Education

Tommy Rock has had three graduations — high school, college and graduate school. And no one from his family was there — no one to cheer for him, no one to take his picture. And when he came home to Monument Valley, few really cared.

"I didn't get no congratulations or nothing," Rock said. "It was like 'Oh you think you're better than us?' I was like, 'Wow, OK.' "

For the more than 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday's mass shooting was terrifying and life-changing. But what of the tens of millions of other children, in schools across the country, who have since heard about what happened and now struggle with their own feelings of fear, confusion and uncertainty?

It's been a difficult week for schools in this edition of our weekly roundup.

School shooting in Parkland, Fla.

While Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was on lockdown, with an active shooter in the building, students were on their phones.

Jason Rieve

Every day, scientists around the world are engaged in a wide variety of research projects that could help answer the many questions surrounding HIV.

On this edition of UWM Today, we meet Trudy Turner, a professor of anthropology at UWM’s College of Letters and Science, who has spent decades studying African monkeys carrying a type of virus that is a close relative to HIV. But unlike humans - monkeys don’t get sick from their virus.  

Could anyone have stopped this? That's one of the biggest questions for schools and educators as the nation takes in the facts of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., that has left 17 dead and 23 injured.

When Dustin Gordon's high school invited juniors and seniors to meet with recruiters from colleges and universities, a handful of students showed up.

A few were serious about the prospect of continuing their educations, he said, "But I think some of them went just to get out of class."

In his sparsely settled community in the agricultural countryside of southern Iowa, "there's just no motivation for people to go" to college, says Gordon, who's now a senior at the University of Iowa.

For much of the past half-century, children, adolescents and young adults in the U.S. have been saying they feel as though their lives are increasingly out of their control. At the same time, rates of anxiety and depression have risen steadily.

What's the fix? Feeling in control of your own destiny. Let's call it "agency."

"Agency may be the one most important factor in human happiness and well-being."

Editor's note: This post refers frequently to the use of a racial slur.

Professor Emeritus Lawrence Rosen opened his course last week with a question. The anthropologist, who has spent four decades teaching at Princeton University, was introducing a class called Cultural Freedoms: Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography — and his question was meant to shock.

College is expensive. It’s elitist. Enrollments are shrinking, along with state budgets for higher education.

These are just a few of the arguments against college these days. Added together, they beg the question: does the U.S. need public universities?

A free day at the aquarium! For Marcey Morse, a mother of two, it sounded pretty good.

It was the fall of 2016, and Morse had received an email offering tickets, along with a warning about her children's education.

At that time, Morse's two kids were enrolled in an online, or "virtual," school called the Georgia Cyber Academy, run by a company called K12 Inc. About 275,000 students around the country attend these online public charter schools, run by for-profit companies, at taxpayers' expense.

Do transgender boys or girls have the right to use the restroom at school that corresponds with their gender identity? The U.S. Education Department said Monday that it won't hear complaints about or take action on this question.

Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation's schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child's brain.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It has been a year since Betsy DeVos was sworn in as education secretary, and this month marks the first anniversary of our weekly education news roundup!

Let's pause to mark those moments ... and then get on to this week's headlines.

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