There's little dispute among educators that kids are not reading as well as they should be, but there's endless debate over what to do about it. Now, a growing number of states are taking a hard-line approach through mandatory retentions — meaning third-graders who can't read at grade level will automatically get held back.
To those pushing the idea, it's equal doses of tough and love: You are not doing kids any favors, they say, by waiving them on to fourth grade if they aren't up to snuff on their reading.
Toola may not be a household name, but she made quite an impression on the staff of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she lived most of her adult life.
Just look at how Dr. Mike Murray, an aquarium veterinarian, described the sea otter:
"I will argue that there is no other single sea otter that had a greater impact upon the sea otter species, the sea otter programs worldwide, and upon the interface between the sea otters' scientific community and the public."
Gregg Williams, who has spent time as an assistant or head coach at six NFL teams, is meeting with league investigators today to talk about what he's admitted was "a bounty pool of up to $50,000 over the last three seasons that rewarded players with thousand-dollar payoffs for knocking targeted opponents out of games while he was the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator," The Associated Press reports.
On stage, Teller, half of the magician team of Penn & Teller, rarely says a word.
But now he's talking, explaining how magicians harness scientific research on deception to trick audiences into falling for their illusions. And their work, in turn, makes them interesting to brain researchers.
The human brain craves predictability, according to neuroscientists, and when politicians appear to flip-flop, our brains don't like it. Often, we feel betrayed. NPR science correspondents Jon Hamilton, Alix Spiegel and Shankar Vedantam talk about why we're hard-wired to appreciate consistency.
Popular movements during the Arab Spring paved the way for democratic elections in Egypt and Tunisia. In Egypt, Islamists are assuming powerful roles. Many women's rights activists fear that a shift toward democratically-elected Islamist rulers will limit personal and political freedom for women.
You'd think that scary numbers from the big dogs in infectious disease would be enough to make raw milk drinkers reconsider that choice.
But don't count on it. Just 7 percent of raw milk consumers say they trust health officials' recommendations on what foods are safe to eat, according to a new study.
That means that 93 percent of those folks aren't convinced when health officials say that raw milk products can cause diseases like bovine tuberculosis, Q-fever, and brucellosis, as well as more common food-borne illnesses like Listeria and Salmonella.
Dierks Bentley has a nice, deep voice; an open, friendly demeanor; and a knack for working in a variety of country-music genres, from bluegrass to power ballads. For all that, it's always been difficult to pin down what Bentley aims to do. Although he's only in his 30s, Bentley sounds as though he's working through a bit of a midlife crisis on his new album Home. Take, for example, the single "Am I the Only One," a novelty tune about going out to party with a twist — not many of Bentley's pals want to join him, because they've settled into adulthood, and he hasn't.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
Coming up, some advocates for more expansive reproductive rights say women are being disrespected and demeaned by state and national debates about access to abortion and contraception, particularly those debates that include few, if any women. We are going to hear from a female state lawmaker who has flipped the script and crafted legislation focused on the reproductive choices of men. We'll have that conversation in a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, you've heard the phrase: A mind is terrible thing to waste. That's the longtime slogan of a group that worked to get more African-Americans into college. Well, now a group is saying: Ice time is a terrible thing to waste. There's a new scholarship to try to get more college students of color into hockey. We'll hear more about that in just a few minutes.
Think about something it took you a really long time to learn, like how to parallel park. At first, parallel parking was difficult and you had to devote a lot of mental energy to it. But after you grew comfortable with parallel parking, it became much easier — almost habitual, you could say.
Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 9:05 am
With Iran and its nuclear program looming over the discussions, President Obama said this morning that "the United States will always have Israel's back." The president's comment came with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is at the White House for talks today, by his side.
For his part, Netanyahu told reporters that the U.S. and Israel stand together on policy toward Iran, The Associated Press reports.
The two leaders just held something of a photo op. Other reports on what they had to say:
Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 12:42 pm
Newspapers are dying, right?
You probably think so because, for one thing, you're not reading this in a newspaper.
It'd be a reasonable thought. Newspaper readers gradually have been stopping their subscriptions for many years. And the Internet (NPR.org, too) has steadily stolen readers and advertising revenue for the past decade.
With lots of topics to choose from, including the economy, the 2012 presidential race, Syria, Iran's nuclear ambitions and his meetings today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there will be plenty to ask President Obama about Tuesday afternoon when he holds a just-announced news conference.
There's news from Yemen today that's depressing in its familiarity:
"Al-Qaida militants launched a surprise attack against army bases in southern Yemen, killing 78 soldiers, seizing weapons and parading 55 troops they had taken captive through the center of a town under their control, military officials said.
President Obama told AIPAC, the influential Israel lobbying group, Sunday that his policy on a potential Iranian nuclear weapon was one of prevention, not containment. And in a warning seemingly aimed at Israeli and U.S.
Renee Montagne speaks with Kim Banta, assistant superintendent of schools for Kenton County, Ky. The town of Piner, which is in Banta's school district, was one of the hardest hit by recent tornadoes: at least four people were killed. But many residents are trying to return to normal life Monday — and that includes going back to school.
For those who just felt the earth shake in Northern California, the U.S. Geological Survey says there was a 4.0 magnitude temblor in the "San Francisco bay area" at 5:33 a.m. local time (8:33 a.m. ET).
There's no word yet on whether there was much, if any, damage.
The USGS says the quake was centered about 1 mile from El Cerrito, Calif.
It's no surprise that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Sunday's election to return to the more powerful post he previously held — president. His victory was widely expected. Putin appears to have gotten about two-thirds of the votes.
Also not surprising: Sunday's results are being followed with reports today that, as The Associated Press says, "the opposition and independent observers insisted the vote had been marred by widespread violations."
Update at 6:08 p.m. ET. USA Today's On Politics blog reports that both Sears and Allstate are distancing themselves from Limbaugh as well. Both firms said their media buying firms bought space on the show, today, but they have instructed them not to continue.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Joshua Thompson is a big moviegoer, but high prices at the concession stand left a bad taste in his mouth. So after paying $8 for a Coke and a box of Goobers, Thompson filed a class action lawsuit. It accuses Michigan's AMC Theaters of charging grossly excessive prices for snacks. Consumer lawyers told the Detroit Free Press the lawsuit will likely be a flop, but moviegoers are applauding. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Now, we do not know what songs make Hiroshi Hoketsu move, but the Japanese equestrian does move gracefully on a horse. Just shy of his 71st birthday, he has won a spot at the London Olympics for dressage, where you lead a horse through a series of very precise movements. Japanese officials are still deciding whether they'll let him compete.
Don't let the theme fool you. These three books are anything but failures. They are, in fact, full of sharply rendered and utterly original characters who fail spectacularly in their attempts to do right (or what they think is right). They are men on a mission, variously heroic, harebrained, heartfelt, even cruel, but their good intentions are undeniable, if not always admirable.