-31-at-12.42.10-pm-f6ca9141e512437c30f99971b4c69a728484c893-s300-c85.png" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 10px solid; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: none; display: block; width: 310px; height: 231px; float: left;" title="NPR Ed Grad Rates Project" /></a></div><div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/02/01/464850639/what-it-means-that-the-high-school-diploma-is-now-a-moving-target?ft=nprml&amp;f=464850639"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-it-means-high-school-diploma-now-moving-target-114722 CRAP and the Gender Neutral Bathroom http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-22/crap-and-gender-neutral-bathroom-114579 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Gender Bathroom-Flickr-Daily Collegian.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Thursday on the Morning Shift, we talked about the sensitivity training that staff and administrators at a Palatine school are going through after the district was ordered to<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/transgender-student-be-given-access-girls%E2%80%99-locker-room-114127"> make a girls locker room available to a transgender student.&nbsp;</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In that story, a high school locker room became a battleground in the fight over civil rights and inclusion. For transgender people, some of the issues at play in that Palatine locker room play out every day in another forum: The public restroom.</div><div><p dir="ltr">According to advocates, public restrooms can be places of stress, harassment, and even violence for the transgender community. Well, one local group, the Chicago Restroom Access Project, has an answer for how to alleviate some of those problems.</p><p dir="ltr">CRAP -- yes, that is the acronym -- is proposing gender-neutral signs for single-stall bathrooms. The group plans to offer the signs to businesses, schools, nonprofits and government offices to create a more welcoming environment for everyone. Kim Hunt of Pride Action Tank tells us all about it.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-22/crap-and-gender-neutral-bathroom-114579 Training Teaches Schools and Parents How to Talk About Transgender Issues http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Trans Training-phs.d211.org_.png" alt="" /><p><div>This is the first week that a transgender student in Palatine will have access to the girls&rsquo; locker room. This comes after the U.S. Department of Education&#39;s Office for Civil Rights ruled the school in District 211 had violated Title IX by banning the student from the locker room.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, the district is taking a step beyond increased access. They&rsquo;re training staff and administrators with the tools of inclusion for gender non-conforming students.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jennifer Leininger from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital leads this and other trainings in schools.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender Attendance Drops at Maryland High School, as Deportation Fears Rise http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-19/attendance-drops-maryland-high-school-deportation-fears <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000066798857_medium_wide-568210156e87a867efc380ff9aca55253226a61d-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At one high school in Maryland, fears of deportation are playing out in the classroom.</p><p>In Prince George&#39;s County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., about 70 percent of the students at High Point High School are Latino. It&#39;s a student population that&#39;s prompted the school&#39;s principal, Sandra Jimenez, to term it &quot;Central American Ellis Island.&quot;</p><p>Principal Jimenez says the fear of deportation raids is making many immigrant students scared to come to school, despite assurances from government officials that there are no raids happening at schools.</p><p>It&#39;s a concern that was echoed in a statement by Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George&#39;s County Public Schools in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www1.pgcps.org/ceo/index.aspx?id=221188">open letter to DHS</a>.</p><p>&quot;I am deeply troubled by the fear and uncertainty that exists in so many of our school communities as a result of the actions of the Department of Homeland Security,&quot; he wrote. &quot;We urge federal authorities to see schools and other public gathering places as areas where no enforcement activities should take place and ask them to strongly consider the devastating impacts of their actions on the academic, social and emotional well-being of all of our students.&quot;</p><p>DHS declined an interview request from NPR, but said in a statement that the agency &quot;does not conduct &#39;raids.&#39; ICE focuses on those who have been issued a final order of removal from a judge.&quot;</p><p>Jimenez joined NPR&#39;s Michel Martin to discuss the drama that is playing out on her campus.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463405722/attendance-drops-at-maryland-high-school-as-deportation-fears-rise?ft=nprml&amp;f=463405722" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-19/attendance-drops-maryland-high-school-deportation-fears Emanuel Brings Back High School Program He Cut During First Term http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-brings-back-high-school-program-he-cut-during-first-term-114449 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickrUSDEPTofEDU.