NPR: Eric Westervelt

NPR foreign correspondent Eric Westervelt recently wrapped up a multi-year assignment in the Middle East covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He took up his new position as a Berlin-based European Correspondent for NPR in May 2009.

Westervelt has reported on conflicts and their repercussions across the Middle East region for NPR, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the second Lebanon war between Hezbollah and Israel, and the on going Palestinian-Israel conflict, including fighting in the Gaza Strip ranging from internal Palestinian violence to multiple Israeli offensives in the territory. He reported in-depth on issues across the occupied West Bank and Israel. He has also reported from the Horn of Africa, Yemen and the Persian Gulf region.

Westervelt reported on the war in Iraq from the initial US-led ground invasion in 2003, traveling with the lead unit of the Army's Third Infantry Division. He later helped cover the insurgency; sectarian violence; and the on-going struggle rebuild the country in the post Saddam Hussein-era.

Westervelt's coverage at home and abroad has helped NPR win broadcast journalism's highest honors, including contributions to a 2002 George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US and its aftermath; a 2003 Alfred I. DuPont - Columbia University award for NPR's coverage of 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan; as well as duPont-Columbia University top honors again in 2004 and again in 2007 for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq and affect on Iraqi society, among other awards.

Westervelt's reports are heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and NPR's hourly newscasts, and appear online at npr.org

Prior to his Middle East assignment, Westervelt covered military affairs for NPR News reporting on a wide range of defense, national security and foreign policy issues. Before that Westervelt reported for NPR's National Desk, covering some of the biggest stories in recently memory, including the shootings at Columbine High School, the explosion of TWA flight 800 and the Florida presidential recount. For the National Desk Westervelt also reported on national trends in law enforcement and crime fighting, including police tactics, use of force, the drug war, racial profiling and the legal and political battles over firearms in America. Westervelt's work on the National Desk also contributed to another Peabody Award for an NPR series on the most influential American musical works of the 20th Century.

Before joining NPR, Westervelt worked as a reporter in Oregon and a news director and reporter in New Hampshire and reported for Monitor Radio, the broadcast edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

Westervelt is a graduate of the Putney School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He and his wife Lisa currently live in Germany.

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5:11am

Tue March 25, 2014
Education

Maze Of College Costs And Aid Programs Traps Some Families

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 12:11 pm

iStockphoto

In the past 20 years, the average burden for a four-year college graduate in the U.S. has gone from about $9,000 to nearly $30,000 today. The percentage of students carrying debt has shot up from less than half to nearly 70 percent these days.

At a large public high school in Freemont, Calif., southeast of San Francisco, Alyssa Tucker and Thao Le sit on a metal table. Both come from families with modest incomes.

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3:29am

Tue February 18, 2014
Education

College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn't

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:26 pm

Standardized tests are an important consideration for admissions at many colleges and universities. But one new study shows that high school performance, not standardized test scores, is a better predictor of how students do in college.
Amriphoto iStockphoto

With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.

That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.

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3:39am

Mon February 17, 2014
All Tech Considered

A Push To Boost Computer Science Learning, Even At An Early Age

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:11 pm

Alex Tu, an advanced placement student, takes a computer science class in Midwest City, Okla. There's been a sharp decline in the number of computer science classes offered in U.S. secondary schools.
Sue Ogrocki AP

5:30am

Tue January 28, 2014
Education

Political Rivals Find Common Ground Over Common Core

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 12:25 pm

Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. The GOP largely backs the standards that are rolling out in 45 states, but Tea Party conservatives have been critical — and liberals increasingly have the same complaints.
Steve Ruark AP

Supporters of the new Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states say the standards hold American students to much higher expectations, and move curriculum away from a bubble-test culture that encourages test preparation over deeper learning.

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9:41am

Sun January 26, 2014
Education

Teacher Job Protections Vs. Students' Education In Calif.

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 12:47 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

To California now where a polarizing lawsuit goes to trial tomorrow. At issue, whether job protections for public school teachers undermines students' constitutional rights to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit say it could provide a model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. But to unions and state officials, all the lawsuit does is demonize teachers.

NPR's Eric Westervelt has the story.

