WBEZ | education http://www.wbez.org/tags/education Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving http://www.wbez.org/news/how-talk-kids-about-thanksgiving-113949 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gobble.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457242128" previewtitle="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/24/thanksgiving-turkeytalk1_custom-c5fac29b7022215b40a6cfb12f8198e75c75e7d1-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 620px;" title="Parent and child hand turkeys have a heart to heart. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div>You know the drill: Trace your hand, then add the details. Two feet, a beak, a single eyeball. Color it in, and voila! Hand becomes turkey.</div></div></div><p>You know the rest too: The Pilgrims fled England and landed on Plymouth Rock. The native people there, the Wampanoag, taught them to farm the land. In 1621, they sat down together for a thanksgiving feast, and we&#39;ve been celebrating it ever since.</p><p>It&#39;s a lesson many remember from childhood, but the story has some problems.</p><p>There is evidence, in the form of a colonist&#39;s letter, to suggest the feast did happen, but the holiday didn&#39;t take off nationally until the civil war, when writer Sarah Hale advocated for it as a way to unite the country.</p><p>And, of course, it leaves out what happened to native communities over the next few centuries.</p><p>Bettina Washington, the Wampanoag tribal historic preservation officer, says it&#39;s crucial to acknowledge what happened. &quot;It&#39;s not a pretty history by any stretch of the imagination,&quot; she says, &quot;but we need the story to be told truthfully.&quot;</p><p>Each year, elementary teachers across the country search for the best way to address the elephant &mdash; or turkey &mdash; in the room.</p><p>There isn&#39;t a guide: Social studies standards vary by state. Most are intentionally vague.</p><p>In many states, Thanksgiving is not explicitly mentioned in the standards. And yet children bring their lives into the classroom, leaving educators to decide how to tackle a holiday fraught with broken treaties and forced exodus.</p><p>Here are some of their strategies.</p><p><strong>Shift the focus</strong></p><p>When the 20 or so second-graders enter Crystal Brunelle&#39;s library, she keeps the lesson simple.</p><p>&quot;Other people celebrate Thanksgiving besides us. Some people have turkey,&quot; says Brunelle, a library media specialist at Northern Hills Elementary in Onalaska, Wis. &quot;Others may celebrate in a different way or not at all.&quot;</p><p>Brunelle tells her class: &quot;Lots of cultures have a holiday to give thanks and many cultures celebrated a thanksgiving prior to the Pilgrims.&quot;</p><p>She focuses on the distinct ways different cultures show gratitude, from China to Mexico. And she makes sure to include readings from the nearby Ho Chunk Nation and books written by native authors &mdash; a challenge considering&nbsp;<a href="http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp">just 20</a>&nbsp;of the 5,000 children&#39;s books published in 2014 were written by Native Americans.</p><p>Brunelle says second grade is a critical time.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a time when they&#39;re still forming their opinions and they are very open and accepting of others,&quot; she says. &quot;I don&#39;t want to miss that time. Later is too late.&quot;</p><p><strong>Make connections</strong></p><p>Rebecca Valbuena has been teaching mostly third and fifth grade for 27 years. She has seen the whole range when it comes to teaching Thanksgiving.</p><p>&quot;I know school districts that are very tight and there are no holidays. Other schools, they&#39;re talking about how nice it was for those natives to share their meal,&quot; says Valbuena, who coaches teachers in the Glendora Unified School District in California.</p><p>Valbuena says one timely strategy is to connect Thanksgiving to the Syrian refugee crisis.</p><p>&quot;Make it relevant to today,&quot; she says. &quot;Turn it into a lesson of what a pilgrim really is. These people left looking for freedom. It&#39;s a really strong connection to people of the past.&quot;</p><p>Bettina Washington, of the Wampanoag tribe, agrees that making connections is key but says it can be as simple as emphasizing that all students have ancestors.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re not using clay pots anymore. We use a stove just like you. We&#39;re still here,&quot; Washington says. &quot;Where were your ancestors from? What were they wearing and how were they cooking? It&#39;s very important to make that connection.&quot;</p><p><strong>Emphasize critical thinking</strong></p><p>Brunelle and Valbuena both say Thanksgiving is an opportunity to get students to ask questions and focus on multiple perspectives.</p><p>&quot;We want to teach children how to be historians,&quot; Valbuena says. &quot;We talk about reading the book but also reading behind it: Who&#39;s the author, what&#39;s the message, and what&#39;s their motivation?&quot;</p><p>With her fourth- and fifth-grade students, Brunelle pulls out a history textbook and asks students to examine the portrayal of Native Americans.</p><p>&quot;We see Native Americans in a particular way and then we don&#39;t see them again. They disappear,&quot; Brunelle says. &quot;We talk about that and look to see who is missing.&quot;</p><p>For Washington, that disappearance is what matters most. No matter how you teach the complicated history of Thanksgiving, she says, keep students talking about it.