Education

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.     

Classroom Creatures

Nov 21, 2013
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.

Iowa Department of Education

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

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’

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.

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.

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

Flickr Creative Commons

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

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.

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

Mar 7, 2013
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. 

Diversity In Iowa Schools: The Elephant in the Room

Mar 6, 2013
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. 

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.

Ruud named to lead UNI

Feb 7, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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. 

Starting next year, graduates  of Iowa’s teacher preparation programs will be required to pass exams with a minimum score in order to get a license to teach.   Iowa is one of the last  holdouts in the country in not requiring  testing of new teachers.  But at a statehouse committee meeting  today  there were complaints that this year’s graduating seniors  didn’t get enough advance warning.   

The Iowa Board of Regents is declining to renew a contract with University of Iowa President Sally Mason. Regents President Craig Lang confirms that Mason is working without a contract.

“Her contract – five-year contract – was up in August,” he says. “We did not renew a new contract with President Mason. She is employed at will.”

Lang says the Regents are asking Mason to improve the University’s statewide outreach, improve relations with the Iowa Legislature, and establish goals.

Clay Masters / IPR

More than 1100 Iowa educators, students and community members from across the state came to Des Moines Tuesday for Governor Branstad’s first Bullying Prevention Summit. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports the message was not just about how to respond to bullying, but how to prevent it.

Courtesy photo

The highly acclaimed movie “Argo” is finishing its run through Iowa theaters this week. Directed by Ben Affleck “Argo” depicts the rescue of six U.S. Embassy workers from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

A Waverly woman, Kathryn Koob has a unique prospective of those events because she was one of two women who did not escape and was held by the Revolutionary Guard for 444 days.

Iowa Department of Education

Iowa teachers would see their base pay bump if new recommendations from an education task force are put into place. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

A state task force wants Iowa schools to move toward  air-conditioning their classrooms.   It’s part of a drive toward year-round schedules  which experts say can boost student achievement.

Advocates  for higher teacher pay better be upfront about just how much it’s going to cost, and who’s going to cover it, if they want to achieve their goal.    That's according to a representative of Iowa’s school administrators who’s serving on a task force on teacher salaries.

Iowa Department of Education

During the last Iowa legislative session, lawmakers failed to agree on how beef up teacher evaluations. Instead they commissioned a task force to make recommendations for next year. The task force met in Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Dean Borg

Governor Terry Branstad has named veteran Cedar Rapids educator Tania Johnson  the 2013 Iowa Teacher of the Year.

Johnson spent most of her 22-year teaching career in Cedar Rapids kindergarten classrooms before she accepted a teacher leadership position with her school district this fall.

Iowa Young Birders

Aug 25, 2012

Iowa Young Birders is a new program to get kids outside and develop their interest in birds.  Executive director Carl Bendorf says the nonprofit is a first of its kind in the state.

www.iowayoungbirders.org

Thirty-one writers from 28 countries are arriving in Iowa to participate in the writing residency program. UI International Writing Program Director Chris Merrill talks with Ben Kieffer about the program and what it takes to bring the world's greatest writers to Iowa.

A Burlington Middle School is now named after a key scientist in NASA’s Voyager program.  Today the Edward Stone Middle School opens for classes and Ed Stone returned to the hometown where his journey as a space scientist began. 

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