High Plains Public Radio

education

ALAN GOMEZ/USA TODAY

Two University of Kansas professors recently completed a study on Garden City’s ever-changing demographics and the way educators in the southwest Kansas community teach a diverse population of students. As KU News Service reports, Jennifer Ng, associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, and Don Stull, professor emeritus of anthropology, recently spent five months in the community, where they interviewed educators and community leaders and observed the way schools teach...

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Ever since the George W. Bush administration, the nation’s schools have been governed by strict federal laws. Now High Plains educators are wondering what exactly Donald Trump’s election will mean for rural schools. No one’s sure exactly, though as Chalkbeat reports, leaders hoping for more control over public schools may get their wish. Trump didn’t say much about education during the election, but he did drop a few hints about his ideas. “Education has to be at a local level,” he has said,...

Rural Blog

In the first years of this century, the number of home-schooled children in America nearly doubled, according to a new report. From 1999 to 2012 the number of students schooled at home jumped from 850,000 to almost one-and-a-quarter million. As The Rural Blog reports, a disproportionate number of homeschoolers live in the countryside. Thirty-one percent of all home-schooled children live in rural areas, though less than 15 percent of the U.S. population is rural. Almost four percent of rural...

cfra.org

This month, nearly 21,000 students in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa celebrated National Farm-to School-Month by crunching into locally grown apples at school, reports The Center for Rural Affairs . The event was part of an effort to draw attention to Farm-to-School programs, in which school cafeterias serve food to students that is sourced from regional farms and ranches. At Prairie Hill Learning Center in Roca, Neb., students munched local apples from nearby...

James M. Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Last Friday Abe Hubert Elementary School in Garden City hosted its first Ag Day. A s reported in The Garden City Telegram , the event had several activities based around a common theme: agriculture. The idea behind Abe Hubert’s Ag Day is simple: Elementary school students in the High Plains region should be taught early about the importance of agriculture to their communities and their livelihoods. Denna Welch-Haney is a science teacher at Abe Hubert. She says students need to know that...

Wallethub

Job pressures, low pay and lack of mobility force many teachers to quit soon after they begin. With that in mind, the personal finance website Wallethub set out to find which states are doing a good job of treating teachers with the respect they deserve. Among states in the HPPR listening area, only Texas made the top ten, landing at number eight on the list. Nebraska also did well, appearing at number 13 among states. Colorado was in the top half, coming in at number 16. Despite recent...

KSN

A Ulysses, Kansas, teen has been carrying a pretty impressive load, reports KSN.com. Fourteen-year-old Braxton Moral has been maintaining his regular high school duties while attending Harvard University online. He’s on pace to graduate from both schools before he’s 18. Braxton was determined to be gifted in the first grade. By third grade, he found that school had ceased to challenge him. Julie Moral, Braxton’s mother, said he became very depressed. Because he was only nine years old, the...

Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

Texas is keeping tens of thousands of kids out of special education who might, in other states, be considered special ed students. That’s because, over a decade ago, Texas officials decided on a percentage of students that should get special education services. That number is 8.5 percent, and it is an arbitrary figure that doesn’t change according to how many students are actually in need. As a recent Houston Chronicle investigation found, Texas strictly monitors school districts to make sure...

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Students from sparsely populated areas can earn money toward undergraduate and graduate degrees, as reported in U.S. News & World Report. While a large portion of the nation’s population lives in underpopulated areas, many rural students may be unaware that there is aid available to them. One such initiative is the America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders Scholarship , sponsored by Monsanto. Applicants for this scholarship must live in one of 1,300 approved counties in 40 states. They also must...

Children seem to experience a singular wonder when you put them in a garden -- something beyond the splendor of the grass, the blush of a plump pear, and the inviting smells and creatures. They also tend to tune in to what that garden says about its curator. Today we'll take a walk through my garden, but please enter with a child's honest curiosity. As you survey the bean vines flanked with flowers, perhaps you'll see an unlikely shelter. I know I did. A garden is a collection of true joy, a...