</p><p>&quot;We always get called in the month of November and then we&#39;re not here the rest of the year,&quot; says Washington, but she added: &quot;The positive thing about this time of year is that we are thought of. That opens the door to greater learning and understanding.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/25/457105485/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-thanksgiving?ft=nprml&amp;f=457105485" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-talk-kids-about-thanksgiving-113949 For some teen girls, surviving a rape can mean losing an education http://www.wbez.org/news/some-teen-girls-surviving-rape-can-mean-losing-education-113698 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/npr_4_3_15_slteens-73f5e54fe48c3617f3dd3844c55e5957a61141d3-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455034458" previewtitle="Maria Fabrizio for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Maria Fabrizio for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/06/npr_4_3_15_slteens-73f5e54fe48c3617f3dd3844c55e5957a61141d3-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="(Maria Fabrizio for NPR)" /></div><div><div>Last spring, with the Ebola outbreak under control, students in Sierra Leone returned to school after a months-long hiatus. But absent from the classrooms were several thousand adolescent girls. A law that went into effect in April bars &quot;visibly pregnant&quot; students from school.</div></div></div><p>The consequences of this new law have been heartbreaking, says Esther Major, who researches economic, social and cultural rights at Amnesty International. &quot;A 12-year-old girl I interviewed was five months pregnant. She was raped &mdash; and my heart broke,&quot; Major recalls. &quot;And she told me of her hopes and dreams to help people in the future but now she feels she won&#39;t be able to do that.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Major co-authored&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr51/2695/2015/en/">a report</a>&nbsp;Amnesty published this Friday titled&nbsp;<em>Shamed and Blamed: Pregnant girls&#39; rights at risk in Sierra Leone</em>.&nbsp;We asked her to tell us more about the law and its effects.</p><p>The interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><hr /><p><strong>Why is Sierra Leone banning pregnant students?</strong></p><p>This official ban occurred in April, but we know that the practice had gone on informally for a long time.</p><p>Moijueh Kaikai, the minister of social welfare, told us that he could not have pregnant girls with normal girls because it&#39;ll encourage other girls in the class to get pregnant. He said, &quot;During the Ebola outbreak children were given clear instructions: Do not touch... These girls could not even comply with basic rules and there must be consequences for their actions.&quot;</p><div id="res455034500"><div><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<a data-metrics="{&quot;category&quot;:&quot;Story to Story&quot;,&quot;action&quot;:&quot;Click Internal Link&quot;,&quot;label&quot;:&quot;http:\/\/www.npr.org\/sections\/goatsandsoda\/2015\/04\/06\/397272538\/visibly-pregnant-girls-are-banned-from-school-in-sierra-leone&quot;}" href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/04/06/397272538/visibly-pregnant-girls-are-banned-from-school-in-sierra-leone">&#39;Visibly Pregnant&#39; Girls Are Banned From School In Sierra Leone</a></strong></div></div><p>This language is deeply concerning. There is among many the idea that the girls have &quot;chosen&quot; pregnancy and should be punished as a result. But many of these girls are either victims of sexual violence or they didn&#39;t have the information or the health services to avoid early pregnancy. And even if they did choose to become pregnant, they should not have the right for an education taken away from them.</p><p><strong>Can these girls go back to school once they&#39;ve had the baby?</strong></p><p>Because they don&#39;t have the support and finances to have child care, the likelihood of their returning to school after giving birth is very, very slim.</p><p>Girls talked to us about their desire to contribute to their country and how they wanted to be nurses, doctors and lawyers, and would love to go to school if given the chance to do so. In particular one girl said how humiliated she felt when she found out she was pregnant and her school bag and books were given to her younger sister.</p><p><strong>Pregnant girls are also banned from taking national exams coming up this month, right?</strong></p><p>Yes. These two sets of exams on Nov. 23 are crucial. One set determines who can go on to senior high school. And the other set is for graduating seniors, in rough American terms similar to a high school diploma.</p><p>Some girls in desperation inevitably are going to try to hide their pregnancy in order to be able to sit these crucial exams. In our interviews, we heard that girls were strapping their stomachs down in order to pass for non-pregnant in order to be able to sit the exams.</p><p><strong>So &quot;visibly pregnant&quot; students are banned. But do schools actually check to see if girls are pregnant?</strong></p><p>We spoke to girls who had their breasts and stomachs touched and some were being forced to give urine tests.</p><p><strong>Your report recommends that pregnant girls should be allowed back in school and allowed to take exams. What else do you and your colleagues recommend?</strong></p><p>Schools should be prohibited from the treating girls in this degrading way to ascertain their pregnancy status.</p><p>One of the girls said to us, &quot;Instead of banning us from school, why didn&#39;t they give us sex education?&quot;</p><p>Instead of punishing the girls they should be punishing rapists. And giving the girls the information, health services and support they need to go forward.