Education

What's happening with Louisiana's schools, colleges, universities, and ongoing education reform.

What happens when a teacher wants to assign an extra book for class, but the school can't afford a copy for every student?

For Dana Vanderford, an English teacher at L.W. Higgins High School in New Orleans, the book was Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. Buying enough copies for her class would have cost more than $800. Not an option.

"I get $80 a year to buy resources for my classroom," Vanderford says. "And I have 90 students per semester. So that $80 doesn't go very far."

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about the Common Core.

What makes a great teacher great? That's the question at the heart of 50 Great Teachers, from the NPR Ed Team.

Sarah Hagan has a passion for math, and the pi-shaped pendant to prove it.

The 25-year-old teaches at Drumright High School in Drumright, Okla. The faded oil town is easy to miss. Fewer than 3,000 people live there, and the highway humps right around it.

Read part one of our reporting on the FAFSA, "Shrink The FAFSA? Good Luck With That"

It's deadline time for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Better known as the FAFSA.

The daunting application — with its 108 questions — stands between many college hopefuls and much-needed financial aid.

This is the canary in the coal mine.

Several big states have seen alarming drops in enrollment at teacher training programs. The numbers are grim among some of the nation's largest producers of new teachers: In California, enrollment is down 53 percent over the past five years. It's down sharply in New York and Texas as well.

In North Carolina, enrollment is down nearly 20 percent in three years.

Schools don't like to use the V-word anymore — "vocational," as in "vocational education." Administrators say the word is outdated, along with the idea of offering job-training courses only to students who are going straight into the workforce.

Nashville, Tenn., is trying a new approach. The public school system there is encouraging every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate.

William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." And that's never more true than when people start arguing over how American history should be taught in school.

The current fight involves the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam. Nearly half a million high school students took the test last year, hoping to earn college credit.

Chris Reynolds will never forget his first day at the University of Michigan. He and his dad got up superearly and drove nine and a half hours from Sellersville, a blue-collar factory town in Pennsylvania, to Ann Arbor.

"My father literally just dropped me off and then left," Reynolds says.

His dad couldn't afford a hotel, so they took about an hour to unpack the car, said their goodbyes, and his dad drove off.

Chris Reynolds was officially on his own.

Our "Tools of the Trade" series is taking a look at some of the iconic objects that form a vital part of our educational lives. For an upcoming piece, I'm reporting on how young children learn through that most basic of preschool education tools: simple wooden blocks.

A new series of conversations about what to do with the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools has begun.

“Beyond Bricks EBR” got started in response to an effort to restructure the parish school district and allow individual schools to be more autonomous. Anna Fogle got drawn in to the search for other solutions as the head of a group representing parents of children in the Gifted and Talented Program, which was threatened by the restructuring plan.

But the conversations are much broader than just Gifted and Talented.

Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade with the Interfaith Federation, is helping to get churches and faith leaders involved.

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