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is bringing back a successful freshman orientation program he cut during his first term.</p><p>The roughly $6 million price tag for what&rsquo;s called Freshman Connection will be paid for with money from new taxes on tobacco products, including cigars and chewing tobacco. The mayor&rsquo;s office estimates prices will increase $2 to $4 on those products.</p><p>The Freshman Connection program was eliminated in 2011, the first year Emanuel took office. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-cut-positions-free-cash-principals-98625">In 2012</a>, 100 coordinators for the program were eliminated to free up money for principal discretion. Some principals decided to use their discretionary money to keep it going.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson was the principal of Westinghouse College Prep at the time.</p><p>&ldquo;I found it extremely valuable,&rdquo; Jackson said of Freshman Connection. &ldquo;There was one year when we didn&rsquo;t offer it and we saw a big difference in the students.&rdquo;</p><p>For example, Jackson said, writing was a focus of the week-long summer orientation at Westinghouse and you could see a &ldquo;tremendous difference&rdquo; in the writing skills of students who had attended the summer program and those who had not.</p><p>Studies have shown that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-16/surprising-power-ninth-grade-113374">freshman year is an important factor</a> in determining whether a student will graduate from high school. &nbsp;</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s office says the tobacco tax also will help CPS target students who are at risk of dropping out before they even reach high school.</p><p>A press release from the mayor&rsquo;s office says the programs &ldquo;are part of a larger menu of efforts that will help CPS reach a graduation rate of 85 percent by 2019.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ has reported on the district&rsquo;s aggressive efforts to improve graduation rates -- including with Freshman Connection.</p><p>Those efforts include individual <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/luring-chicago-dropouts-back-school-one-doorstep-time-91009">principals going door-to-door</a> to re-enroll students, to the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/new-alternative-schools-some-run-profit-companies-come-hefty-price-tag-110239">rapid expansion of for-profit, online alternative schools</a> where students can <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/same-diploma-different-school-111581">earn a regular high school diploma in half the time</a>.</p><p>Perhaps most troubling, WBEZ and the Better Government Association found many high schools intentionally <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-touts-bogus-graduation-rate-112163">mislabeled hundreds of dropouts</a> over the past four years to make their graduation rates look better. Months later, the district officially <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-lowers-graduation-rate-after-errors-found-113148">lowered its graduation rates</a> from the last four years.</p><p>Even so, Emanuel is promising to boost graduation rates another 15 percent over the next four years -- <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-promises-85-percent-graduation-rate-if-elected-second-term-111366">to 85 percent by the end of his second term</a>.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation"><em>@WBEZeducation</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 09:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-brings-back-high-school-program-he-cut-during-first-term-114449 Need to get out of swim class? Find Dr. Fong. http://www.wbez.org/news/need-get-out-swim-class-find-dr-fong-113856 <p><p><em>▲ This story is made for your ears. Please push play above!</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMAG2370web swim class.jpg" style="height: 467px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div><p>This story is a little mystery, and it&rsquo;s all true. It starts with a memo I stumbled across that went home with ninth graders at a Chicago-area high school. It outlines what kids need for the swim unit in gym class.</p><p>Ah, yes. Recall high school swim class for a moment: You&rsquo;re 14. Your body is completely unpredictable. And now, you&rsquo;re going to put on a swimsuit, take a cold shower, and line up in alphabetical order on the pool deck with the whole class. Yeah.</p><p>The memo goes over the basics &mdash; bring a suit, a towel. Nose plug optional.</p><p>And then, at the very bottom, in a long section about being &ldquo;medically excused&rdquo; from swimming, the memo says this, in bold: &ldquo;Only notes from a medical doctor other than Dr. Fong will be accepted.&rdquo;</p><p>I tracked down the gym teacher who wrote that memo.</p><blockquote><p><em>For some reason, one year, I had students come in&nbsp;<em style="text-align: center;">&mdash;&nbsp;</em>all with notes from Dr. Fong.</em></p></blockquote><p>I&rsquo;m going to call the teacher &ldquo;Rodney&rdquo; for this story. It isn&rsquo;t his real name, but hey, the guy has still gotta work in this town. &nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_1012-memo.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div><p>Since high school swimming was invented, kids have been trying to get out of it. It&rsquo;s an elaborate game of cat and mouse.</p><p>Rodney is extremely earnest about swimming instruction, and he comes armed with facts.