Education

The wildfires in Northern California cut across a wide swath of the state — including dozens of school districts, hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of students. At one point, classes were canceled for 260,000 students in 600 schools.

And while schools are slowly coming back on line, there remain many that may not resume classes for days or even weeks.

Our weekly roundup of education news and happenings may make you uncomfortable, but please don't ban our inconvenient truths.

A Mississippi district bans To Kill A Mockingbird

"I'll be famous one day, but for now I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." That's harsh language from the downtrodden sixth-grade narrator of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, a blockbuster series of graphic novels.

But it speaks to a broader truth.

Typically, when law enforcement pursues a suspect who has failed to turn himself in on several outstanding warrants, it takes the dedicated effort of officers and some tips from the community to finally bring the person in.

It's fair to say what happened in Redford Township, Mich., this month was not typical: A suspect turned himself in after making — and losing — a pretty inadvisable bet with police ... involving doughnuts.

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Jason Rieve

When students head off to college it can be the start of the most exhilarating and challenging times of their lives. Among those challenges is finding a way to pay for it all.

While most students do a pretty good job figuring out the finances, there are still those surprises, like a car that breaks down or an unexpected medical bill, that can throw any financial plan off track.

Is Free Speech In A 'State Of Emergency'?

Oct 19, 2017

White nationalist Richard Spencer plans to speak at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Thursday. In response, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency.

It's not your imagination: Tiny tots are spending dramatically more time with tiny screens.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, just released new numbers on media use by children 8 and under. The nationally representative parent survey found that 98 percent of homes with children now have a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.

In his new novel Origin, Dan Brown (most famous for The Da Vinci Code), describes his protagonist Robert Langdon's approach to the conundrum of students' devotion to personal tech devices in the classroom.

Langdon is, Brown writes, "one of several Harvard professors who now used portable cell-jamming technology to render their lecture halls 'dead zones' and keep students off their devices during class."

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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At Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, students aren't kids or boys.

In the classrooms and cafeteria, they're kings.

That's just one of the many things that stand out in this new boys-only, public school in Washington, D.C. The school opened in August 2016 to a class of roughly 100 young men. All are freshmen. All are students of color. All are determined to change the narrative.

Your child doesn't want to go to school. It's a daily struggle that many parents are familiar with.

But what if your child refuses to go to school?

Mental health professionals and educators say what used to be considered run-of-the-mill truancy could actually be something else. Some cases of chronic absenteeism are now being called "school refusal," which is triggered by anxiety, depression, family crises and other traumatic events. It can lead to weeks or even months of missed school days.

It's not exactly how Deilanis Santana planned to spend her 13th birthday: waking up before dawn, packing up her life – and heading to Connecticut to live with her grandma.

But here she is at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, three weeks after Hurricane Maria, waiting anxiously like many other Puerto Ricans for flights to destinations like Miami, Philadelphia, and other cities. The gates are crowded with children — Deilanis among them — leaving their homes, and sometimes their families, to live in the U.S. mainland and go to school.

Not that long ago, the high school in Pittsfield, N.H., had some of the lowest standardized tests scores in the state and was known as a dropout factory.

But over the past six years, the school district has overhauled its approach to education. Now in most classes, grades aren't used to measure progress.

And that is a relief to Jenny Wellington, an English teacher at Pittsfield High School, who says grades never really told her whether her students were actually learning.

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