Education

Last October, Goats and Soda began a series called #15Girls. The stories explored the lives of 15-year-olds who sought to take control and change their fate — despite daunting obstacles.

It's been a year, and we wanted to check back with the girls we profiled and see how their lives have changed. We weren't able to reach them all, but we did find out how five of the teens are faring in 2016.

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle school is tough. Bodies change. Hormones rage. Algebra becomes a reality. But there are things schools can do to make life easier for students — like this big study we wrote about showing that K-8 schools my be better for kids than traditional middle schools.

But aside from re-configuring an entire school system, are there other ways to make the sixth-grade experience better?

Latinos are by far the fastest growing chunk ofthe U.S. school population. A new report by the National Council of La Raza gives a fascinating snapshot of this fast-growing population.

Here are some highlights:

Demographics

  • Over the last 15 years, Latino enrollment has significantly outpaced that of whites and African-Americans.
  • Latinos under the age of 18 now total 18.2 million, a 47 percent jump since 2000.
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This week, we've been looking at the legacy of the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, aimed at ending segregation in public schools. And next, we're turning to John King, the U.S. secretary of education.

"Do you speak English?"

When Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng walked into his summer school classroom for the first time as a brand-new teacher, a student greeted him with this question. Nothing in his training had prepared him to address race and identity. But he was game, answering the student lightly, "Yes, I do, but this is a math class, so you don't have to worry about it."

"Oh my gosh, was that racist?" he says the girl asked, and quickly checked her own assumption: "'That's exactly like when I go into a store and people follow me around because I'm black.'"

In professor Jerome Hunt's American politics class last month at the University of the District of Columbia, there were many questions: Could whoever wins the election serve a second term, given Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's low favorability numbers? What will the Republican Party look like years from now, after the Trump phenomenon has its full effect? What will happen to the Supreme Court?

Add to the list of worrisome economic trends what economists call "NEETs" — young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training.

Their numbers are growing, now 40 million in the 35 member countries of the OECD — the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. And two-thirds of them are not actively looking for work.

The figures come from the biennial OECD report, Society at a Glance 2016.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

America's desegregation era is long gone, but one voluntary school busing program in Boston has persisted for nearly 50 years.

The program is known as METCO — the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity — and buses students of color from the city into more affluent, mostly white suburbs for school.

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Helaine Hickson

The cost of college remains a serious issue for students, parents, campus administrators and legislators as the UW System considers what it could face in the next biennial budget.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone discusses what he says is the common misconception that the high cost of college is primarily due to administrative bloat. Also, UWM Professor Anne Basting is named a MacArthur Fellow for her groundbreaking work with older adults.

With just a month left until November 8, it’s almost impossible to avoid news about the U.S. presidential race. But middle schoolers on Milwaukee’s south side are focusing on their own campaigns in the race for student council.

It’s a Monday, after school. Twenty kids running for St. Anthony’s student council are gathered in a classroom to work on their campaigns.

Some are clacking away on laptops preparing speeches, others have gathered art supplies and big sheets of white paper to make campaign posters.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's been more than 60 years since the Supreme Court's landmark case Brown v. Board of Education ruled racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional — a watershed moment for the modern civil rights movement in America.

Yet 2016 began with one of the nation's top educators — the secretary of education — declaring that the job of desegregating the nation's public schools is far from over:

"There are communities around this country that have schools that are more segregated today than they were 10 years or 20 years ago," John B. King Jr. said in January.

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