</p><blockquote><p><em>Most of our Earth is water &mdash; and that&rsquo;s not even including swimming pools!</em></p></blockquote><p>He&rsquo;s heard every excuse kids can think up for not swimming &mdash; their suit doesn&rsquo;t fit, their skin is dry, the chemical balance of the water is off. &nbsp;And, of course &hellip; &nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><em>I have to remind them that &mdash; OK, I know how girls&rsquo; menstrual cycles go. I know you don&rsquo;t get your period every Monday or every Friday.</em></p></blockquote><p>Rodney sees this whole game like any good gym teacher would&mdash;as a winner-takes-all competition. He makes swimming worth triple the points of other units, which means if you don&rsquo;t swim, you don&rsquo;t pass gym.</p><p>That is, of course, unless you have a medical excuse. Enter Dr. Fong.</p><blockquote><p><em>Yeah, so this is like the first day of swim class. One kid comes in with a note from Dr. Fong. &nbsp;And the next period another kid&mdash;and I&rsquo;ve got five periods in the day. Next day&mdash;I&rsquo;m getting like two kids from each class with a note from Dr. Fong. And they all were word-for-word verbatim: That the student was allergic to chlorine and could not participate in swim class.</em></p></blockquote><p>It was pretty clear, the students were escalating things. Big time.</p><blockquote><p><em>I started asking other teachers: Did you get notes from this guy? Everyone had notes from Dr. Fong&mdash;and everyone had multiple notes from Dr. Fong. So I didn&rsquo;t know if these kids had gotten a hold of one of his notepads or something. But it looked like doctor&rsquo;s writing, and it was all the same. So, maybe a kid&rsquo;s selling them, I was thinking.</em></p></blockquote><p>These notes could tip the entire balance of power. I had to find Fong. &nbsp;</p><p>I wanted to talk to the kids who&rsquo;d brought the notes, but they had graduated by the time I was on the case. How far flung was Fong? I decided to visit another high school &mdash; miles away &mdash; to find out.</p><p>Soon, I was standing on a pool deck, surrounded by shivering teenagers on their first day of swim unit. I went straight to their coach, who happened to be collecting doctor&rsquo;s notes. He had definitely heard of Fong. Our conversation went something like this:</p><blockquote><p><em>Me: Wait, so you&rsquo;ve had an excuse from Dr. Fong?</em></p><p><em>Coach: A Dr. Fong, yeah. I want to say as recently as last year, or the year before anyway. Because I had a lot of students that had Dr. Fong.</em></p><p><em>Me: Really? Did that strike you as fishy?</em></p><p><em>Coach: Um, somewhat.</em></p></blockquote><p>Wow. This was bigger than I thought! Multiple schools! Near the pool, several students were struggling with their swim caps. I got my notepad out and started asking questions:</p><blockquote><p><em>Me: Are you guys freshmen?</em></p><p><em>Freshmen: Yes.</em></p><p><em>Me: First day of swimming?</em></p><em>Freshmen: Yes!</em><p><em>Me: Did anybody here try to get out of swimming?</em></p><p><em>Girl: I&rsquo;m in the motion of trying, to get a doctor&rsquo;s note &mdash; so I won&rsquo;t have to do it. Yeah, I&rsquo;m gonna have a broken leg in a few days.</em></p><p><em>Girl&rsquo;s Friend: Oh my God!</em></p><p><em>Me: Do you think you can find a doctor who could do that for you?</em></p><p><em>Girl: Yes! I&rsquo;m going to the doctor soon &mdash; I already have an injury from track. So I&rsquo;m going to hope it&rsquo;s broken or sprained or something like that.</em></p></blockquote><p>I had to find Fong before he struck again.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_0441 Fong office U of C.JPG" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></p><p>There are fewer Fongs in the phone book than you might think &mdash; especially with an &ldquo;MD&rdquo; after the name. There was exactly one Dr. Fong nearby, but the specialty did not seem right. Anesthesiology, University of Chicago.</p><p>Professor Robert Fong never even had swim class in high school &mdash; no motive for the crime. We met in the hospital cafeteria. He was wearing scrubs. He carried a pager, which went off as soon as we shook hands.</p><p>It was a long shot, but I showed him the memo anyway.</p><blockquote><p><em>I have no idea. I&rsquo;ve never provided a note for anybody&rsquo;s swim class or anything so, yeah, definitely not me.</em></p></blockquote><p>Wrong Fong.</p><p>Now, Rodney had told me he&rsquo;d once talked to Fong. He didn&rsquo;t have his phone number anymore, and he&rsquo;d thrown out the notes. But Rodney remembered Fong worked in an Asian neighborhood.</p><p>So I headed to Chinatown, and went into every ginseng shop and Chinese pharmacy I could find. Hours of searching, but the trail was cold.</p><p>And that&#39;s when I saw a phone number that stretched across the entire second floor of a building. &ldquo;ACUPUNCTURE AND HERB,&rdquo; the sign said. I dialed. I asked if there was a Dr. Fong there. And amazingly, there was.</p><p>I walked upstairs.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_0587-chinatown-apothecary-i-visited-looking-for-dr-fong.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div></div><p>This Dr. Fong was older. Soft-spoken. He was there with his wife, who&rsquo;s also a doctor. I wasn&rsquo;t sure how much Dr. Fong was understanding &mdash; about the memo I showed him or about the concept of high school swim class. Our conversation went something like this:</p><blockquote><p><em>Me: You see your name? &lsquo;Other than Dr. Fong.&rsquo; You see that?