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/11/09/455012815/for-some-teen-girls-surviving-a-rape-can-mean-losing-an-education?ft=nprml&amp;f=455012815" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 12:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-teen-girls-surviving-rape-can-mean-losing-education-113698 Police role in school disciplinary process http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/police-role-school-disciplinary-process-113552 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/police school flickr North Charleston.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A viral video shot on October 26 in a classroom at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina shows a school resource officer forcefully removing a student after she refused to leave the classroom. The student was later arrested. The video has sparked a national debate about police in schools, and the incident is now the subject of state and federal investigations. The officer, a sheriff&#39;s deputy named Ben Fields, has been fired. And the superintendent of the school district says she is reviewing the decision making process for using police in disciplinary matters.</p><p>Larry Johnson, president of the <a href="http://www.nassleo.org/">National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials</a>, and <a href="https://twitter.com/jbouie?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Jamelle Bouie</a>, chief political correspondent for Slate, discuss the role of police officers in school. Bouie&#39;s recent article, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/10/spring_valley_high_school_resource_officer_ben_field_s_violent_arrest_of.html">Lessons in Brutality</a>,&rdquo; suggests that incidents like the one at Spring Valley High School are more common than we might think.</p></p> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-29/police-role-school-disciplinary-process-113552 How do you find plutonium? Go to nuclear inspector school http://www.wbez.org/news/how-do-you-find-plutonium-go-nuclear-inspector-school-113395 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/There&#039;s no playground at nuclear inspector school. Inside a nondescript building at Los Alamos National Laboratory known as TA-66, nuclear weapons inspectors are carefully trained in the detection of plutonium..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="primaryaudio"><div id="res449862134"><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="There's no playground at nuclear inspector school. Inside a nondescript building at Los Alamos National Laboratory known as TA-66, nuclear weapons inspectors are carefully trained in the detection of plutonium." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/16/lanl-ta66-17_custom-302d74745f23b874eab60f2cdd5a308f0ee773b2-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 620px;" title="There's no playground at nuclear inspector school. Inside a nondescript building at Los Alamos National Laboratory known as TA-66, nuclear weapons inspectors are carefully trained in the detection of plutonium." /></div></div></div><div id="storytext"><div id="res449222294" previewtitle="There's no playground at nuclear inspector school. Inside a nondescript building at Los Alamos National Laboratory known as TA-66, nuclear weapons inspectors are carefully trained in the detection of plutonium."><div><div><p>No names. No pictures. No direct conversation.</p></div></div></div><p>And don&#39;t touch the plutonium.</p><p>Those were the ground rules before NPR was allowed a rare opportunity to see nuclear inspectors learning their craft. The inspectors came from the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iaea.org/">International Atomic Energy Agency</a>, the world&#39;s nuclear watchdog.</p><p>This week, the agency will be looking on as Iran begins to scale back its nuclear program. Under the terms of a multinational agreement, Iran is to dramatically cut its uranium stockpile, mothball much of its nuclear equipment and restrict the rest to peaceful use. In exchange, the U.S. and other nations are to lift economic sanctions.</p><p>The IAEA&#39;s role in the deal is somewhere between that of a football referee and a tax accountant. Its inspectors will crisscross the country, visiting labs, reactors and even uranium mines. They will meticulously catalog equipment and material, to make sure it&#39;s all accounted for. If something seems off, they are the ones who will cry foul.</p><p><strong>School Of Nukes</strong></p><p>The inspectors NPR met were visiting&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lanl.gov/">Los Alamos National Laboratory</a>, which is (ironically enough) a nuclear weapons lab in Los Alamos, New Mexico.</p><p>&quot;We used to wear buttons that said, &#39;It&#39;s The Plutonium, Stupid,&#39; &quot; says Nancy Jo Nicholas, who oversees global security at Los Alamos. &quot;That&#39;s why people come here.&quot;</p><p>Plutonium and uranium are used in ordinary nuclear power reactors all around the world. But when they are properly purified and enriched, they can also be used to make nuclear weapons.</p><p>Inspectors must learn everything about plutonium &mdash; the civilian kind, which is used in some power reactors, and also the kind used in nukes. And Los Alamos has plenty of both.</p><p>Behind barbed wire and security checkpoints, the eight inspectors are working in an anonymous-looking building known as &quot;Technical Area 66.&quot; They&#39;re an unassuming bunch, dressed in ordinary street cloths. Their accents suggest they come from all over the world.