Pilot Project
6:53 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Student Teachers Buckle Down

Joanne Johnson/flickr

A pilot program to beef up Iowa teacher preparation is underway.

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8:00 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Pets as Gifts: Wonderful Option or Bad Idea?

Cats for adoption at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center
Julie Englander Iowa Public Radio

Local animal shelters and rescues are filled with unwanted pets, and for a long time vets and shelters discouraged people from giving animals as gifts. 

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3:17 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Low-income Kids' Education Gets $1.1 Million Boost

Drake University will receive more than $1.1 million to fund Early Head Start programming in Des Moines.
Bart & Co

Education for low-income children in Des Moines is receiving more than $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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2:48 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Harkin Proposes Federal Funding for Higher Ed

Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus.
Credit michelec317

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says he wants states that increase funding to higher education to receive matching federal grants.

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8:05 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Regents Freeze Tuition Again

Iowa Board of Regent President Bruce Rastetter.
Credit Amy Mayer

The Iowa Board of Regents is freezing tuition for in-state undergraduate students for the third year in a row.

Regents President Bruce Rastetter says it’s the first time in state history resident tuition has remained the same over this long a period.

Rastetter deflects concerns the freeze will mean much higher tuition in the future.

“The critical component to avoid that is the universities becoming more efficient, which they are, and then legislative state support,” he says.

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4:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Drake After Business School Accredition Loss

College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University
Credit Amanda Horvath

In April, Drake University’s business school gave up its accreditation before it could be taken away. How are they doing this semester without accreditation?

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3:41 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Surprise Support for Tuition Freeze

Campanile on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on an overcast fall day.
Mike Hiatt

Several members on Iowa’s Board of Regents spoke in favor of freezing tuition for the third year in a row during today’s meeting in Iowa City. 

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Talk of Iowa
4:36 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Slowly but Surely: Bridging the Gender Divide in Engineering

book cover

Early in the 20th century when women started to move into engineering careers, they were labeled as “invaders.”

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2:51 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Consultants Offer Board of Regents More Cost-Saving Suggestions

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter says saving money is critical for keeping tuition from increasing.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The Iowa Board of Regents has several new proposals to consider in its effort to save money across the three state university campuses.

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12:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

A Refugee Connects with Students in Marshalltown

Aiddy Phomvisay at Marshalltown High School
Credit Rob Dillard

The marching band’s drum-line sets the tone for the first day of classes at Marshalltown High School.

Sixteen-hundred students fill the football-field bleachers as the school’s principal – Aiddy Phomvisay  – grabs a mike.

“If I could have your attention for less than five minutes," he announced. "I know that’s amazing that Mr. Phomvisay is only going to take five minutes to address the student body.”

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2:11 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

ISU's Annual Veishea Celebration Is No More

At a press conference in the Memorial Union, Iowa State president Steven Leath announced that Veishea is over for good.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Iowa State University will no longer have a campus-wide, student-run celebration each spring. ISU President Steven Leath spent months meeting with a task force considering the future of Veishea.

"I’m announcing today that Veishea is ended," he said at a press conference Thursday, "and the name Veishea is retired."

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7:30 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Schools Adapt to Rapidly Diversifying State

Meredith Middle School students learn about the planets in Jillea Bueso's classroom.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

At Meredith Middle School on Des Moines’ northwest side there are more than 30 ways students say hello. The number of languages can change week to week. This school year the Des Moines school district will receive more than 6 million dollars from federal and state funds for ELL services, and will also spend more than a million dollars of its own money. Next year the district plans to have more than 6,000 ELL students.

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Student Debit Card Probe
8:47 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Feds Probe Student Banking Offers

Photo by Kelli Cree

The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington  is looking into a  banking  service  that’s growing in popularity on college campuses.    Universities  team up with large banks to offer debit cards to students.     

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6:16 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Classroom Creatures

A Pacman frog is a favorite classroom visitor
IPR's Pat Blank

A Wartburg College professor hopes to bring biology classrooms back to life. Michael Bechtel says students should be studying living creatures not ones that are dead and floating in formaldehyde. He's been growing a collection of snakes, frogs, tortoises and others for about 19 years. He's sharing them in his college classroom and beyond.

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6:58 am
Wed September 25, 2013

State Education Report Finds Some Iowa Schools Falling Short

Credit Iowa Department of Education

As the Iowa Department of Education releases its annual State Report Card, officials say they should be graded differently.

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7:27 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Enrollment Up, Overall, for Iowa's State University System

Credit Iowa State University Facebook page

Iowa State University is reporting more students on campus this fall than ever before.  The University of Northern Iowa has more students than expected. And the University of Iowa reports its fall enrollment held steady.

Reporting to the State Board of Regents meeting in Cedar Falls, Iowa State President Steven Leath said ISU’s enrollment of 33, 241 students is 7 percent more than last year’

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5:30 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Big Ideas Group ties innovation, community in Cedar Rapids

Student McKenna Cole stands with poplar trees used in her experiment to treat wastewater.
Shawn Cornally Iowa BIG

A small group of teachers in Cedar Rapids is trying a new way to inspire students to learn, by getting them out of the classroom and working on projects with community mentors. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the Big Ideas Group is wrapping up a summer pilot program, and will become an option for students across the district this Fall.

To get an idea of how this works, take 12th grader McKenna Cole, who—at a weekly meeting, explains to her fellow students why she’s working with a wastewater treatment plant to test how poplar trees can filter water.

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12:00 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Odd jobs, student loans, and the Class of 2013

Credit JR Erspamer / Flikr

Days before Commencement at the University of Iowa, the music school’s Brass Quintet practices an old favorite.

