Education

Katie Morrow became a teacher, among other things, because of wanderlust.

"I'm going to be a teacher because I can go anywhere in the world," she thought.

She's originally from a small town in Nebraska called O'Neill, population 3,700. "In the middle of nowhere, literally," she says.

So where did she end up teaching? Right back in O'Neill. She fell in love with a hometown boy and ended up at O'Neill's only public school. It's K-12, with 750 students.

Morrow teaches middle-school English; she's also a technology integration specialist.

Every year, thousands of fresh-faced teachers are handed the keys to a new classroom, given a pat on the back and told, "Good luck!"

Over the next five years, though, nearly half of those teachers will transfer to a new school or leave the profession altogether — only to be replaced with similarly fresh-faced teachers.

This weekend, NPR Ed is featuring dispatches from teachers about the ups and downs of their work.

Early each December, the HR department of Orange City Schools in Pepper Pike, Ohio, places a checklist in our mailboxes. It asks about our employment plans for the next school year. Choices include sabbatical leave, acquiring advanced degrees, and the one everyone dreams of checking: I will be retiring at the end of the current school year.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos might conjure a lot of descriptors: spicy, crunchy, unnaturally fiery red. But it's a good bet that "healthy" didn't exactly spring to mind.

The president of the University of Oklahoma says two dozen students from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity have been disciplined for taking part in a racist chant about African-Americans and lynching that was videotaped and went viral earlier this month.

A stack of research suggests that all the classroom technology in the world can't compare to the power of a great teacher. And, since we haven't yet figured out how to clone our best teachers, a few schools around the country are trying something like it: Stretching them across multiple classrooms.

Dennis Brekke / Flickr

With debate over the state budget continuing, Wisconsin legislators are hearing from public school administrators around the state who are concerned about significant proposed cuts to K-12 education spending.

But funding is not the only hot-button education issue on the legislature's agenda. There are also debates over standardized testing, Common Core standards, integration programs, and voucher and charter schools.

Brad Wilson / Flickr

Even before Hurricane Katrina changed just about everything in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana had started the process of reshaping the city’s public schools, creating an entity known as the New Orleans Recovery School District.  But the storm sped up the process and was used as the catalyst for nearly a wholesale state takeover of control of schools there.

Jon Strelecki

As a large, urban research university, UW-Milwaukee does have a lot of buildings - filled with classrooms, laboratories and study space.

But in addition to all of the bricks and mortar, there are also thousands of acres of bogs and wetlands. There is a butterfly conservancy; and even an abandoned mine that is home to thousands of bats. Not all of these pieces of nature are found on UWM’s campus on Milwaukee’s East Side… although the main campus does have the Downer Woods nature preserve.

Sweet Briar College in Virginia will close its doors in May, after 114 years of teaching women at its scenic campus in western Virginia.

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