</p><p><a href="http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Santi2">Peter Santi</a>, who is heading the training for Los Alamos, takes me across the classroom to pick up some pure plutonium oxide. It&#39;s sealed in a metal container about the size of a paint can, with makeshift handle made of tape to make it easier to carry. (Dropping the plutonium &quot;makes a loud noise and it scares everybody,&quot; Santi jokes.)</p><p>We put the can of plutonium into another container about the size of an oil drum. It&#39;s designed to catch radioactive particles flying out as the plutonium decays.</p><div id="res449221433" previewtitle="Each kind of nuclear material has a unique radioactive fingerprint. Inspectors use that signature to identify and quantify the material."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Each kind of nuclear material has a unique radioactive fingerprint. Inspectors use that signature to identify and quantify the material." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/16/lanl-ta66-5_custom-1a985a24018a89dcea55581b28760551b57b57ac-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="Each kind of nuclear material has a unique radioactive fingerprint. Inspectors use that signature to identify and quantify the material. (Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;Nuclear material, when it decays, produces very unique signatures,&quot; Santi explains. The radiation acts as a fingerprint for the substance, and it&#39;s virtually impossible to mimic.</p></div></div></div><p>Inspectors use the radioactive fingerprint in two ways. First, they check it to verify the kind of material they are dealing with. And then they measure it to figure out how much material is there. Santi can nail down the amount of plutonium in this can to within a gram &mdash; a fraction of a percent of the total 606-gram mass.</p><p>In Iran, inspectors will work primarily with uranium, but they will bring the same dogged precision to their measurements. In addition to measuring nuclear materials, they will take environmental samples, install cameras and conduct visual inspections, among other things.</p><p><strong>Guarding The Globe</strong></p><p>The IAEA actually does this work elsewhere, too. &quot;We are inspecting all different types of facilities all over the world,&quot; says David Lacey, a training officer with the IAEA and a former inspector. The agency visits civilian reactors, fuel plants and plutonium handling facilities everywhere, from Brazil, to Japan to the US. Inspectors go in, make measurements, and then compare them to the official inventory, to make sure everything is accounted for. It&#39;s a challenging job even in the best of times.</p><p>&quot;An inspector has to be a little bit of everything,&quot; Lacy says. &quot;They need to be an accountant, a little bit of scientist, a little bit of diplomat.&quot;</p><p>The Iran deal carries its own complications. For one, Iran has not always been forthright with the IAEA, says&nbsp;<a href="http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/2107/olli_heinonen.html">Olli Heinonen</a>, a former nuclear inspector now at Harvard University. Since the early 2000s, Iran has failed to disclose multiple facilities associated with its program.</p><p>And then there are the thorny global politics around the agreement. In the U.S. &quot;there are people in who don&#39;t trust the IAEA,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.miis.edu/academics/faculty/JLewis/node/23027">Jeffrey Lewis</a>, an expert in non-proliferation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. In Iran, &quot;They think the IAEA is biased against them,&quot; Lewis says.</p><p>Both sides may try to pressure the agency, or even individual inspectors.</p><p>Despite the challenges, both Lewis and Heinonen agree the IAEA is a capable overseer of the deal.</p><div id="res449221644" previewtitle="Los Alamos National Laboratory is home to weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, making it an ideal place to train the inspectors."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Los Alamos National Laboratory is home to weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, making it an ideal place to train the inspectors." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/16/lanl-ta66-13_custom-0ee22df076af723342683815aa0bd8f3d1cdf175-s900-c85.jpg" style="height: 389px; width: 620px;" title="Los Alamos National Laboratory is home to weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, making it an ideal place to train the inspectors. (Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;They have a good track record,&quot; says Lewis, who notes that the agency has caught deception in Iran in the past, as well illicit activity in places like North Korea and South Africa.</p></div></div></div><p>The IAEA has also missed some things in Iran in the past, Heinonen says. But the agency inspectors have shown a light on many hidden aspects of that nation&#39;s nuclear program, including&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/gov2011-65.pdf">possible work on nuclear weapons</a>.</p><p>Heinonen says the greatest risk is that Iran has hidden entire facilities. But in the modern era, he believes, it would be hard to get the equipment, expertise and nuclear material together without anyone noticing.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very difficult to build a nuclear program in isolation,&quot; he says.</p><p><strong>Final Exam</strong></p><p>There&#39;s no way to know whether the inspectors being trained on the day I visit will be sent to Iran. But what is clear is that the IAEA wants to be sure all of its inspectors are ready for anything.