From graduation ceremony to graduation ceremony, the tune never changes. But what is changing, is how graduates are mapping their careers afterward. Tuba player and PhD candidate Blaine Cunningham explains.

“Being a musician, sometimes we need to be creative with our jobs. I play with an orchestra, I teach at a couple colleges, I’m a freelance musician so I play a lot of gigs in the community, I teach private lessons,” he says.

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8:43 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Iowa Experiments with Online Education

Christine Larson and her son, Isaac, are part of an online education experiment in Iowa called the Virtual Academy

Iowa is nearing the end of the first year of a three-year experiment with the Iowa Virtual Academy.

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12:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Iowa's Experiment with On-Line Education

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

Iowa is nearing the end of the first year of a three-year experiment with the Iowa Virtual Academy.

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5:44 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Diversity in Iowa Schools: It's a Small World After All

Students in Miss Lana's ESL class.
Sandhya Dirks

We've been hearing about some of the challenges with diversity in the Iowa City School District. There are other districts in Iowa with diversity policies, some of them much smaller. Two and a half hours from Iowa City is the town of Postville.  

Postville made national news five years ago when the federal government raided the town's Hasidic owned meat packing plant and hundreds of undocumented workers were arrested.

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6:54 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Diversity in Iowa Schools: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Parents crowd the room to discuss Iowa City's new diversity policy. There was a notable lack of minority faces in the room-- Henry Harper says he came in order to represent and report back to many in the African American community.
Credit Sandhya Dirks

Yesterday we heard how the public outcry over the Iowa City School District Diversity policy continues to fuel a bitter debate in Iowa City. Like much of Iowa, Iowa City is facing a changing population and with that has comes a widening achievement gap. In the second part of a series about diversity in Iowa schools, reporter Sandhya Dirks takes a closer look at balancing school integration with divided neighborhoods and a new influx of residents. 

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2:46 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Diversity In Iowa Schools: The Elephant in the Room

Lunchtime at Mark Twain Elementary in Iowa City. Twain has the highest percentage of children on free and reduced lunch in the district.
Credit Sandhya Dirks

Demographics in Iowa are changing and perhaps no where is this fact more visible than in the classroom. In the first of a three part series about diversity in Iowa schools, Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks takes a look at the public outcry over a diversity policy in the Iowa City School District. It’s a policy that is exposing deep racial and cultural divides in a part of the state that prides itself on acceptance. 

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2:32 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

In Wake of Shootings, Iowa Schools Put Safety Plans in Place

Two portable classrooms sit outside Studebaker Elementary School in southeast Des Moines, readied to be sold. The Des Moines Public School District is getting rid of its portables because students had to walk between buildings regularly.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

As President Obama’s gun control proposals make their slow way through Congress, Iowa, and every state in the nation, is asking the same question. How do we protect our children from gun violence? Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters talked to some of the voices in this debate and visited a school in Des Moines.

At Studebaker elementary school in southeast Des Moines, students practice a fire drill.  They exit the building in single file.

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5:47 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Ruud named to lead UNI

William Ruud, the new President of UNI
Credit IPR's Dean Borg

The State Board of Regents today announced the selection of William N. Ruud (ROOD), as the 10th president of the University of Northern Iowa. Ruud currently serves as president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Ruud will assume the duties of UNI president on June 1 and will be paid an annual salary of $340,000. The date for an official welcoming on the UNI campus will be announced later.  Ruud was one of two finalists for the job. The other was Indiana University-Purdue University Chancellor Emeritus Michael Wartell.

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Teacher Evaluations
11:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Teacher Evaluations Under Fire

Whether student performance should be considered  when teachers are evaluated has once again become a divisive issue at the statehouse.    The Department of Education proposes scrapping Iowa’s current teacher evaluation standards, and writing new ones to satisfy the federal government.   Otherwise, they say, Iowa will remain under the demanding requirements of federal education law.

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8:10 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Watching out for Bald Eagles

The splendor of watching our national symbol soar over Iowa skies is more noticeable than in the past. The Bald Eagle is making a comeback from years of being on the endangered species list. But, although the threat of the poisonous insecticide DDT, which thinned the bird’s eggshells, is banned there are other perils. Karen Disbrow is president of the Iowa City Bird Club. The Club is taking part in Saturday, February 9th Eagle Expo in Coralville, which features speakers and exhibitors at the Brown Deer Golf Club and eagle viewing at the Coralville Dam spillway.

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8:01 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Branstad's Education Proposals Get an Early Hearing

Gov. Branstad speaks to a state bullying summit in November. His education reform bill does not address school bullying.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Governor Branstad’s education reform proposal received high praise from those that helped inform its creation at a House committee hearing Tuesday. But some say it doesn’t confront major problems that face Iowa’s students.

The package includes raising beginning teacher salaries from $28,000 to $32,000. There’s tuition forgiveness for teachers that stay in Iowa. It creates pathways for veteran teachers to mentor new teachers so there’s incentive for them to stick with teaching.

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7:44 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Iowa's Education Department Seeks Funding for Online Classes

The Iowa Department of Education is seeking state funding to expand on-line education for high school students. The Department is now operating what’s called “Iowa Learning Online” with federal funding that’s expiring.

State Education Director Jason Glass says the program is serving students who aren’t doing well in traditional classrooms.

“We have students that are bullied. We have students that are medically fragile. We have students that need to be home for any number of reasons, “ Glass says. “Those are the kind of students we want to make this an option for.”

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11:23 pm
Sun December 16, 2012

Combating Bullying of Gay Youth in Iowa

Newton High School Senior Ella Daft stands outside Newton High School.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Same sex marriage is legal in Iowa and it appears to be gaining acceptance. A Supreme Court justice who was part of the ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage was retained in a heated campaign this year. But advocates for gay teens say bullying is still a problem in schools. 

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