</em></p><p><em>Dr. Fong: This is Chinese medicine I do.</em></p><p><em>Me: You do Chinese medicine?</em></p><p><em>Dr. Fong: Yeah, and acupuncture.</em></p><p><em>Dr. Fong&rsquo;s Wife: Tradition Chinese medicine. Yin-yang.</em></p><p><em>Me: Yeah. Do you ever get a high school student? Trying to get out of gym class?</em></p><p><em>Dr. Fong&rsquo;s Wife: No. We are not do that part.</em></p></blockquote><p>I asked a lot of questions&mdash;about chlorine, about whether the Fongs have a notepad. And then Dr. Fong handed me a business card: Xin-Xiang FENG, it said across the top.</p><p>Dr. Feng, I repeated. Not Dr. Fong.</p><p>&ldquo;Do you know a Dr. Fong?&rdquo; I asked Dr. Feng.</p><p>So close.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG_0589%20in%20chinatown%20apothecary%20i%20visited%20looking%20for%20dr%20fong.JPG" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" />An Illinois doctors registry does show a few other Fongs&mdash;a dentist in the suburbs, a family doctor in Urbana, an emergency room attendant in Milwaukee.</p><p>I found a Tiki bar in the western suburbs that makes a drink called Dr. Fong. They sell T-shirts too. I got one for Rodney.</p><p>Back to Rodney... here is how he put an end to the notes from Dr. Fong and caught the kids:</p><p>One day a boy came out of the locker room.</p><blockquote><p><em>He was at one end of the pool. I was at the other end lengthwise. And he got into the pool knee deep. Came back out, and then handed me a note from Dr. Fong that he was allergic to chlorine.</em></p></blockquote><p>Rodney told the kid if he didn&rsquo;t have a rash on that leg by the end of class, he was gonna be swimming, and so was everyone else.</p><p>No rash.</p><blockquote><p><em>I got the kids in the pool. They weren&rsquo;t allergic to chlorine. I made every one of those kids swim. So, the victorious part wasn&rsquo;t so much calling out Dr. Fong as much as telling those kids&mdash;your notes were bogus! You have to get in the pool, you have to swim.</em></p></blockquote><blockquote><p><em>Oh yeah. That was the fun part.</em></p></blockquote><p>And that is how Dr. Fong made it onto Rodney&rsquo;s swim memo. Once the memo was out, Fong vanished &mdash; not another note.</p><p>During my search, I started wondering if Dr. Fong is even real. I think he probably is. I&rsquo;m not even sure he&rsquo;s gone. Maybe he&rsquo;s in hiding. Maybe he&rsquo;s changed names. Maybe he&rsquo;s already at his next high school, helping kids there get out of swim class.</p></p> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/need-get-out-swim-class-find-dr-fong-113856 Chicago-Area School Considering Settlement in Transgender Discrimination Case http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-02/illinois-school-might-settle-transgender-teen-locker-room-use <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1202_high-school-lockers-624x351.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_97077"><img alt="School officials in Palatine, Illinois are reportedly considering a settlement in a discrimination case brought by a transgender high school student who wants unfettered access to the girls' locker room. (David Cosand/Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/12/1202_high-school-lockers-624x351.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="School officials in Palatine, Illinois are reportedly considering a settlement in a discrimination case brought by a transgender high school student who wants unfettered access to the girls’ locker room. (David Cosand/Flickr)" /><p>School officials in Palatine, Illinois, are reportedly considering a settlement in a discrimination case brought by a transgender high school student who wants unfettered access to the girls&rsquo; locker room.</p></div><p>The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-04/battle-brewing-over-use-high-school-locker-room-transgender" target="_blank">school had been requiring the student to use a private restroom </a>or curtained-off areas in the girls&rsquo; locker room. Federal education officials <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642" target="_blank">ordered the school district to eliminate all barriers</a> to full access by today or risk losing millions of dollars in federal funding.</p><p>Chicago Tribune reporter&nbsp;Duaa Eldeib&nbsp;has been covering this case and speaks with&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/12/02/transgender-locker-room-case" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now&lsquo;s </em></a>Jeremy Hobson.</p></p> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-02/illinois-school-might-settle-transgender-teen-locker-room-use Adidas offers to help U.S. high schools phase out Native Ameican mascots http://www.wbez.org/news/adidas-offers-help-us-high-schools-phase-out-native-ameican-mascots-113666 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454915402" previewtitle="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/05/ap_08050806897-58e0ccfdb2992737eb8273f8791cef9a4ab7cc29-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical. (Christof Stache/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>Sportswear giant Adidas announced Thursday that it would offer free design resources and financial assistance to any high schools that want to change their logo or mascot from Native American imagery or symbolism.</p></div></div></div><p>The company announced the initiative ahead of the Tribal Nations Conference at the White House, which Adidas executives attended.