Education

For College Students With Kids, Getting Cheap Child Care Is A Challenge

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Student parent.

Ever heard that term? It’s used for a student who is also a parent, and there are nearly 5 million of them in colleges around the country. That’s over a quarter of the undergraduate population, and that number has gone up by around a million since 2011.

It can be really, really expensive to be a student parent, especially if you need to pay for child care while you’re in class.

In some states, child care for an infant can cost as much as $17,062 a year, according to a report by Child Care Aware of America. Add that on to the ever-rising cost of college tuition — both private and public — and the financial strain of getting a college education becomes a huge burden for low-income parents. So much so that only a third of student parents get a degree within six years, often citing mounting debt as a reason for dropping out.

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Education

Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named

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Megan Lordos, a middle school teacher, says she was not allowed to use the word “dyslexia.”

She’s not alone. Parents and teachers across the country have raised concerns about some schools hesitating, or completely refusing, to say the word.

As the most common learning disability in the U.S., dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the population. That means millions of school children around the country struggle with it.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools are required to provide special services to help these students — things like reading tutors and books on tape. But those special services can be expensive, and many schools don’t have the resources to provide these accommodations.

That has led some parents and advocates to worry that some schools are making a careful calculation: If they don’t acknowledge the issue — or don’t use the word “dyslexia” — then they are not obligated to provide services.

Last year, when Lordos was teaching English at a public school in Arlington, Va., she recalls a parent-teacher meeting in the conference room. Things started smoothly.

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Education

Does Your State Provide Good Data On Your Schools? Probably Not

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Stuart Kinlough/Getty Images

So you’re trying to find some information about the schools in your community. Did students perform well on tests? How many students in a school are from low-income families? What’s the demographic breakdown? Most folks would start to look for this by searching the web. But, depending on the state you live in, finding that information can be a real challenge.

That’s according to a new report from the Data Quality Campaign. Analysts there spent 100 hours last summer looking at annual report cards put out by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

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Education

Raising A Child With Dyslexia: 3 Things Parents Can Do

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LA Johnson/NPR

A mother, who spent years coaching and encouraging her dyslexic son, recalls his childhood with one pervasive feeling: “It was really scary.”One father told me his home life was ruined. Trying to do homework with his struggling daughter, he says, felt like “a nightmare every night.” Optimism and determination would inevitably descend into tears and anxiety. The culprit: dyslexia.

Yet another mom — whose son and daughter both have dyslexia — suggests changing the definition of dyslexia: “It’s no longer a reading problem. It’s a life crisis.”

As the most common learning disability, dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the U.S. population. Its reach extends far beyond the classroom, causing stress, tension and confusion for families with a dyslexic child.

But experts and parents say there are three key things that can help.

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Education

6 Potential Brain Benefits Of Bilingual Education

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Chelsea Beck/NPR

Part of our ongoing series exploring how the U.S. can educate the nearly 5 million students who are learning English.

Brains, brains, brains. One thing we’ve learned at NPR Ed is that people are fascinated by brain research. And yet it can be hard to point to places where our education system is really making use of the latest neuroscience findings.

But there is one happy nexus where research is meeting practice: bilingual education. “In the last 20 years or so, there’s been a virtual explosion of research on bilingualism,” says Judith Kroll, a professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Again and again, researchers have found, “bilingualism is an experience that shapes our brain for a lifetime,” in the words of Gigi Luk, an associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

At the same time, one of the hottest trends in public schooling is what’s often called dual-language or two-way immersion programs.

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Education

How Science Is Rewiring The Dyslexic Brain

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dyslexia-brain-science_custom-58450f536025893566554175fb17634ce5aa7496-s800-c85Our ancient ancestors were able to speak long before they were able to read or write. That history is etched in our brains.

The human brain naturally picks up spoken language. Not so for reading.

“You can think of the reading brain as moonlighting,” says Guinevere Eden, director of Georgetown University’s Center for the Study of Learning. “Your brain will essentially take other brain areas — that were designed to do something else — and use [them] toward reading.”

 

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