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After 50 Years, Head Start Struggles With Uneven Quality

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LA Johnson/NPR

For more than 50 years, Head Start has provided free early childhood education and other services to low-income families. But new national research, out Wednesday, shows great variation from state to state in how well the program works.

The study comes from the National Institute for Early Education Research, and it examined Head Start programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

It focused on quality and ranked states accordingly. Kentucky and Vermont came out the best, while 18 states ranked very poorly: Arizona, Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Education

What Former Employees Say ITT Tech Did To Scam Its Students

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Chelsea Beck/NPR

When he first moved to Miami, Waltter Teruel says, working as a recruiter for ITT Technical Institute was a welcome change from his life in New York where he had been selling antiques and life insurance.

As a recruiter, Teruel says, ITT Tech took care of the pitch to potential students for you. Recruiters used scripts set out in detailed PowerPoint presentations and got long lists of prospective students to call. But soon the welcome change faded. “Most of these students, they were looking for a job,” not more school, says Teruel.

When ITT Technical Institute closed, employees began to share tightly designed sales tools, like those PowerPoints, that offered a glimpse into the strategy that helped the company grow to more than 130 campuses across the country.

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Education

How To Teach A Sea Lion Who’s Fussy About Grammar

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When it comes to sentence structure, Rocky, a sea lion, was a stickler.

“It really mattered to her, what’s going to be the direct and indirect object,” says Kathy Streeter, an animal trainer.

For Sierra, it isn’t the grammar that interests her. It’s the vocalizations. This California sea lion loves experimenting with her vocal range, and she hates being interrupted.

More than 1 million people visit the New England Aquarium in Boston each year. Before walking through the front door, they watch Atlantic harbor seals play. Inside, visitors watch sea lions cruise around the open-air pool.

What these visitors may not know is that the aquarium’s 10 seals and two sea lions go to school each day; Streeter is one of their teachers.

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Education

Schools Hustle To Reach Kids Who Move With The Harvest, Not The School Year

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Teacher Sarah Ross and students (from left to right) Ximena, age 4, Yareli, age 3, and Kendra, age 2 at the Indiana Migrant Preschool Center, a free preschool for migrant children ages 2 to 5. The school teaches students in English and Spanish with the goal of preparing migrant children for kindergarten, wherever it may be.

Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

If you’re carving a jack-o-lantern tonight, take a minute to think about who picked that pumpkin.

Maybe it was Anayeli Camacho, one of the country’s estimated 3 million migrant farm workers, and mother of two. For part of the year she rents a trailer on farmland in Oaktown, Indiana where she works in the fields, harvesting pumpkins and other crops.

But as the fall harvest comes to a close, she and her family will head back down south for the winter, following seasonal work. This is what Camacho has done for the last decade, traveling north and south, from Florida to Indiana, bringing her family, which now includes 4-year-old Ximena, along with her.

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Education

‘Early School Leavers’ Face Dismal Social And Economic Prospects

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People stand in line to register for a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. A new study shows a growing number of young people in developed countries are giving up on work, school and training.

Lynne Sladky/AP

Add to the list of worrisome economic trends what economists call “NEETs” — young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training.

Their numbers are growing, now 40 million in the 35 member countries of the OECD — the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. And two-thirds of them are not actively looking for work.

The figures come from the biennial OECD report, Society at a Glance 2016.

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Education

As Feds Crack Down On For-Profit College, A Founder Heads To Prison For Fraud

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Fanatic Studio/Getty Images

A federal judge’s ruling in Florida has brought a new development in the various government investigations of the for-profit college industry: prison time for the school’s founder.

Alejandro Amor, the founder of a college called FastTrain in South Florida, was sentenced last week to eight years in federal prison for fraud.

Court papers say FastTrain, which closed down in 2012, engaged in deceptive advertising and pressure tactics, such as hiring former strippers to recruit for the school. Investigators found that the company forged signatures, enrolling people who were not qualified for college and more than 1,000 students who hadn’t even finished high school. The school had collected some $35 million in student loans and federal financial aid. The judge’s ruling concluded that millions of dollars of that money had effectively been stolen.

Amor’s lawyer had argued that rogue employees were responsible for the fraud. Three former employees had earlier been convicted.

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