</p><p>For their final exam, the inspectors have been given a nuclear inventory from a fictional facility. Their task is to verify 12 unmarked items, and to see how much plutonium is inside each one. But in this exercise, just as can happen in the real world, not all is what it seems.</p><p>&quot;Several of the items, we&#39;ve lost the declaration for,&quot; says Santi, &quot;so they&#39;re completely unknown to the inspectors.&quot;</p><p>And have the instructors done anything else in the exercise to try to trip up the members of the class?</p><p>&quot;Yes,&quot; Santi says.</p><p>He won&#39;t say what tricks he&#39;s using to try and fool inspectors. But whatever it is, they will have to figure it out. And the IAEA&#39;s trainer David Lacey is confident they will.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;ll be fine,&quot; Lacey says. &quot;They&#39;ve had good teaching over the last two weeks. I can see now, looking around, that they&#39;re perfectly capable.&quot;</p></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/19/449031762/how-do-you-find-plutonium-go-to-nuclear-inspector-school?ft=nprml&amp;f=449031762" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 10:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-do-you-find-plutonium-go-nuclear-inspector-school-113395 Arne Duncan stepping down as Education Secretary http://www.wbez.org/news/arne-duncan-stepping-down-education-secretary-113150 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/arneduncan.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res445267634" previewtitle="Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a letter to his staff that he will step down to spend more time with his family, who live in Chicago."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a letter to his staff that he will step down to spend more time with his family, who live in Chicago." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/02/gettyimages-466823057_wide-d3d4d0eb6e973c429fe8f15eb6ec37e187dd645a-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 600px;" title="Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a letter to his staff that he will step down to spend more time with his family, who live in Chicago. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>&nbsp;</p></div></div><p><strong>Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Arne Duncan will step down as President Obama&#39;s education secretary in December, a White House official confirms to NPR.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Obama has selected Deputy Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan. King is a former New York State education commissioner. (President Obama is making a personnel announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET.)</p><p style="text-align: justify;">King is 40 years old, and the White House says that would make him one of the youngest Cabinet members in American history. (Julian Castro, the current secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is 41.)</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="Before John King Jr., Duncan's expected replacement, came to the Department of Education, he was the New York state education commissioner. He was the first African-American and first Puerto Rican to serve in that post." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/02/ap_441648178176-24379611df7ad75326f4e89b2a5f54d4fe6d68f7-s300-c85.jpg" style="float: right; height: 240px; width: 320px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Before John King Jr., Duncan's expected replacement, came to the Department of Education, he was the New York state education commissioner. He was the first African-American and first Puerto Rican to serve in that post. (Mike Groll/AP)" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Duncan has been there since the beginning of Obama&#39;s tenure and is one of only a few members remaining from Obama&#39;s original Cabinet.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">He&#39;s come under fire at times from the right and left because of various initiatives, including Race to the Top, the Common Core educational standards and an embrace of charter schools &mdash; something that has rankled teachers unions.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The irony of the controversies is that education was one area in which Republicans, early on in Obama&#39;s tenure, would say they agreed with him. They liked his reform agenda and Common Core originated with Republican governors like Louisiana&#39;s Bobby Jindal who have since backed away seeing an uproar from conservatives and even some teachers.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Duncan is moving back to Chicago, where he said, in a farewell letter to colleagues, that he has been splitting time. Duncan is the former head of Chicago schools.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In the letter, Duncan called the opportunity to serve as education secretary &quot;the greatest honor of my life.&quot; He endorsed King as his successor and included&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-king/education-the-difference_b_148855.html">this reflection</a>&nbsp;King wrote about his upbringing.