</p><p>&quot;Sports have the power to change lives,&quot; Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke<a href="http://news.adidas.com/US/Latest-News/adidas-Announces-Support-For-Mascot-Name-Changes-Ahead-Of-White-House-Tribal-Nations-Conference/s/7197ec89-d0fe-4557-b737-cd27dc76aba1">said in a statement</a>. &quot;Sports give young people limitless potential. Young athletes have hope, they have desire and they have a will to win. Importantly, sports must be inclusive. Today we are harnessing the influence of sports in our culture to lead change for our communities.&quot;</p><p>Approximately 2,000 high schools in the U.S. use names that &quot;cause concern for many tribal communities,&quot; according to the company&#39;s statement.</p><p>At the Tribal Nations Conference, Obama praised the effort by Adidas, and added that &quot;a certain sports team in Washington might want to do that as well.&quot;</p><p>Even before Obama&#39;s remarks, the Washington football team had responded in an emailed statement that read:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The hypocrisy of changing names at the high school level of play and continuing to profit off of professional like-named teams is absurd. Adidas make hundreds of millions of dollars selling uniforms to teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and the Golden State Warriors, while profiting off sales of fan apparel for the Cleveland Indians, Florida State Seminoles, Atlanta Braves and many other like-named teams. It seems safe to say that Adidas&#39; next targets will be the biggest sports teams in the country, which won&#39;t be very popular with their shareholders, team fans, or partner schools and organizations.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>The team&#39;s owner, Dan Snyder, has vowed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/10/07/230221006/an-uphill-battle-to-push-an-nfl-team-to-change-its-name">never to change the team&#39;s name</a>.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/454902114/adidas-offers-to-help-u-s-high-schools-phase-out-native-american-mascots" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 09:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/adidas-offers-help-us-high-schools-phase-out-native-ameican-mascots-113666 U.S. says Illinois school must give locker room access to transgender student http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3111086451_91879a4b16_o_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A suburban high school in Chicago is the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-04/battle-brewing-over-use-high-school-locker-room-transgender" target="_blank"> center of a debate</a> about how to accommodate transgender students without singling them out. At issue is whether a student who identifies as female can use the girls locker room in the same fashion as other female peers do.</p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 Michelle Obama announces new education push http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-19/michelle-obama-announces-new-education-push-113393 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/First%20Lady%20Michelle%20Obama%20attends%20the%20First-Ever%20Citywide%20College%20Signing%20Day%20With%20Get%20Schooled%20And%20Detroit%20College%20Access%20Network%20As%20Part%20Of%20The%20First%20Lady%27s%20Reach%20Higher%20Initiative%20in%20Detroit%2C%20Michigan.jpg" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="First Lady Michelle Obama attends the First-Ever Citywide College Signing Day With Get Schooled And Detroit College Access Network As Part Of The First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative in Detroit, Michigan. (Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Get Schooled)" /></div><p>Michelle Obama is continuing her push to get every young person to pursue some form of higher education. At the White House Monday, the First Lady is expected to launch a new public awareness campaign geared toward students aged 14 to 19.</p><p>A new website,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bettermakeroom.org/" target="_blank">bettermakeroom.org</a>, will let young people post their goals and share pictures, and will point students to resources to help them research and apply to colleges. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When we define postsecondary success, we do mean a two-year degree, a four-year degree, community college, an industry-recognized certificate or credential,&rdquo; said Eric Waldo, executive director of the first lady&rsquo;s Reach Higher initiative. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s some education past high school.&rdquo;</p><p>Carrie Warick, with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegeaccess.org/" target="_blank">National College Access Network</a>, has seen how students respond to Michelle Obama, who was a first-generation college student herself.</p><p>&ldquo;Having the First Lady, specifically as a woman of color, for our students of color, championing an issue that&rsquo;s so important to them really does have an intangible impact,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>More minority and low-income students are furthering their education after high school, Warick said, but there is still a sizeable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegeaccess.org/benchmarkingreport2015" target="_blank">college access gap</a>.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/education/michelle-obama-announces-new-education-push" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 10:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-19/michelle-obama-announces-new-education-push-113393