Education

"The state's teacher evaluation system is little more than cotton candy in a rainstorm."

That metaphorical mic drop came last week from Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher, ruling in a decade-old school funding lawsuit.

Every morning, Mia and Chris tape a red or a green piece of paper to their front door. It's a signal for their son's bus driver. Green, pick him up. Red, keep driving.

On this morning, at 6, it's not looking good.

Mia and Chris climb the stairs and gentry try to wake Jared, their 16-year-old. They've brought him breakfast and his medication:

"You don't want to get up?" Mia asks Jared.

"No."

"How is your head?"

"It hurts."

"Just go for a little while? It's only a half day," Chris tries to coax his son.

"No."

College presidents from High Point, N. C., to Laie, Hawaii, are sitting up a little straighter, because the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings are out today. Published every year since 1983, they've become perhaps the most famous and influential college rankings. But they're no longer the only game in town.

They read a book quietly under their desks, pester the teacher for extra credit, or, perhaps, they simply check out and act up.

Every classroom has a few overachievers who perform above their grade level and don't feel challenged by the status quo. A new report suggests they are surprisingly common — in some cases, nearly half of all students in a given grade.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

In northwest Pennsylvania, along the edge of Lake Erie, you'll find the city of Erie.

There, the superintendent of the more than 12,000-student district has forwarded a plan that's causing a stir — calling for leaders to consider shutting down all of the district's high schools and sending students to the wealthier, whiter, suburban districts.

Why?

Superintendent Jay Badams says it's a "matter of fairness."

"Never forget" became a national rallying cry after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Yet America's schools — where collective memory is shaped — are now full of students who never knew. Because they weren't alive 15 years ago. As such, many teachers struggle with whether and how to teach the attacks and their aftermath.

According to one survey, only about 20 states include anything in depth about the events of that fateful day in their high school social studies curriculum.

And when they are taught, critics say, it's often through a narrow lens.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

It's a pivotal moment in any young person's life — that point at which you turn from the home you've known all your life, breathe in deeply and leap into the vast unknown of the world beyond.

It's a moment that young adult authors know well, and not just because they write for these young readers. They've experienced it themselves, and they've come out the other side, pen in hand.

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."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Things are far from normal for people in Louisiana hit by last month's historic flood. Thousands have lost their homes, their cars, their jobs.

But one routine resumed this week in Baton Rouge: Students are back in class after a three-week interruption.

At Claiborne Elementary in north Baton Rouge, kids are tussling on school playgrounds again, even as their families' soaked belongings lay in heaps along neighborhood streets.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Like so many brilliant innovations, the idea seems obvious in hindsight. Just combine college, coffee, and chemical engineering. Of course!

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