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/02/445266796/arne-duncan-stepping-down-as-education-secretary" target="_blank"><em>via NPR&#39;s </em></a><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/02/445266796/arne-duncan-stepping-down-as-education-secretary" target="_blank">It&#39;s</a></em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/02/445266796/arne-duncan-stepping-down-as-education-secretary" target="_blank"><em> All Politics</em></a></p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/arne-duncan-stepping-down-education-secretary-113150 Global Activism: Educating girls in Kenya and Sengal http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-educating-girls-kenya-and-sengal-113160 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GA-WGEP_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b588d21-2976-7d00-8616-dfbc99afabe3">In Africa, the overwhelming majority of girls drop out of school after the 6th grade. Global Activist, Amy Maglio, was living in Senegal and decided she must do something to help more girls get into school and stay there. She created the Women&#39;s Global Education Project (<a href="http://www.womensglobal.org/">WGEP</a>) to support girls&rsquo; education in Senegal and Kenya. Maglio will update us on what WGEP has been doing lately to help girls in those countries escape extreme poverty, through education.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/226484831&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></span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://womensglobal.org/events/ndajee-2015-2/"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b588d21-29c9-bca6-697f-169383023063">EVENT: WGEP&rsquo;s Gala: &nbsp;NDAJEE 2015</span></a></strong></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b588d21-29c9-bca6-697f-169383023063">Monday October 5th, 2015, 6-9pm</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b588d21-29c9-bca6-697f-169383023063">NellcĂ´te Restaurant</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;">833 W Randolph Street, Chicago IL</p><p dir="ltr"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EiLEXpl44S4" width="640"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-educating-girls-kenya-and-sengal-113160 Charter schools looking to expand http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-29/charter-schools-looking-expand-113104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/charter schools Flickr Lucy Gray.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Charter schools in Chicago have been around for nearly two decades and while they continue to expand, some people are still strongly opposed to the education model.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools is holding public hearings Wednesday night about charter schools. Seven charters want to open a dozen new campuses across the city, including the Noble Network, which wants to build its 17th high school on the Southwest Side. Of all the proposals, it&rsquo;s this one from the Noble Network of Charters that has stirred up the most controversy.</p><p>Why is that and what does this mean moving forward? <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">WBEZ Education</a> Reporter Linda Lutton helps us sift through those questions.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-29/charter-schools-looking-expand-113104 Pre-K study shows early gains wear off http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-29/pre-k-study-shows-early-gains-wear-113102 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/prek.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="Pictured are children in a pre-kindergarten classroom in San Diego, California, on October 1, 2013. (Robert Benson/Getty Images for Knowledge Universe)" /></div><p>A&nbsp;<a href="https://my.vanderbilt.edu/tnprekevaluation/" target="_blank">new study</a>&nbsp;out of Vanderbilt University has some surprising findings: children from low-income families benefit significantly from Tennessee&rsquo;s pre-kindergarten programs at first, but those gains wear off by the end of third grade. Researchers also found that students who did not attend pre-K quickly caught up to the students who did attend pre-K.</p><p>The study raises questions about the efficacy of Tennessee&rsquo;s pre-K programs, which were widely expanded in 2005.&nbsp;Dale Farran, a professor at Vanderbilt and co-investigator of the study, discusses the findings with&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s Jeremy Hobson.</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/29/pre-k-study-tennessee" target="_blank"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 12:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-29/pre-k-study-shows-early-gains-wear-113102 Who are the 'gifted and talented' and what do they need? http://www.wbez.org/news/who-are-gifted-and-talented-and-what-do-they-need-113084 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/biggrowth.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 600px;" title="(LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><p>Ron Turiello&#39;s daughter, Grace, seemed unusually alert even as a newborn.</p><p>At 7 months or so, she showed an interest in categorizing objects: She&#39;d take a drawing of an elephant in a picture book, say, and match it to a stuffed elephant and a realistic plastic elephant.</p><p>At 5 or 6 years old, when snorkeling with her family in Hawaii, she identified a passing fish correctly as a Heller&#39;s barracuda, then added, &quot;Where are the rest? They usually travel in schools.&quot;</p><p>With a child so bright, some parents might assume that she&#39;d do great in any school setting, and pretty much leave it at that. But Turiello was convinced she needed a special environment, in part because of his own experience. He scored very high on IQ tests as a child, but almost dropped out of high school. He says he was bored, unmotivated, socially isolated.</p><p>&quot;I took a swing at the teacher in second grade because she was making fun of my vocabulary,&quot; he recalls. &quot;I would get bad grades because I never did my homework. I could have ended up a really well-read homeless person.