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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

Race, School Ratings And Real Estate: A ‘Legal Gray Area’

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With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn’t let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there’s a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

It’s well known in the real estate industry that highly rated schools translate into higher housing values. Several studies confirm this and even put a dollar figure on it: an average premium of $50 a square foot, in a 2013 national study.

In Chappaqua, N.Y., an affluent bedroom community for New York City, the town supervisor recently went so far as to declare that, “The schools are our biggest industry — whether you have kids in the school or not, that’s what maintains our property values.”

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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

How NYC’s First Puerto Rican Librarian Brought Spanish To The Shelves

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Pura Belpré became the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library in 1921. She’s shown above leading a story hour in the 1930s.

New York Public Library

11:00 a.m. is bilingual story hour at the Aguilar branch of the New York Public Library. Dozens of kids — mostly children of immigrants from China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico — have settled down to hear Perez y Martina, a story based on a Puerto Rican folktale.

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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.