Education

Jorge Cham / phdcomics.com

A great irony to Jorge Cham's cartooning is that it is all produced and distributed digitally, yet it is seen by many in the most old school of ways - printed out and taped to doors, walls, and desks.

Sergey Nivens / Fotolia

Smartphones are everywhere in our lives today. It often takes an extraordinary set of circumstances for us not to be connected in multiple ways with the wider world, whether we're checking our email on an airplane or surfing the web before shutting off the light and going to sleep.

Photo courtesy of Mount Mary University

Students and faculty are back on campus at Mount Mary University on Milwaukee’s northwest side. The all-women’s Catholic university has nearly 1,400 students, among them, many students from diverse backgrounds and financially disadvantaged situations.

The school just received a $2.6 million federal grant that aims to make sure some of those students can finish their course of study.

Part One in an NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

You might call it a silent epidemic.

Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.

So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.

Rachel Morello

The first day of school is just around the corner, and for Milwaukee students who are homeless, that can mean a return of some stability after the summer break.

Staff is hard at work this week identifying the kids who don’t have an address, and making sure they have transportation, meals and school supplies -- all things the district can help with, and that will hopefully keep them in school.

For Cathy Klein, "back-to-school" preparations are all about her “list.”

Jason Stitt / Footolia

Schools will be back in session in just about a month, and for high school students of a certain age, major tests like the SAT and ACT are not far behind.

Some teens may have spent part of their summer already prepping for these tests, which colleges use as one barometer of a student's potential for success. Others start their studying as school begins, while a few have already been studying for years.

Why can't kids today just work their way through college the way earlier generations did?

The answer to that question isn't psychology. It's math. A summer job just doesn't have the purchasing power it used to, especially when you compare it with the cost of college.

"Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?"

When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a "Just because." You can explain: "Red is for stop and green is for go." Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement.

Something's wrong in America's classrooms.

According to new data from the Education Department, black students — from kindergarten through high school — are 3.8 times more likely to be suspended than white students.

Now the really bad news.

This trend begins in preschool, where black children are already 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white students.

A lot of what's going on today in Marna Wolak's fifth-grade math class is pretty familiar. She's got her students gathered on the rug for a number talk, something she does often, trying to get them thinking about fractions.

But a lot of it is unfamiliar, too. The topic is new — dividing whole numbers by fractions. Also, today there are five more adults in the room, including two other teachers from Sanchez Elementary School here in San Francisco.

courtesy Paul Tough

Education writer Paul Tough attracted a lot of attention for his 2012 book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. In that book, Tough traveled around the country and visited children from a variety of demographic backgrounds, and in a variety of life circumstances to learn the commonalities that led to success.

What made Mozart great? Or Bobby Fischer? Or Serena Williams?

The answer sits somewhere on the scales of human achievement. On one side: natural talent. On the other: hard work. Many would argue that success hangs in some delicate balance between them. But not Anders Ericsson.

Rachel Morello

Many things happening on Milwaukee’s education scene are ripe for debate – school vouchers, testing and budgets, to name a few.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Public Schools

Each year, the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee rewards teachers and administrators from the area for their accomplishments. This year’s top honoree as Teacher of the Year is Benjamin Zabor, who is director of band and orchestra at MPS' Rufus King International High School.

Rachel Morello

It's National Teacher Appreciation Week, which has us thinking about some of the standout educators from our own school days. 

We asked our staff, and some of you, "Who was your favorite teacher, and why?" The answers prompted smiles, good memories and fun remembrances of classrooms past. 

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