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4:46pm

Tue December 31, 2013
Around the Nation

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:23 pm

Students at the Oakland Military Institute took several courses offered by San Jose State and the online course provider Udacity this year. The university is now scaling back its relationship with Udacity.
Laura A. Oda MCT/Landov

One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.

In theory, students saddled by rising debt and unable to tap into the best schools would be able to take free classes from rock star professors at elite schools via Udacity, edX, Coursera and other MOOC platforms.

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3:04am

Tue December 17, 2013
Around the Nation

To Make Science Real, Kids Want More Fun

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:30 am

Hands-on science activities like making bubble mitts at the Mission Science Workshop teach students about things like surface tension.
Justin Jach Courtesy of Mission Science Workshop

Are American kids being adequately prepared in the sciences to compete in a highly competitive, global high-tech workforce? A majority of American parents say no, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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5:11am

Sat December 14, 2013
The Two-Way

Parents Say School Security Has Increased Since Newtown Massacre

Most parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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5:05pm

Wed December 4, 2013
The Salt

These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:09 am

Students at Lowell High School in Michigan sit down for lunch. Shorter lunch breaks mean that many kids don't get enough time to eat and socialize.
Emily Zoladz Landov

It's lunchtime at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif., and that means fence hoppers. Several kids wear mischievous grins as they speedily scale a 12-foot-high metal perimeter.

In theory, anyway, Oakland High is a "closed campus." That's done in the interest of safety and security and to cut down on school-skipping. It means kids can't leave during school hours without parental consent, especially at lunchtime. But it doesn't stop several students from breaking out.

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2:58am

Fri November 22, 2013
Education

Charter Schools In Philadelphia: Educating Without A Blueprint

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:39 am

Shayna Terrell is the outreach coordinator at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia.
Matt Stanley for NPR

This is final story in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Shayna Terrell is in a good mood: It's report card night at the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter high school in North Philadelphia, and parents are showing up in good numbers.

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6:11pm

Thu November 21, 2013
Education

Unrelenting Poverty Leads To 'Desperation' In Philly Schools

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 9:01 am

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, cut more than $1 billion from the state's K-12 budget, which hit the state-controlled Philadelphia district hardest.
Matt Slocum AP

This is the second in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Philadelphia's Center City area sparkles with new restaurants, jobs and money. After declining for half a century, the city's population grew from 2006 to 2012.

But for people living in concentrated poverty in large swaths of North and West Philadelphia, the Great Recession only made life harder.

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5:54pm

Tue November 19, 2013
Politics

Duncan Apologizes For 'Clumsy' Common Core Remarks

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in some hot water over remarks he made last week suggesting that opposition to Common Core of Standards was coming from "white suburban moms." He has since pulled back from those remarks.

2:49am

Tue October 15, 2013
Education

Silicon Valley Trailer Park Residents Fight To Stay

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:37 am

Palo Alto middle school student Jennifer Munoz Tello (right) stands outside her family's trailer in Palo Alto with her mother, Sandra, and 2-year-old sister, Cynthia.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Sunny Palo Alto, Calif., is awash in multimillion-dollar homes, luxury Tesla electric cars and other financial fruits from a digital revolution the city helped spark. The Silicon Valley city is home to Stanford University, at least eight billionaires, and one mobile home park.

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2:49pm

Tue August 14, 2012
Europe

Germans Confront The Costs Of A Nuclear-Free Future

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

A worker on a newly constructed transmission tower near Buetzow, Germany, earlier this month. The German government plans to shut down nuclear power plants and is seeking to replace that production with power from renewable energy sources, especially wind turbines and solar parks. New power transmission lines will be needed.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

After Japan's Fukushima disaster last year, Germany announced a groundbreaking energy plan: It would phase out all of its domestic nuclear power in a decade and make a transition to safer, carbon neutral energy.

The goal is to have solar, wind and other renewables account for nearly 40 percent of the energy for Europe's largest economy in a decade, and 80 percent by 2050.

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3:29am

Mon August 13, 2012
Europe

Poland Watches Warily As Euro Crisis Spreads

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 8:51 pm

One of the latest additions to Poland's growing luxury goods market, the Wolf Bracka department store, beckons shoppers in the heart of the Polish capital, Warsaw. The country's economy continues to grow, but Poles are anxiously watching the crisis in the eurozone.
Czarek Sokolowski AP

One factor that has kept Poland somewhat insulated from the eurozone crisis is domestic consumer spending. Poland had more than 4 percent growth last year while the rest of the continent was mired in negative or flat growth. Poles have more discretionary income than ever before, and they're using it to buy things in swank malls cropping up all over the country.

