Education

New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It's the fruit of a three-year labor campaign.

I can remember the weeks before starting school at Skidmore College, furiously trying to finish Gregory Howard Williams' memoir, Life on the Color Line. The book had been assigned as our freshman reading assignment — part of the First-Year Experience at the liberal arts school in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Four years later, Williams spoke at our graduation.

Both houses of Congress have now passed versions of the bill that would update the largest federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, for the first time since 2001. They are big, meaty and complicated, and now they have to be reconciled into one messy Dagwood sandwich of a bill to go to the president.

After nine African-Americans were gunned down in their Charleston church last month, the South Carolina legislature voted to take down the Confederate flag that had flown at the statehouse for decades.

Journalist Christopher Dickey, whose own family demonstrates the complicated history of the Civil War, has written a new book (excerpt below) that looks at slavery through the eyes of a British agent who served in South Carolina before and during the war.

If this isn't an honest-to-goodness crystal ball, it's close.

Neurobiologist Nina Kraus believes she and her team at Northwestern University have found a way — a half-hour test — to predict kids' literacy skill long before they're old enough to begin reading.

When I first read the study in the journal PLOS Biology, two words came to mind: science fiction.

Contractors discovered chalk drawings and lessons on blackboards in Emerson High School, dating to 1917.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Updated July 21, 7:40 a.m.: The Oklahoma City Public School Board voted without discussion during its board meeting to temporarily cover up the century-old chalkboards at Emerson Alternative School so renovations at the site can continue.

The drawings from 1917 were discovered last month, and school officials want to find a way to preserve them. The cover-up approved Tuesday night is expected to cost about $26,000.

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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

It's official. More than 13 years after President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, it's now ... well, still law. But, as of Thursday, it is one big step closer to retirement.

The U.S. Senate voted 81-17 in favor of a bipartisan overhaul called the Every Child Achieves Act. The move comes just days after House Republicans voted on a rival plan, one that cleared the House without a single Democratic vote. The two bills must now be reconciled before anything makes its way to the president. Obama has already threatened the House bill with a veto.

Ruhy Patel, 17, lives in Doylestown, Pa. When she was 15 she was planning to run for student council office. "All the other people running were boys," she says, "and people were like, 'Well, you're not going to win.' You feel intimidated because you're the only girl in the room. It makes you question if you'd be OK in the field of politics."

Did she drop out? No.

Did she win? "I did!"

"I feel like it kind of makes you want to try harder when people say no," says Patel.

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