Education

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Trump administration policies toward refugees and immigrants, as well as a recent racially-charged shooting in Kansas, have some international students thinking twice about enrolling in American colleges and universities.

In early December, Joann Lee and her family were crossing the street in front of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A white van was stopped at the light. Out of nowhere, Lee says, the driver of the van, a white woman, said to Lee's 7-year-old daughter, "You are the most disgusting girl in the whole world. Your family killed my family so you could enjoy a day at the museum."

It was another big week for national education news. Here's our take on the top stories of the week.

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump meet with HBCU leaders

The Education Secretary seems to be racking up controversies at the rate of about one per week.

It was in 2012 that Barry Eggers, a venture capitalist, noticed that his two high school-aged children were getting obsessed with a curious new app called Snapchat. After a little investigation, Eggers persuaded his company, Lightspeed Venture Partners, to become one of the first to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fledgling app.

Before Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court ...

Before Toni Morrison became a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Nobel laureate ...

Before Kamala Harris was elected to the United States Senate ...

Let's start with Sunday night, because, how could we not? You already know about the Moonlight cock-up (leave it to the British to give us a perfect word for what that was), but did you know this: although Moonlight's Mahershala Ali was described as the first Muslim to win an Academy Award, Pakistan isn't having it. Apparently, the sect to which Ali belongs is outlawed in Pakistan. The Atlantic broke it down for us.

Eric Greitens had barely been Missouri's governor for a week when he faced a pretty tough decision: cutting the Show Me State's budget.

Helaine Hickson

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone says that Governor Walker's proposed state budget is a good first step to re-investing in the University of Wisconsin System and UWM. Also, how changes in Washington may affect UWM and recent concerns over the viability of the Innovation campus.

In Kansas, the state's public school finance system "is not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the minimum constitutional standards of adequacy," the Kansas Supreme Court says.

The court ruled Thursday in a a much-watched case about state obligations to provide public education that was originally filed by four school districts — including Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools — back in 2010.

With the decision, the court also gave state lawmakers time to devise a new school financing system, setting a deadline of June 30.

My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I'm about to use up my monthly data. Somebody — I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? --sends me a text alert when it's going to rain a whole lot.

A few clever researchers said: "Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don't turn in their homework?" And what do you know, it worked.

Does everyone really need a college education?

For more than a century, Wisconsin has held up the basic idea that every student should have the chance to earn a college degree and that a public university system bolsters growth and investment throughout the state.

But now there's a growing debate on whether the cost of a diploma is really worth it.

Students and families are taking on enormous debt with no guarantee of a well-paying job. Some ask whether technical or online learning might be the smarter choice.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In his speech last night, President Trump asked Congress to pass a broad school choice initiative.

"I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. ...

"These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them."

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

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