education

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It's a constant drumbeat at this point in history: read to your kids, read to your kids.  It makes a difference in the development of their languages skills and their brains. 

Is there a benchmark to hit?  Pediatric surgeon Dr. Dana Suskind says yes.  Thirty Million Words is the name of her initiative and the book she wrote on it. 

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Grants Pass voters rejected a bond issue for two new middle schools and other physical plant upgrades in the May primary on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, a bond issue that would have created new career and technical education (CTE) facilities in the Medford School District was losing in early returns.

Global Citizen Year

Erik Oline admits he knew next to nothing about Senegal when he graduated from Ashland High School a year ago. 

That changed quickly, as Erik moved to Senegal for his "gap year," signing up with Global Citizen Year

He recently returned from his eye-opening experience in Western Africa, where he learned much more than the name of the capital (Dakar). 

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If you've ever tried to manage a roomful of boys, you know how much of a challenge it can be. 

Janet Allison heartily agrees.  She realized from her first day teaching just how differently boys and girls move, live, and learn. 

So now she speaks and coaches about the best ways to educate boys, how best to work with their natural tendencies. 

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Oregon's education community may be all abuzz with talk of CTE, career and technical education, but that's not the biggest concern of students. 

A report by Oregon Student Voice found the greatest concern among students is mental health resources, nearly double the number who identified CTE as the top issue. 

OSV does what its name implies: works to get the voices of students heard in the formation of educational policy. 

USAID/Bryce Smedley

Education is not easy in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR).  BBC News calls it "the country where teachers have disappeared." 

Southern Oregon University professor Bryce Smedley recently returned from a trip to CAR to assess educational needs and help train teachers. 

And the work doesn't end now that he's home... Smedley gets his education students at SOU involved with the teachers-in-training back in Africa. 

UKDID/Wikimedia

Not all of us are quick learners.  We all  learn in different ways, through different senses. 

And when there's a real obstacle, we speak in terms of "learning disability." 

Redding occupational therapist and physical therapist Suzanne Cresswell prefers to focus on the presence of the word "ability" in the term.  She's spend three decades working with people with learning challenges, or as she prefers, "unique learners." 

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Baby boomers can well remember learning how to sew in home economics classes in high school. 

As society and education changed, skills like sewing got less emphasis and attention.  But sewing know-how is still in demand, as we learn from the co-directors of the Redding Fashion Alliance

Jan Kearns and Robin Fator are looking for some people who know how to sew, and interested in getting those skills taught again. 

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High school graduation rates are discouraging in Oregon.  Roughly one out of every four students will not get out of high school in four years with diploma in hand. 

The numbers show slight improvement from year to year (77% in numbers out last week), but not enough to get the state out of the bottom five. 

The legislature will likely discuss programs to improve the graduation rate in its upcoming session. 

The issue is very much on the radar of Colt Gill, newly named as the permanent Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

soairacademy.com

"Up in the air, junior birdmen..."  Older listeners might recognize the song, but we'll apply it to today's crop of young people interested in learning about aviation. 

Southern Oregon Air Academy responds to that interest by teaching students as young as elementary school about flying. 

SOAA just got a big chunk of money from the State of Oregon to expand its programs, based at the Grants Pass airport. 

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Public schools are struggling in California by several measures.  One of them is just in teaching children to read. 

The pro bono legal firm Public Counsel filed suit against the state in early December, on the grounds that students are denied access to literacy, which is required in the California Constitution. 

Is there a "right to read?" 

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The Supreme Court decision integrating schools, Brown vs Board of Education, was a lifetime ago, in 1954.  And yet our schools are almost as segregated now as they were then. 

And it is both racial and economic segregation, further widening gaps in our society. 

Noliwe Rooks examines the many factors, and finds the profit motive one of the larger culprits.  She explains in her book Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

U.S. Census Bureau

Before it was called "public TV," it was often called "educational TV," and Southern Oregon's PBS affiliate is putting a new focus on education. 

Southern Oregon Public TV, SOPTV, is joining the PBS Teacher Community program.  The program gives teachers in primarily rural districts, both new and older, a chance to sharpen skills. 

Ben Garcia is SOPTV's "Teacher Ambassador" and Larry Conley, a retired teacher, will speak at an upcoming teacher summit. 

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What do you remember most about college (the educational part)?  Large-room lectures where a professor talked and talked and you took notes?  Or smaller settings where teacher and students could really engage on subjects and issues? 

Either way, higher education is slow to change, despite its ever-spiraling costs. 

Cathy Davidson works in higher ed at the City University of New York, and she has plenty of ideas for changing the system in The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux.  The book is something of a tour of classrooms where teachers have thrown out old ideas about higher learning and are trying new approaches. 

Medford School District

Families moving from place to place for seasonal work can put a strain on their childrens' schooling. 

And the Medford School District addresses the issue with its Migrant Summer School program.  It allows students whose education has been disrupted to catch up on school work, especially their language skills. 

This summer's session serves a record number of students, around 320. 

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Oregon's tax system ensures that school budgets are relatively tight every year. 

Recessions make them worse. 

Several years ago, the Medford School District was forced to cut special education funding, essentially telling the department to do more with less.  It did. 

Outcomes have improved, by several measures. 

U.S. Army/Public Domain

Your child may know all the letters in the alphabet and reads aloud pretty well... but can't seem to tell you what the paragraph is about. 

This is where reading and comprehension come apart.  And it's what Gina Biancarosa studies in her research at the University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning

Dr. Biancarosa helps develop systems to assess reading comprehension in elementary school students. 

Michael Clapp/OPB

School's out for summer, but educators have a lot yet to talk about. 

The Oregon Education Association and its counterparts in other states sends members to the massive national Representative Assembly (RA), at the very time the Oregon Legislature is debating how much money it can spend on schools for the next two years. 

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It started with a pencil, but it became so much more. 

Adam Braun came face-to-face with a little boy in India who wanted a pencil.  It was really symbolic: what he really wanted was an education. 

So that incident led to the formation of a group that has now built hundreds of schools all over the world. 

Adam Braun told the story in The Promise of a Pencil and joined us on The Exchange to talk about it three years ago. 

Butte Falls School District

Some schools are just closer to nature than others. 

So it is with Butte Falls Charter School, nestled in the foothills of the Cascades.  Trees and mountains and streams are all close at hand, and part of the educational curriculum for the school. 

In fact, the school is now in charge of restoring a long-closed fish hatchery to help teach students. 

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