In preparation for my visit to the 11th annual commencement ceremony of the Bard Prison Initiative, I sat down for a conversation with Donnell Hughes, an alumnus of the program. BPI, as it's called, gives inmates at six prisons around New York state the opportunity to study in person with professors not only from Bard College, but from MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Vassar and local community colleges.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that he wants to cut ties with the Common Core State Standards, the benchmarks in reading and math that he helped bring to the state four years ago, and replace them with new, Louisiana-specific standards.
"We won't let the federal government take over Louisiana's education standards," Jindal said in a statement. "We're very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators."
"Free" is a word with a powerful appeal. And right now it's being tossed around a lot, followed by another word: "college."
A new nonprofit, Redeeming America's Promise, announced this week that it will seek federal support to make public colleges tuition-free. That effort is inspired by "Hope" and "Promise" programs like the one in Kalamazoo, Mich., which pays up to 100 percent of college tuition at state colleges and universities for graduates of the city's public high schools.
The practice of secluding or restraining children when they get agitated has long been a controversial practice in public schools. Now, new data show that it's more common than previously understood, happening at least 267,000 times in a recent school year.
NPR worked with reporters from the investigative journalism group ProPublica, who compiled data from the U.S. Department of Education to come up with one of the clearest looks at the practice of seclusion and restraint.