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5:58am

Sun July 29, 2012
Europe

Spain's Crisis Pushes Educated Into 'Economic Exile'

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:48 pm

Government employees demonstrate against the Spanish government's austerity measures in Madrid, on Friday. The economic situation has forced some Spaniards to leave the country for work.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

In Spain, the growing crisis — debt, austerity and joblessness — has prompted more people to vote with their feet. In the first six months of 2012, emigration from Spain is up more than 44 percent from the same period last year.

The Spanish government denies it, but the "brain drain" has become something of a flood with more and more educated, skilled Spaniards moving abroad.

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5:14am

Mon July 23, 2012
Crime In The City

Jo Nesbo's Fiction Explores Oslo's Jagged Edges

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Crime novelist Jo Nesbo says despite Oslo's well-kept streets and sharply dressed residents, the city has a dark and seedy side.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

The sun descends reluctantly over Norway's waterside capital, but novelist Jo Nesbo is determined to show Oslo's dark side, to convince me the real city, in parts, is as dirty, twisted and seedy as his own fictional version.

It's a tough sell in this city of bike helmets, clean streets and smiling blond people.

The author has written nine successful novels about the reckless Oslo police detective Harry Hole, a nonconformist with a mercurial mind.

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5:20pm

Mon July 9, 2012
All Tech Considered

The Next Silicon Valley? Berlin Startups Catching Up With The Hype

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:29 pm

Simon Fabich (center) is CEO and co-founder of the Berlin-based online shopping startup Monoqi. Artsy and relatively inexpensive, Berlin is an up-and-coming city for European tech startups.
Courtesy of Monoqi

California's Silicon Valley remains by far the dominant arena for high-tech startups and venture capitalists looking to back innovative projects.

But Europe is starting to make its mark on the startup scene. London, Paris and Berlin are starting to hold their own as more and more European startups look to compete on the global stage and attract investors.

A 'Crazy Green Field' For Creative Types

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7:20am

Fri June 22, 2012
Europe

Germany, Greece Face Off On Soccer Field

The eurozone will take a short break from its financial crisis to enjoy a sporting event. The soccer teams of Germany and Greece meet Friday in the quarter finals of the Euro 2012 championship in Gdansk, Poland. Germany's coach doesn't think political tensions will have an impact on the field.

5:18pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Europe

Germany Resists Concessions To Greek Bailout Terms

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 8:18 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with members of her delegation before the first plenary session of the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday.
Yuri Cortez Getty Images

The party that won Greece's parliamentary elections on Sunday has accepted the tough conditions international lenders imposed to bail out the ailing nation. But there's been talk that the party wants to seek some concessions on the terms of the rescue package.

At the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her tough line that bailout terms for Greece are not negotiable. After the summit, Merkel returns to a German electorate that is now fed up with a debt crisis that only seems to grow and worsen.

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2:55am

Wed June 6, 2012
Europe

A Party On The Rise, Germany's Pirates Come Ashore

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:07 pm

A member of the German Pirate Party, with its logo shaved in his hair, attends the party's two-day conference in Neumuenster, Germany, on April 28.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

They don't have a plan to save the euro or draw down the war in Afghanistan, nor do they have clear policies on an array of issues, but the German Pirate Party is winning converts and elections with its vision of digital democracy through "liquid feedback."

Despite public relations mishaps and a haphazard organizational structure, the Pirate Party is shaking up the stolid, bureaucratic world of German politics and jolting rival parties with its rising popularity.

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2:51am

Thu May 31, 2012
Europe

Stumbling Upon Miniature Memorials To Nazi Victims

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 8:59 am

Brass bricks known as Stolperstein, or "stumbling stones," in front of a home in Raesfeld, Germany, where five members of a single family were forcibly removed by the Nazis. Across Germany, the stones commemorate the millions of victims of the Nazi regime.
Jeffrey Katz NPR

Brick by brick, Guenther Demnig is working to change how the Holocaust is publicly remembered in Germany.