Tom Fox / Dallas Morning News

Oklahoma’s teachers are increasingly deciding to make the move to Texas, reports The Dallas Morning-News . The teachers are being drawn away by better pay and a more appealing retirement system. For teachers from the two states, the differences are stark. Starting pay in most Oklahoma districts is just over $30,000. In several Dallas-area districts, the pay starts at over $50,000. Oklahoma is 48 th in the nation in the amount of money it spends per student. Texas is 27 th . That means Texas...

Topeka Capital-Journal

This week Kansas’s education commissioner lamented the state’s graduation rate. Commissioner Randy Watson said Kansas must work with students and families to improve high school graduation rates, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal . Eighty-six percent of high-schoolers in Kansas graduate on time. That means, as Watson put it, “Fourteen (percent) will have a difficult time making it to the middle class.” And that’s not acceptable, he said. The Kansas education department has a goal of reaching...

Gotog / Getty Images

Rural schools have had their share of struggles in recent years. Populations in the heartland are dwindling, and school funding often goes to more populous schools in large urban centers. However, as US News and World Report recently noted, the news isn’t all bad. According to a new report , rural education has progressed over the last decade. And those improvements will likely continue through the expansion of broadband internet and a recognition by government officials that rural schools...

Google Earth/Dallas Morning News

The tiny Central Texas town of Sidney neglected to hold school board elections for a decade. Instead, board members kept extending their own terms, reports The Dallas Morning News . Most taxpayers in Comanche County didn't even notice the lack of elections. Then came an anonymous complaint to the State Auditor's office “about a school district that forgot democracy.” Investigators discovered that once trustees had been appointed to the school board, they stayed as long as they liked. So, now...

Free State High School in Lawrence, Kan., a public school. Kansas has for years been the stage for a messy school funding fight that has shaken the Legislature and reached the State Supreme Court. Credit Mike Yoder / AP photo Edit | Remove Among conservatives in Kansas, a new term has arisen for public schools over the past few years. Far-right Republicans in the state have begun referring to these institutions as “government schools,” reports The New York Times . The new term rose to...

kansas.com

A Kansas school has found a new approach to education that teachers say is resulting in more concentration among the kids, reports The Wichita Eagle . In fact, student behavior has improved and the overall atmosphere at the school has changed. What’s the secret? A program called Morning Mindfulness. It’s a half-hour of play therapy, yoga, coloring, crafts and other activities designed to calm children and help them focus before study begins. Greiffenstein/Wells Alternative School is a...

Aaron Jacobs / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a brave new world, and the old public school curriculum of Reading, Writing, and ’rithmetic is being added to and evolved in fascinating ways every year. According to Quartz.com , new research shows that teaching kids how to control their emotions by training them in skills like perseverance can improve their health, academic achievement and overall happiness. In the past, these sorts of subjects were considered hands off because they opened the door to moralizing by teachers. But as...

Wichita Eagle

There’s a new statewide push in Kansas to help students explore potential career paths earlier, reports The Wichita Eagle . A newly developed program includes internships, job shadowing and other real-world experiences as part of students’ coursework. These extracurricular activities emphasize individual plans of study that can help prepare students for the real world. The program is part of a nationwide trend by schools to look for ways to get students first-hand looks inside potential careers.

Chris Neal / AP photo

A new Kansas bill has teachers up in arms, r eports The Wichita Eagle . Educators say the potential law is an attack on public schools. SB 311 would give the governor more direct control over school finance. Public education finance is currently overseen by the state Board of Education and the state’s commissioner of education. Sen. Ty Masterson, the committee chair, said he was not sure who wrote the bill, which was introduced anonymously. Sen. Laura Kelly, the ranking Democrat on the...

Shutterstock

Educators in Amarillo agree that recess is important for childhood development. What they don’t see eye to eye on is how much time should be devoted to unstructured play at school, reports Amarillo.com. That disagreement means that recess frequency and duration varies at schools across the city. Play times range from 15 minutes in Amarillo Independent School District to 30 minutes for every grade level at Highland Park Elementary School. Texas requires elementary students to participate in...

