It's testing time in Illinois today. Hundreds of thousands of students began taking state tests in math and science but some students, parents, even teachers are refusing. At dozens of schools in Chicago, they're staging a boycott, saying the tests don't matter. As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, it's part of a growing national debate over measuring student performance.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Boycott the ISAT. Let things be. Boycott the ISAT.
Now we'd like to talk about a popular form of entertainment - video games. And you may fall into one of two camps here - love them or at least you understand why people can spend hours playing them, or hate them and you associate them with mindless violence, sexism and or just a waste of time. Well, if you're in the hate or don't-understand-them category, you might not be familiar with Minecraft. But it's one of the most popular games out there right now. It has more than 100 million registered users.
Angela Barba was the first in her immediate family to graduate from high school. And when the time came for her son Robert to follow in her footsteps, she says, she found herself overwhelmed.
"I had no idea how I was going to get him into college," she says.
Angela, who had completed a two-year degree herself, says she wanted her son to be the first in the family to complete a four-year program. But she couldn't really offer any advice or guidance as to what schools to attend or how to apply for scholarships.
Don Graham is best known as the former owner of The Washington Post. His family ran the paper for 80 years until he sold it to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last summer. Since then, Graham has been focusing on a long time passion, helping underprivileged students pay for college.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
A few years ago, Graham identified one group in particular that needs help with tuition, students who are brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally, undocumented immigrants. They do not have access to federal assistance.
The idea of a gap here, postponing the start of college, has become a bit more common in the U.S. and a handful of colleges and universities are now actually encouraging accepted students to take a year break before starting classes. While the experience is still out of reach for most students, more schools are expected to support and even help pay for gap years.