On a recent afternoon, the 62-year-old Berlin-born artist is on his knees on a sidewalk in a prosperous section of Berlin's Charlottenburg district, working a hammer and small trowel. He is installing dozens of small, square brass bricks, each one inscribed with the name — and details about the death of — people who once lived in apartment houses on Pestalozzi Strasse.

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4:43pm

Tue May 15, 2012
Europe

For New French President, Germany Is First Stop

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 5:46 pm

Francois Hollande stands up in his car Tuesday as he rides up the Champs-Elysees after taking the oath of office as the new president of France. Shortly afterward, he flew to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss the continent's economic woes.
Regis Duvignau AP

As soon as new French President Francois Hollande was sworn in on Tuesday, he observed a postwar custom and reached out to Germany, in a move intended to underscore European solidarity and the importance of the alliance.

But it wasn't a relaxing social visit. Hollande's plane was struck by lightning en route to Berlin and had to return to Paris as a precaution. He then took another plane.

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4:15pm

Mon May 14, 2012
Europe

Europe's Austerity Plans Face Growing Backlash

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 11:45 pm

Spanish protesters gathered in Madrid on Saturday as the country's economic problems continued to worsen. The country's banking system is seen as particularly vulnerable.
Pedro Armestre AFP/Getty Images

A political crisis in Greece and economic woes in Spain are again raising concern about the future of the eurozone.

In Athens today, Greek politicians tried again and failed to form a coalition government, though talks are ongoing. There is growing fear that Greece will not be able to remain in the currency union and avoid defaulting on its debts.

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4:00am

Mon April 16, 2012
Europe

Confessed Killer Of 77 Goes On Trial In Norway

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the man who has confessed to carrying out Norway's worst peacetime atrocity goes on trial today. Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, raised his fist in a Nazi-style salute after bailiffs removed his handcuffs in the courtroom. Breivik has told authorities he acted to protect Norway from Muslims. The rampage in Oslo and at a youth camp left 77 people dead and dozens injured. NPR's Eric Westervelt is in Oslo and reports that the central issue for judges will be Breivik's mental health.

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6:02am

Sun April 15, 2012
Europe

Norway 'Still Shattered' As Extremist Goes On Trial

Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist who confessed to killing 77 people on July 22, 2011, will go to trial in Oslo, Norway, on Monday.
Lise Aserud AP

Norwegians will be confronted again this week with the terrible details and trauma of the worst peacetime attack in the country's history.

Police say last July 22, Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb in the center of Oslo near government offices. The blast killed eight people and spun residents and police into a state of chaotic alarm and confusion.

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3:20pm

Fri April 6, 2012
Europe

Homelessness Becomes A Crime In Hungary

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:25 pm

Two homeless men lie on mattresses in central Budapest in 2010. Hundreds of people live on the streets in the Hungarian capital; many refuse to stay in night shelters for fear of having their goods stolen.
Karoly Arvai Reuters/Landov

Hungary's new anti-vagrancy laws — the toughest in Europe — now mean that homeless people sleeping on the street can face police fines or even the possibility of jail time.

Advocacy and human-rights groups are alarmed by the new efforts to crack down on and effectively criminalize homelessness, where the ranks of the needy have increased during the country's dire financial crisis.

Debt, joblessness and poverty are on the rise. The country's bonds have been downgraded to "junk" status, and the nation's currency, the forint, has dropped sharply against the euro.

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3:06am

Wed April 4, 2012
Europe

The Secret To Germany's Low Youth Unemployment

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 2:47 pm

Metal-working apprentices train in Leipzig, Germany, in 2010. Germany has Europe's lowest youth unemployment rate, thanks in part to its ancient apprentice system, which trains about 1.5 million people each year.
Waltraud Grubitzsch DPA/Landov

For as long as he can remember, German teenager Robin Dittmar has been obsessed with airplanes. As a little boy, the sound of a plane overhead would send him into the backyard to peer into the sky. Toys had to have wings. Even today, Dittmar sees his car as a kind of ersatz Boeing.

"I've got the number 747 as the number plate of my car. I'm really in love with this airplane," the 18-year-old says.

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4:00am

Tue February 21, 2012

8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Wary Of Another Greek Bailout, EU Procrastinates

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Greek spoken)

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