After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test.
This week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee's chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.
Researchers in Europe have managed to read from an ancient scroll buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The feat is all the more remarkable because the scroll was never opened.
The Vesuvius eruption famously destroyed Pompeii. But it also devastated the nearby town of Herculaneum. A villa there contained a library stacked with papyrus scrolls, and the hot gas and ash preserved them.
NPR and ProPublica have been reporting about nonprofit hospitals that seize the wages of lower-income and working-class patients. Now, Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says hospitals could be breaking the law by suing these patients and docking their pay. And he wants some answers.
Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 8:13 pm
There's an inconspicuous metal box mounted on the wall of the gym at San Francisco County Jail No. 4.
When Kate Monico Klein turns a knob, the machine releases a condom in a small cardboard packet. Machines like this one — dispensing free condoms — are installed in all of the county's male jails.
"We set [the machine] off to the side, so that people would have a minor amount of privacy," explains Monico Klein, director of HIV services for Jail Health, a division of the county's health department.
Overturned chairs and shouts of protest briefly shattered the formality and calm of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning.
The session had just begun when protesters in the back of the chamber began yelling things like, "One person, one vote," "We are the 99 percent," "Money is not speech," and "Overturn Citizens United." This last was a reference to the Court's 2010 decision, issued on this day five years ago. That decision struck down limits on corporate and union campaign spending, uncorking a flood of campaign cash.
While reporting my story on how foods earn a label certifying them as "non-GMO," I came across a comment that struck me – and it might surprise you, too.
The comment came from Ken Ross, the CEO of Global ID. (He didn't make it into the final story.) Global ID is the parent company of FoodChain ID, one of the companies that traces ingredients to determine whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The Justice Department is poised to declare that former police officer Darren Wilson should not face civil rights charges over the death of Michael Brown, law enforcement sources tell NPR. Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was black, in August. Brown was not armed.
"Two law enforcement sources tell NPR they see no way forward to file criminal civil rights charges" against Wilson, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. She adds, "Those charges would require authorities to prove the officer used excessive force and violated Brown's constitutional rights."
Facebook's on a mission to make your News Feed a little more truthful.
The social media giant has announced it will start doing more to alert users when stories they're seeing in their feeds are fake. And it will allow users to start flagging hoaxes themselves. But Facebook says it won't remove false stories. And the company says it won't start "reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy."
Two days after the State of the Union address, President Obama will sit down for a round of unusual interviews. There's a good chance he'll get a question that none of his predecessors have ever had to answer.
One distinct possibility: "Mr. President, is you OK? Is you good? 'Cuz I wanted to know."
Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 7:30 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 7-to-2 vote, ruled in favor of a fired air marshal on Wednesday. In a decision of great interest to federal employees and air travelers, the court said that the air marshal's alert about safety concerns was shielded by the federal whistleblower protection law.
A group of high-profile women's soccer players have withdrawn a lawsuit that fought FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association's plan to use artificial turf at this summer's Women's World Cup. Stars such as Abby Wambach, Homare Sawa of Japan, and Marta of Brazil had backed the suit.
The lawsuit accused the organizers of discrimination, saying that elite men's teams would never be forced to play on an artificial surface instead of natural grass. The complaint was filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
In times of turmoil, Russians turn to their great writers for inspiration.
One of those writers is Mikhail Bulgakov, who died 75 years ago. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin liked some of Bulgakov's work, but he considered most of it too dangerous to publish. A museum in Moscow shows that the work is just as relevant as ever.
House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on Iran on Feb. 11. The White House, which was not consulted about the invitation, called it a departure from diplomatic protocol.
NPR's Ailsa Chang tells our Newscast unit that Boehner, R-Ohio, defended his decision not to consult with the White House.