Tulsa World

A rural school district in Oklahoma has posted some signs on its campus that are drawing attention, according to The Rural Blog . The fours signs read: “Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.” The town of Okay, Oklahoma, has 500 K-12 students, and is located about 50 miles east of Tulsa. Okay’s school signs come in the wake of an Oklahoma bill signed into law last May. The Special...

Shutterstock

When it comes to supporting public schools, all 50 states are doing a bad job, according to a new study. A report card was issued this week by the Network for Public Education, says The Washington Post . Some states fared better than others, though no state scored above a C grade. Among High Plains states, Texas performed the most dismally, receiving an F grade. Only Mississippi scored more poorly on the report card than Texas. Oklahoma and Colorado didn’t do much better. Both states received...

Chris Neal / AP photo

Two years later, Kansas lawmakers are still debating a controversial sex ed poster, reports The Kansas City Star . The poster was titled “How do people express their sexual feelings?” and included such terms as “oral sex,” “anal sex” and “vaginal intercourse.” The poster was informational and contained no images. Yet Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would make it easier to prosecute teachers for materials considered harmful to minors. “This [poster]...

Wikimedia Commons

Another year brings another attempt to get evolution out of the classroom in Oklahoma, reports Slate ’s education blog . State Sen. Josh Brecheen has been working tirelessly to promote creationism. Every year since his election in 2010, Brecheen has authored legislation aimed at skirting nearly three decades of court decisions that prohibit teaching creationism in public schools. Brecheen’s anti-evolution bills have repeatedly died before becoming law. So now he has taken to adopting more...

USDA

Rural High Plains students have a higher chance of graduating these days, reports The Rural Blog . That’s according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2015 Rural America at a Glance report. The number of rural adults with a four-year college degree has increased by 4 percent since 2000. And the number of rural residents without a high school diploma or GED has decreased by nine percent in the same period. However, the report found that things were much harder for minority...

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

On Christmas Eve the Colorado Department of Education announced that the state would switch its mandatory standardized high school test from the ACT to the SAT, reports Channel 9 News Denver. The ACT had been given to Colorado students since 2001. Some parents and educators weren’t pleased with the timing of the announcement. The day before Christmas is not the time to make an announcement like this," said one critic, adding: "The majority of people have no idea this even happened." The...

Spanking Still a Common Practice in Many US States

Dec 29, 2015
Kathy WIllens / AP photo

A new report by The Atlantic details the still-widespread use of corporal punishment in public schools across the country. Education groups, activists, and parents—including those victimized by the practice—are demanding that corporal punishment be outlawed in schools. The groups insist outlawing the practice will protect children’s physical and emotional health. Corporal punishment is still legal in 19 states, mainly in the South, Southwest, and Midwest. This states include Texas, Oklahoma,...

Merriam-Webster Reveals This Year's Most Looked-Up Word

Dec 24, 2015
Simon Robertson / Flickr Creative Commons

Every year Merriam-Webster releases their most-looked-up word for the year. This year’s winner? “Socialism.” The dictionary associates the word’s popularity with the rise of dark horse Democratic political candidate Bernie Sander, a self-described “democratic socialist.” The word sparked “intense” curiosity this year, reports The Guardian, with an increase in look-ups of almost 170% compared to last year. However, the word has been near the top of the look-up list for the past several years,...

Leslie Corbly / KGOU

Oklahoma’s home schooling laws are some of the loosest in the nation, reports member station KGOU. And as a result, some former home schoolers are having trouble acclimating to society as adults. One Oklahoma cosmetology student said she was having trouble adjusting to the classroom environment, adding “suddenly having all those parameters, it was kind of difficult.” The state does not have a system in place to verify the quality of home education. The parents of many Oklahoma home schoolers...

Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

The Texas State Board of Education has rejected the option of creating an expert panel to identify errors in textbooks. Several weeks ago a Houston mother sparked a nationwide uproar over a caption in her son’s textbook that described African slaves as “workers.” The new proposal would have created oversight to prevent inaccurate information from being printed in textbooks. But that the 15-member panel narrowly voted down the measure, reports The Texas Tribune . The panel’s conservative...

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