&quot;</p><p>Turiello, now an attorney, and his wife, Margaret Caruso, helped found a private school in Sunnyvale, Calif., exclusively for the gifted. It&#39;s called Helios, and both of their children now attend the school, which uses project-based learning, groups children by ability not age, and creates an individualized learning plan for each student. For Turiello, the biggest benefits to Grace, now 11, and son Marcello, 7, are social and emotional. &quot;They don&#39;t have to pretend to be something they&#39;re not,&quot; says Turiello. &quot;If they can be among peers and be themselves, that can really change their lives.&quot;</p><p>Estimates vary, but many say there are around 3 million students in K-12 classrooms nationwide who could be considered academically gifted and talented. The education they get is the subject of a national debate about what our public schools owe to each child in the post-No Child Left Behind era.</p><p>When it comes to gifted children, there are three big questions: How to define them, how to identify them and how best to serve them.</p><p><strong>1. How do you define giftedness?</strong></p><p>One of the most popular definitions, dating to the early 1990s, is &quot;asynchronous development.&quot; That means, roughly, a student whose mental capacities develop ahead of chronological age. This concept matches the most popular tests of giftedness: IQ tests. Scores are indexed to age, with 100 as the average; a 6-year-old who gives answers characteristic of a 12-year-old would have an IQ of 200.</p><p>But there are problems with this framework. No 6-year-old is truly mentally identical to a 12-year-old. He or she may be brilliant at mathematics but lack background knowledge or impulse control.</p><p>In addition, IQ tests become less useful as children get older because there is less &quot;headroom&quot; on the test, especially for those who are already high scorers. &quot;It&#39;s like measuring a 6-foot person with a 5-foot ruler,&quot; says Linda Silverman, an educational psychologist and founder of the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development.</p><p>Recent intelligence research de-emphasizes IQ alone and focuses on social and emotional factors.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s research that these other things like motivation and grit can take you to the same exact academic outcomes as someone with a higher IQ but without those things,&quot; says Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist who studies intelligence and creativity at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of the book&nbsp;Ungifted. &quot;That&#39;s a really important finding that is just totally ignored. Our country has a narrow view of what counts as merit.&quot;</p><p>Of course, as the definitions get broader, the measurements get more subjective and thus, perhaps, less useful. Some centers for gifted children put out checklists of &quot;giftedness&quot; so broad that any proud parent would be hard-pressed not to recognize her child. Things like: &quot;Has a vivid imagination.&quot; &quot;Good sense of humor.&quot; &quot;Highly sensitive.&quot;</p><p><strong>1(a). How many students should be designated gifted?</strong></p><p>It can be useful for education policy purposes to think about giftedness as it relates to the rest of the special education spectrum. Silverman argues that just as children with IQ scores two full standard deviations below the norm need special classrooms and extra resources, those who score two standard deviations above the norm need the same. By her lights, the population we should be focusing on is the top 2.5 percent or 3 percent of achievers, not the top 5 or 10 percent.</p><p>Scott Peters disagrees. He&#39;s a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater who prepares teachers for gifted certifications. He says the question that every teacher and every school should be asking is, &quot;How will we serve the students who already know what I&#39;m covering today?&quot;</p><p>In a school where most children are in remediation, he argues, a child who is simply performing on grade level may need special attention.</p><p><strong>2. How do you identify gifted students?</strong></p><p>The most common answer nationwide is: First, by teacher and/or parent nomination. After that come tests.</p><p>Minority and free-reduced lunch students are extremely underrepresented in gifted programs nationwide. The problem starts with that first step. Less-educated or non-English-speaking parents may not be aware of gifted program opportunities. Pre-service teachers, says Peters, typically get one day of training on gifted students, which may not prepare them to recognize giftedness in its many forms.</p><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/09/22/these-kids-were-geniuses-they-were-just-too-poor-for-anyone-to-discover-them/">Research shows that screening every child</a>, rather than relying on nominations, produces far more equitable outcomes.</p><p>Tests have their problems, too, says Kaufman. IQ and other standardized tests produce results that can be skewed by background cultural knowledge, language learner status and racial and social privilege. Even nonverbal tasks like puzzles are influenced by class and cultural background.</p><p>Using a single test score cutoff as the criteria&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/key%20reports/ELEM%20school%20GT%20Survey%20Report.pdf">is common but</a>&nbsp;not considered best practice.</p><p>In addition, the majority of districts in the U.S. test children for these programs before the third grade. Experts worry that identifying children only at the outset of school can be a problem, because abilities change over time, and the practice favors students who have an enriched environment at home.