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Education

How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down

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LA Johnson/NPR

If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you’d be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation.

What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?

That’s the crux of a new paper out Monday, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, co-authored by Nobel laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development.

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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

Study Finds Students Of All Races Prefer Teachers Of Color

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“Do you speak English?”

When Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng walked into his summer school classroom for the first time as a brand-new teacher, a student greeted him with this question. Nothing in his training had prepared him to address race and identity. But he was game, answering the student lightly, “Yes, I do, but this is a math class, so you don’t have to worry about it.”

“Oh my gosh, was that racist?” he says the girl asked, and quickly checked her own assumption: “‘That’s exactly like when I go into a store and people follow me around because I’m black.'”

During the time that Cherng, who is of Chinese descent, taught in an 85 percent African-American middle school in San Francisco, he enjoyed a good rapport with his students, and he wondered what role his own identity played in that.

Now Cherng is a sociologist at New York University and he’s just published a paper with colleague Peter Halpin that addresses this question. It seems that students of all races — white, black, Latino, and Asian — have more positive perceptions of their black and Latino teachers than they do of their white teachers.

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Uncategorized

Why Busing Didn’t End School Segregation

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Oak Hill Middle School students say goodbye to METCO students heading back to Boston on the bus.

Kieran Kesner for NPR

America’s desegregation era is long gone, but one voluntary school busing program in Boston has persisted for nearly 50 years.

The program is known as METCO — the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity — and buses students of color from the city into more affluent, mostly white suburbs for school.

I know the program because I did it in the ’80s — traveling nearly an hour back and forth between home and school every day. I recently returned to Boston to check in on the program and traveled on that same route with Bryan Bailey, a 13-year-old who goes to school in Newton, Mass.

Bryan is one of nearly 3,300 students this year that participate in the state-funded, 18 million dollar program that pays out roughly 5,000 dollars per kid to the suburban towns that take part.

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Education

Half Of Professors In NPR Ed Survey Have Used ‘Trigger Warnings’

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This school year, the University of Chicago has put the debate over “trigger warnings” on campus back in the news. The University told incoming freshmen that, because of its commitment to freedom of expression, it does not support warnings to students about potentially difficult material.

But amid all the attention to trigger warnings, there have been very few facts about exactly how common they are and how they’re used.

NPR Ed sent out a survey last fall to faculty members at colleges and universities around the country. We focused specifically on the types of institutions most students attend — not the elite private universities most often linked to the “trigger warning” idea.

We received more than 800 responses, and this month as the issue once again made headlines we followed up with some of those professors.

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Education

Reimagining the Modern Classroom

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We asked prominent voices in education—from policy makers and teachers to activists and parents—to look beyond laws, politics, and funding and imagine a utopian system of learning. They went back to the drawing board—and the chalkboard—to build an educational Garden of Eden. We’re publishing their answers to one question each day this week. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Today’s assignment: The Space. Describe the perfect classroom.