education

States in the Mountain West could follow California’s lead in allowing student-athletes to seek sponsorships and other business deals while in college.

After hearing hours of emotional testimony from parents and students who don't think Colorado's schools are safe enough in the wake of deadly shootings, state lawmakers are now considering eight measures to address the issue.

And they will spend the weekend working on them to meet a Monday bill drafting deadline.

New Mexico has announced a plan to make public college and university free for all residents in the state, a proposal considered one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.

A new report from a government watchdog, first obtained by NPR, says an expanded effort by Congress to forgive the student loans of public servants is remarkably unforgiving.

Congress created the expansion program last year in response to a growing outcry. Thousands of borrowers — nurses, teachers and other public servants — complained that the requirements for the original program were so rigid and poorly communicated that lawmakers needed to step in. But, documents show, even this expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program isn't working.

This year, NPR held its first Student Podcast Challenge — a podcast contest for students in grades 5 through 12. As we listened to the almost 6,000 entries, we smiled, laughed, and even cried. Students opened their lives to us with stories about their families, their schools and communities and their hopes for the future.

When Gov. Jared Polis walked into the Stedman Elementary School auditorium behind a marching band on Tuesday afternoon, with dozens of supporters waving signs and cheering, the signing ceremony for the full-day kindergarten bill felt more like a pep rally.

“Today, we celebrate the fact that this fall, kids from across our state will be able to go to free fullday kindergarten,” Polis said to loud cheers before he signed the bill.

The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the Trump administration's Education Department is getting in the way of efforts to police the student loan industry. The revelation, in a letter obtained by NPR, comes at the same time that lawsuits allege that widespread wrongdoing by student loan companies is costing some borrowers thousands of dollars.

startupphotos / Creative Commons 2.0

Colorado just passed a bill that will create media literacy guidelines for schools. It joins Utah and a growing number of states tackling this issue.

Rebecca Blackwell / Associated Press

Colorado Senator - and former Denver Public Schools Superintendent - Michael Bennet is officially entering the race for president. He made the announcement Thursday on CBS This Morning.

It's no secret that wealth brings advantages when it comes to sending your kids to college. Rich and famous parents can donate large sums of money to schools or lean on their names and connections. Some ritzy colleges explicitly prefer the children and grandchildren of alumni — at Harvard University, an investigation found last year that these "legacy" admits were over five times more likely to get in than the average Joe.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Federal officials have charged dozens of well-heeled parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in what the Justice Department says was a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards. The parents allegedly paid a consultant who then fabricated academic and athletic credentials and arranged bribes to help get their children into prestigious universities.

woodley wonderworks / Creative Commons 2.0

Several Mountain West states are considering legislation that would change sex education in their schools and they are all taking very different approaches.

It’s a final four of sorts, but it has nothing to do with basketball.

Idaho and Wyoming are now among only four states that do not fund preschool, according to a new report from the Education Commission of the States.

 


Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

After a long night of bargaining, teachers in Denver who were on strike over wages and bonuses have reached a tentative agreement with school district officials to end their walkout. The strike began Monday, after 15 months of negotiations ended without a deal.

The teachers are expected to be back in most classes today.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

Seven Colorado Democrats advanced a comprehensive sexual education bill at the State Capitol on Wednesday, after a contentious hearing that ended just before midnight. The hearing included testimony from dozens of opponents and a flurry of attempted Republican amendments to the bill.

The legislation aims to expand sexual education curriculum at public schools to include such topics as consent, birth control and STD prevention.

Gov. Jared Polis wants to leverage Colorado's stronger than expected revenue projections to pay for full-day kindergarten next school year.

He's asking lawmakers to approve $227 million in the budget for the kindergarten classes.

Polis says the spending will allow 30,000 families to stop paying tuition.

The Top 5: A Look Back At Our Most Popular Stories Of 2018

Jan 1, 2019
Clockwise from top left: Georgina Owen/Colorado Department of Education; National Archives and Records Administration; Fortress Press; Jake Brownell/91.5 KRCC; Jake Brownell/91.5 KRCC

As 2019 gets underway, let’s take one last opportunity to revisit stories and interviews from 2018 that made a mark on you, our listeners and readers. 

Here are the top five local and regional stories that drew the most website traffic in 2018:

Georgina Owen / Colorado Department of Education

The United States has a grim history when it comes to our indigenous people, from the multiple massacres of native men, women and children to Indian boarding schools where native children were taken from their families and in many cases physically and sexually abused. For the most part, this history isn’t taught in our public schools; neither is indigenous culture. But that’s changing, and the Mountain West is on board.

Cathy Kipp was at a recent back-to-school night at Kruse Elementary School in Fort Collins. She was handing out flyers and printed information about Amendment 73.

"This is game changing," said Kipp, a member of the Poudre School District Board of Education. "This would be the best increase in public school funding that we've been able to get in decades in Colorado."

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado took his own life on the first week of school this year. The tragedy highlighted a pervasive problem in the state and in the Mountain West region as a whole -- the high suicide rate -- especially among youth. Goal Academy in Pueblo, Colorado is a charter program with high schools around the state that focuses on both academic and mental wellbeing.   

Teri Verbickis / Creative Commons 4.0

This month, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students. But not all nurses may be on board.

Shanna Lewis / 91.5 KRCC

All schools in Pueblo’s D60 School District were closed Monday as teachers took to the picket line. Some 16,000 students were missing classes, and many schools remain closed Tuesday.

Paul L. Dineen

Two Native Americans were pulled out of a college tour this week when a parent told campus police the young men were making her nervous.

A bi-partisan measure that would have updated and clarified how public and private colleges and universities address campus sexual assault failed in the Senate Appropriations Committee along party lines on Tuesday.  It had already passed in the Democratic-controlled House and cleared another Senate committee.

Thousands of Colorado teachers spent two days rallying at the state Capitol for higher salaries and more money for schools. They highlighted long-standing funding problems and potential changes to the state’s public employee pension program currently being debated by the legislature.

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland spoke with Brian Eason of The Associated Press and Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal about the rallies.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

At first glance, the scene probably looked familiar to many people in Phoenix: tens of thousands massing outside Chase Field on a bright Thursday afternoon in April, clad in red and rippling with anticipation. But that scene, if it were typical, would feature fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks — not the teachers who gathered near the baseball stadium with quite another event in mind.

At schools across the country today, students are getting up from their desks and walking out when the clock strikes 10 a.m. They're participating in the National School Walkout, part of the movement that has taken hold among students to call for action to end gun violence.

Today marks 19 years since the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in which two high school students shot and killed thirteen people.

April is a hard month for Paula Reed — even though it has been 19 years.

April 20 is the anniversary of the Columbine massacre. That day in 1999, two Littleton, Colo., high school students killed 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves.

Reed was a teacher at Columbine High School school that day, and still is today. This week, she spoke to NPR from the same classroom she was teaching in before everything happened.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Across the country students walked out of school Wednesday morning, including in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. In Colorado Springs, several hundred people surrounded Palmer High School for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

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