</p><p>Experts prefer the use of multiple criteria and multiple opportunities. Portfolios or auditions, interviews or narrative profiles may be part of the process.</p><p><strong>3. How do you best serve gifted students?</strong></p><p>This is the biggest controversy in gifted education. Peters says many districts focus their resources on identifying gifted or advanced learners, while offering little or nothing to serve them.</p><p>&quot;There are cases where parents spend years advocating for students, kids get multiple rounds of testing, and at the end of the day they&#39;re provided with a little bit of differentiation or an hour of resource-room time in the course of a week,&quot; he says. &quot;That&#39;s not sufficient for a fourth-grader, say, who needs to take geometry.&quot;</p><p>While this emphasis on diagnosis over treatment might seem paradoxical, it&#39;s compliant with the law:</p><p>In most states the law governs the identification of gifted students. But only 27 percent of districts surveyed in 2013 report a state law about how to group these students, whether in a self-contained program, or pulled out into a resource room for a single subject or offered differentiation within a classroom. And almost no states have laws mandating anything about the curriculum for gifted students.</p><p>In addition to a need to move faster and delve deeper, students whose intellectual abilities or interests don&#39;t match those of their peers often have special social and emotional needs.</p><p>&quot;I believe that every single day in school a gifted child has the right to learn something new &mdash; not to help the teacher,&quot; Silverman says. &quot;And to be protected from bullying, teasing and abuse.&quot;</p><p>Helping gifted students may or may not take many more resources. But it does require a shift in mindset to the idea that &quot;every child deserves to be challenged,&quot; as Ron Turiello says.</p><p>That&#39;s why, paradoxically, many of the gifted education experts I interviewed didn&#39;t like the label &quot;gifted.&quot; &quot;In a perfect world, every student would have an IEP,&quot; says Kaufman.</p><p>As it happens, federal education policy is currently being reconfigured around some version of that idea.</p><p>&quot;The whole NCLB era, and really back to the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the 1960s, was about getting kids to grade level, to minimal proficiency,&quot; says Peters. &quot;There seems to be a change in belief now &mdash; That you need to show growth in every student.&quot;</p><p>That means, instead of just focusing on the 50 percent of kids who are below average, teachers should be responsible for the half who are above average, too. &quot;That&#39;s huge. It&#39;s hard to articulate how big of a sea change that is.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/28/443193523/who-are-the-gifted-and-talented-and-what-do-they-need?ft=nprml&amp;f=443193523" target="_blank"><em>via NPR Ed</em></a></p></p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/who-are-gifted-and-talented-and-what-do-they-need-113084 Educating India's disadvantaged children http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-21/educating-indias-disadvantaged-children-113015 <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/LIFT2.jpg" title="(Photo courtesy of LIFT Foundation)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224926609&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">&#39;Our Lift&#39; follows efforts to educate India&#39;s poor youth</span></font></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">LIFT-Foundation works with poor children in India, especially girls and those in lower castes, like the Dalits. They Provide education to orphaned children and the disabled, and work to prevent child marriage. Their work is the subject of a new documentary, &#39;Our Lift: From hardship to Hope&#39;. We talk with LIFT foudner, Fr. Jamels James and the film&#39;s creator, Kathleen Quinn. </span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><strong>Guests:</strong> </span></p><ul><li><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Fr. Jamels James is the founder of LIFT-Foundation. </span></li><li><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Kathleen Quinn is a filmmaker and founder of <a href="http://twitter.com/windingroadprod">Winding Road Productions</a>.&nbsp;</span></li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224927025&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">A view from Gaza</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Last July, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered. Their deaths led to a reprisal killing of a Palestinian teen . Events that followed those murders led to Israeli airstrikes and a ground incursion in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The 50-plus days of war between Israel and Hamas left more than 2000 Palestinians dead, at least 500 of whom were children, according to estimates by the U.N. and the IDF. Israel reported its casualties at 66 soldiers and 6 civilians - one being a Thai national. In the aftermath of the war journalist Max Blumenthal went to Gaza to gather testimonies about the conflict. He details his reporting in the book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Blumenthal joins us to tell us about what Gazans told him about their experience of the war.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal">Max Blumenthal </a>is a journalist. His latest book is author of The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza</em><br />&nbsp;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-21/educating-indias-disadvantaged-children-113015