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Schools Face Extreme Heat; 'Nontraditional' College Students; And Teaching Technology

Deb Lee

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Schools and colleges are coping with extreme heat

2018 was the fourth-hottest summer on record. One impact of climate change: Dozens of school districts, particularly in the Northeast, had to close early this week because of inadequate air conditioning. It happened in Maryland, Massachusetts , Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and also in New Jersey, where several students at one school collapsed in gym class.

Some universities — such as the University of Pennsylvania, NYU and Yale — were also disrupted by the heat wave.

Teacher testifies at Kavanaugh hearing

Oklahoma City high school social studies teacher Melissa Smith was called by Democrats as a witnessagainst Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. Smith was active in the teacher walkouts that swept Oklahoma earlierthis year.

In hearings on Friday, she spoke to Kavanaugh's past support of school vouchers programs, his likely rulings on future labor union cases and his records on gun safety and immigration.

Who is a typical college student?

As we reportedthis week, 3 out of 4 of today's college students are "nontraditional" in some way: financially independent, working adults, part-time students, enrolling some time after high school, and perhaps with children of their own.

College marketing websites targeting would-be military recruits shuts down

Ever visit Army.com or Navyenlist.com? They're not official U.S. Armed Forces sites. They're actually copycats set up to get personal information from aspiring recruits. That info was then sold to companies operating college and career programs, for up to $40 per name. Recruiters for those companies left the false impression that the military endorsed their programs. That's all according to the Federal Trade Commission, which has demanded that the copycat domains be handed over in order to shut them down.

New data: selective colleges and STEM majors improve earnings

Going to a highly ranked college will bump your earnings about 11 percent versus one that's nonselective. Meanwhile, a for-profit college means a 17 percent ding on future paychecks. That's according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education.

They also looked at earnings by major. No surprises here. STEM degrees bring home the most loot, and arts the least.

Thirsty for more info on earnings by major? The Census Bureau has a new tool that can link college transcripts to its own earnings information. The University of Texas was the first school to share data through this program. Longhorns with economics degrees, turns out, earn more than psychologists.

New survey: teachers say schools not prepared for jobs of the future

Two-thirds of about 2,000 K-12 teachers surveyed think schools should place more emphasis on teaching technology. Yet, just one in 10 feels themselves qualified to teach an up-to-date skill like data analytics or app design. Those numbers were low even for experienced teachers and those at affluent schools. All of this is according to global business services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Congress should decide whether schools can use federal funds for guns, DeVos writes

The education secretary wroteto Democratic members of Congress that she has "no intention" of taking action on the question of whether to allow districts to use a federal grant program to purchase firearms. This comes after reports that the Education Department was mulling the controversial policy move in response to inquiries from a few states. Some security experts argue that more guns in schools is a recipe for more violence, and indeed federal law currently designates schools as "Gun-Free."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.