Education

After another round of holidays, it's safe to assume, a lot of children have been diving into media more than usual. They may have received new electronic toys and gadgets or downloaded new apps and games. Managing all that bleeping and buzzing activity causes anxiety in many parents. Here's a roundup of some of the latest research, combined with some of our previous reporting, to help guide your decision-making around family screen use.

1. Globally, tech brings young people opportunity as well as risk

On the NPR Ed Team, I am what you might call the grizzled veteran. I've seen education trends come and go and come again. And go again.

You get the idea.

In years past, around December, my teammates would often pause by my desk and ask: "What do you think we'll be covering next year?"

I've always found this a fun thought exercise, and, at some point, my editor suggested I jot down my answers and share them beyond our cubicles. And so, here are a few predictions for 2018.

Reporters and researchers are just starting to comb through the huge, rushed-to-passage tax package to figure out the implications.

One of the changes, according to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, which advocates for a "fair and sustainable" tax system, allows far more wealthy donors in 10 states to turn a profit through "donations" to private school scholarships.

AND THE REST/FLICKR / CC BY-SA 2.0

When Moore Public Schools Superintendent Robert Romines asked some of his high school students what the district could do better, they told him they needed more help with mental health.

“I was a bit shocked,” Romines says.

More and more of Oklahoma’s teenagers are dealing with mental illness, and the increase has caught a few school administrators off guard.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group led by a long-time energy industry leader wants Oklahoma voters to approve an increase in taxes on oil and gas production to help fund public education.

Currently, taxes on oil and gas production are discounted for the first three years making the effective tax rate somewhere around 3.2 percent. Mickey Thompson with Restore Oklahoma Now on Wednesday filed the paperwork for State Question 795 to increase that rate to 7 percent across-the-board.

It's inevitable. Each year, teachers dip into their own pockets to buy things like notebooks, tissues and pencils for their students.

This inevitability is even enshrined in the tax code, which gives educators a $250 deduction for their trouble. Late last week, in hammering out their big tax overhaul, Republicans decided to preserve that deduction. So we thought we would ask teachers how much of their own money they spend each year.

The answer: more than $250.

Graduate students nationwide can breathe a sigh of relief: Their tuition waivers won't be taxed after all.

A provision in the Republican House tax plan had originally proposed taxing grad students' tuition waivers as income. It was a controversial proposal and sent a wave of anxiety across campuses, leading to protests at dozens of universities.

The plots of dystopian novels can be amazing. A group of teens in Holland, Mich., tells me about some of their favorites:

In Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Love is considered a disease. Characters get a vaccine for it. In Marissa Meyer's Renegades, the collapse of society has left only a small group of humans with extraordinary abilities. They work to establish justice and peace in their new world.

So far the reaction has been swift and strong to our investigation into Ballou High School in Washington D.C., where we shed light on chronic absenteeism and a pressure teachers say they felt to pass failing students and get them to graduation.

In 2013, Las Cruces High School in New Mexico created a training video to teach students how to perform a "lockdown" drill.

In the video, the teacher turns off the lights, locks the door, and places a black strip of paper over the door's window. The students close the blinds and huddle on the floor, away from the windows and the door.

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