Give A Donation, Ask For Naming Rights

Nov 3, 2015

Back in July, Joan Weill, the wife of Citigroup billionaire Sandy Weill, announced that they would donate $20 million to a small, cash-strapped school called Paul Smith's College in New York's Adirondack Mountains with one big string attached: She insisted that the school would have to be renamed in her honor, to be known forever as Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College.

"I got a lot of wonderful letters that were sent to me personally by alums and students and of course members of the faculty and the board, understanding why this was happening," Weill says.

Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.

As one of the biggest, most successful tech companies, Google can hire pretty much anyone it wants.

Accordingly, the company tends to favor Ph.D.s from Stanford and MIT. But, it has just partnered with a for-profit company called General Assembly to offer a series of short, noncredit courses for people who want to learn how to build applications for Android, Google's mobile platform. Short, as in just 12 weeks from novice to employable.

From El Salvador to Lebanon to Nepal, NPR has been exploring the lives of 15-year-old girls around the world. But what's it like to be 15 in the U.S.? To find out, NPR's Michel Martin spoke with three sophomore girls at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.

Our Tools of the Trade series is exploring some of the icons of schools and education.

My editor, Steve Drummond, isn't that old of a guy. He's from Michigan — Wayne Memorial High School, class of '79.

But when he starts talking about backpacks, he dips into a "back in my day" tone that makes you think of a creaky rocking chair and suspenders: "You know, Lee, when I was in school, no one had a backpack!

Jolene Ivey, Farajii Muhammad, and Ordale Allen join the Barbershop to discuss the video of the South Carolina student being disciplined by a deputy, Black Lives Matter interrupting a Clinton rally and news that processed meats are carcinogenic.

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Less than two years after being named Alabama's Teacher of the Year, Ann Marie Corgill resigned her post this week, citing her frustration with bureaucracy. After Corgill was moved from teaching second grade to fifth, she was told she wasn't qualified to teach fifth-graders.

In January, Corgill was named one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award. She is a 21-year teaching veteran whose story — and candid resignation letter — has made waves in the education community and beyond.

This week's viral videos of a Columbia, S.C., deputy's push-the-chair-over-and-drag-the-student arrest of a 16-year-old high school girl in her classroom has refocused attention on the expanding role of police in schools, "zero tolerance" discipline policies and the disproportionate punishment of minorities.

The world of children's lit has always traded in grisly topics — children's literature scholar Jerry Griswold deems "scariness" one of the five elemental themes of the genre.