Record numbers of veterans are returning home from war and heading to college. The biggest draw: the generous benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which in three short years has helped 860,000 vets go to school.
But there's still little known about how these students are doing.
For years, Sarah Yaw has been working with veterans at Cayuga Community College, a small school in rural, upstate New York. She took a leave in 2009, around the time the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect. When she returned to the school, she found a dramatic change.
There is a lot of speculation now about what issues - big and small - the Obama administration should tackle in its second term. Education is one thing on many of those lists, and in Washington yesterday, the talk was about one of the hottest trends in the field - something called MOOCS. MOOCS is short for Massive Open Online Courses; college courses, to be exact.
In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.
State Superintendent John White tweeted, “Amidst talk of legal questions I return to [a] moral question: do parents and children deserve options, no matter their wealth? [The] answer is clear.” Now that a judge ruled the voucher system unconstitutional, I return to a moral question: what should quality schools look like to a democratically elected government? I believe they should be diverse institutions dedicated to public interests.
Switching gears now, bullying has been in the news a lot in recent years. Bullying has always gone on, of course, but in recent years, the issue has gotten more attention, in part because a number of these episodes have ended tragically.
When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.
"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."
With money coming in more slowly than the financial aid given out, schools say they are nearing the breaking point, and even the most selective elite universities are rethinking their generosity.
"It just became clear that if we continue to give more and more aid, the numbers don't add up," says Raynard Kington, head of Grinnell College. Thanks to longtime former board member Warren Buffett, Grinnell has an endowment bigger than most schools dream of. For years, that's enabled Grinnell to admit students on a need-blind basis — and then give them as much aid as they need.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll meet the star of the new film "Life of Pi," based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. The film is getting rave reviews for its amazing special effects, as well as the performance of the young man we are going to meet in a few minutes for whom this was his first professional acting job. That's coming up.
Host Scott Simon talks with Weekend Edition math guy Keith Devlin, who recently wrapped up his first MOOC, or massive open online course. He taught an Introduction to Mathematical Thinking course to 62,000 students from around the world, ages 16 to 70.