Welcome to the 21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home — and do homework at school. It's called classroom flipping, and it's slowly catching on in schools around the country.
When Jessica Miller, a high school sophomore in rural Bennett, Colo., sits down to do her chemistry homework, she pulls out her notebook. Then she turns on an iPad to watch a video podcast. Whenever the instructor changes the slide, Miller pauses the video and writes down everything on the screen.
Students leave Miramonte Elementary, in the Clovis Unified School District in Los Angeles. School districts across California have taken out loans requiring payments that far exceed the original loan amounts.
More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.
In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.
In the Cleveland area, there's a plan to inspire kids to start thinking about college early on by giving them seed money. Officials want to set up kindergarteners with savings accounts. Though the initial $100 deposit isn't likely to cover much, the hope is that it will inspire them to take the idea of going to college seriously.
For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women's school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.
"We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?" Tatum asks.
College athletics and academics are often at odds. One professor says it's time to end the charade and let athletes major in what they love - sports. Host Michel Martin speaks with Professor David Pargman of Florida State University, about why he thinks his proposal is more honest than what colleges are currently doing.
Let's report, now, on the college scene in Phoenix, which is becoming more crowded. In Arizona, a private college education has long been hard to find. But that is changing now. Eight schools are setting up satellite campuses in the Phoenix suburbs. From member station KJZZ, Peter O'Dowd reports.
PETER O'DOWD, BYLINE: This is Trine University in Peoria, Arizona.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR OPENING)
O'DOWD: Not much, yet; just a door opening to an empty classroom, in an ordinary office park.
Some public schools across the U.S. are setting different standards for students based on their race. The goal is to cut the achievement gap in half. Host Michel Martin speaks with Emily Richmond, of the Education Writers Association, about criticisms to this approach.
Judge Timothy Kelley of State District Court ruled that the way in which the state finances its new voucher program violates the state Constitution, as it relies on money intended in "plain and unambiguous" terms solely for public schools. In a statement, Governor Jindal called the decision "wrongheaded and a travesty for parents across Louisiana" and vowed to appeal.