Education

First, a story:

Late one night, a man searches for something in a parking lot. On his hands and knees, he crawls around a bright circle of light created by a streetlamp overhead.

A woman passes, stops, takes in the scene.

"What are you looking for? Can I help?"

"My car keys. Any chance you've seen them?"

"You dropped them right around here?"

"Oh, no. I dropped them way over there," he says, gesturing vaguely to some faraway spot on the other side of the lot.

"Then why are you looking here?"

The man pauses to consider the question.

The hurdles Native American teenagers face in and out of school are daunting. College Horizons, a small organization based in New Mexico, has proven they're not insurmountable.

Every year, the group sponsors week-long retreats on college campuses for teenagers from some of the more than 500 federally-recognized tribes in the U.S.

One of those retreats was at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where 85 students gathered along with dozens of admissions officers from some of the nation's most selective universities.

ok.gov/sde/superintendent

The Department of Education released statewide student assessment scores at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting and the results show an overall upward trend of improvement. But a slight one. 

Overall, Oklahoma students are performing better at reading than they are in math. On average, 70 percent of third through eighth-grade students are proficient in reading, and 65 percent of students are scoring proficient in math.

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

Oh, middle school. The land of pantsing. Mean girls who won't let you sit with them in the cafeteria. And, these days, cryptic taunts posted on social media, where parents and teachers can't always see them.

The good news: There's an uptick in the hiring of new teachers since the pink-slip frenzy in the wake of the Great Recession.

The bad news: The new hiring hasn't made up for the teacher shortfall. Attrition is high, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs has fallen some 35 percent over the past five years — a decrease of nearly 240,000 teachers in all.

Parts of most every state in America face troubling teacher shortages: the most frequent shortage areas are math, science, bilingual education and special education.

This story is part of our NPR Ed series on mental health and schools.

When it comes to children's brains, Rahil Briggs describes them as ... sticky.

"Whatever we throw, [it] sticks. That's why they can learn Spanish in six months when it takes us six years," says the New York City based child psychologist, "but also why if they're exposed to community violence, or domestic violence, it really sticks."

The fall semester has just begun on most college campuses, but tens of thousands of students in 38 states were told today that, instead, their college is closing its doors.

Part One in an NPR Ed series on mental health in schools.

You might call it a silent epidemic.

Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.

So in a school classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with: depression, anxiety, substance abuse.

Oklahoma City Public Schools

At the Oklahoma City Public School Board meeting on Monday night, the president of the teacher’s union, Ed Allen, called for one board member to step down, at least momentarily.

Allen believes board member Gloria Torres could have been involved in enrollment fraud at the Oklahoma City Community College, where she is the director of Community Outreach and Education.

According to The Oklahoman, two OCCC employees for Torres’s department were suspended with pay on August 11.

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