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Education

"I thought this just happened to me."

That's the refrain from dozens of teachers who reached out to NPR — via email and social media — in response to our investigative story about serious problems with a federal grant program that, they say, have left them unfairly saddled with thousands of dollars of debts they shouldn't have to pay.

We're crazy in love with all the education news — from Coachella to new findings on screen time.

Beyoncé brings HBCU pride to Coachella performance

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Meeting your college roommate used to be one of the anxieties of the first week of school. But these days, many freshmen meet in advance online and arrange to room together.

Now, some schools have decided to bring back largely random pairings in the interest of broadening their students' horizons. Duke University announced their change earlier this year.

At schools across the country today, students are getting up from their desks and walking out when the clock strikes 10 a.m. They're participating in the National School Walkout, part of the movement that has taken hold among students to call for action to end gun violence.

Today marks 19 years since the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in which two high school students shot and killed thirteen people.

Teachers have staged protests in recent weeks in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. Some are fighting lawmakers who want to scale back their pensions.

It's no secret that many states have badly underfunded their teacher pension plans for decades and now find themselves drowning in debt. But this pensions fight is also complicated by one little-known fact:

The American Federation of Teachers said Thursday that it is cutting its financial ties with Wells Fargo as a result of the banking giant's relationships with the National Rifle Association and gunmakers.

The AFT, a 1.7 million-member national union, is dropping the bank as a recommended mortgage lender, to which it currently channels more than 20,000 AFT mortgages.

Teachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona's first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.

The Arizona Education Association and the grass-roots group the Arizona Educators United announced that teachers will walk off the job April 26.

Oklahoma State Department of Education

The education advocacy that fueled the teacher walkout also led to a surge of candidates filing for office, including a few surprises in the race for state superintendent.

Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of instruction, drew four opponents.

Hofmeister, 53, will face two Republican challengers in the June primary: Linda Murphy, of Edmond, and Will Farrell, of Tulsa. Murphy, 66, is a public policy consultant who twice ran against Sandy Garrett for state superintendent. Farrell, 32, is a student at Oklahoma State University and a legal assistant at a Tulsa law firm.

When Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore, heard that 17 high school students and educators had been killed in a shooting in Parkland, Fla., she says she felt numb.

To her, and so many others, mass shootings can feel all too common in the U.S.

"In the time I've been in high school we've had the Pulse, Las Vegas and now, [the Parkland] shooting," Murdock says.

College access and affordability: It's a common topic in higher education — because college is the one place that can really be a catapult when it comes to moving up the economic ladder.

And yet, research has shown that low-income students make up just 3 percent of the students that attend America's most selective colleges.

More than 2 out of 3 college students today are not coming straight out of high school. Half are financially independent from their parents, and 1 in 4 are parents themselves.

David Scobey says that, as an American studies and history professor at the University of Michigan for decades, he was "clueless" about the needs of these adult students.

But then, in 2010, he became a dean at The New School, a private college in New York City, heading a division that included a bachelor's degree program designed specifically for adults and transfer students.

Since its premiere in 1969, Sesame Street has been at the forefront of socially conscious children’s television. The show was inclusive by design and unafraid to tackle difficult subjects. It’s since grown into a global empire with local productions in more than 20 countries, and it hasn’t lost its conscience.

Copyright 2018 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit Wyoming Public Radio.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Activists Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms have noticed that as the world changes, the idea of power is shifting. They argue that the forces behind this shift are either “wildly romanticized or dangerously underestimated.”

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is apologizing for saying a teachers' strike left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to sexual assault and drug use.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now a story about the struggle of American Muslims against discrimination. NPR's Leila Fadel concludes her series on a new generation of American Muslims with this report on a family in Northern California.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is having a no good, miserable day.

Teachers' union leaders in Oklahoma have ended a nine-day, statewide strike after winning salary raises but seeing a lack of legislative action otherwise.

Two months ago today, a shooter killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

After the tragedy, threats to schools across the country rose.

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