National News

Photographer Mary Ellen Mark Dies At 75

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 12:10

The influential photographer was known mostly for her humanist work.

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Prolific Fantasy And Science Fiction Writer Tanith Lee Has Died

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 12:00

Lee wrote dozens of books, including Don't Bite The Sun and Death's Master -- the latter of which was part of her popular Flat Earth series. She was 67.

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Despite An Economy On The Rise, American Paychecks Remain Stuck

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 11:53

NPR's "Day 1" series looks at major issues the next president will face in office. One issue is that Americans still aren't seeing big raises, even though the job market is slowly recovering.

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Federal Appeals Court Leaves Hold On Obama's Immigration Orders

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 11:12

The president has sought to give temporary protection from deportation to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

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Oyler School struggles to make a community model work

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-26 11:08

On a spring morning at Oyler School, in Cincinnati, Ohio, an announcement comes over the PA system: "Would the following students please report to the cafeteria..." It sounds like someone's in trouble.

But, it's just the opposite. They're being summoned for a  donut breakfast — a reward for making the honor roll, or missing no more than two days of school during the quarter.

Step one in turning around a school like Oyler: getting kids to show up. Children living in poverty get sick more often. They have to take care of brothers and sisters. Families move a lot, or don’t have reliable transportation, and sometimes a little nudge helps.

“Come on up,” principal Amy Randolph tells the students gathered at tables in front of her. “You can have as many donuts as your stomach will allow.”

Jami Luggen (left), resource coordinator at Oyler School, and principal Amy Randolph talk with police officers in Lower Price Hill.

Mary Wiltenburg/Marketplace

The state of Ohio has a minimum attendance requirement, and last year Oyler didn't meet it. So out came incentives like the donuts, and raffles for gift cards to places like Chipotle and H&M.

“School wide, we have increased about 5 percent just in this past school year, so I think that that is an indicator that there’s a little more motivation,” Randolph says.

Can a school really transform a community? Marketplace spent a year following along after the $21 million renovation of Oyler School. Explore the stories and meet the people featured in "One Year, One School."


But it’s going to take a lot more than donuts and gift cards to transform Oyler, which is ranked among the lowest-performing schools in the state. It’s going to take higher scores on state tests. After several years of progress, Oyler has backslid in the last two years. And this year Ohio switched over to new, and by all accounts harder, tests aligned with the Common Core standards.

“Oh, it was a lot harder,” says eighth-grader Justin Justice.

Justin and his classmates spent this spring prepping for the second round of the new math tests. Justin says he did pretty well on the first round back in February.

Still, Rachel Tapp, his teacher, says test scores can’t capture everything Oyler has achieved.

“I agree that we need accountability, but I do wish we had a better way of showing the work that actually gets done around here, because it is amazing,” she says. "It does feel bad to fail over and over and over in the eyes of the state.”

A lot of the work Tapp is talking about happens outside the classroom. Oyler, which serves children from preschool through 12th grade, is built on the idea that before kids can learn, you have to meet their basic needs. In the last 10 years the school has brought in a health clinic and vision center. It has a tutoring program with hundreds of volunteers. Recent additions include a free clothing store and a dental clinic.

Oyler School student Bradley Daniels is treated at the Delta Dental Center, a recent addition to Oyler’s array of services.

Mary Wiltenburg/Marketplace

Tucked away in a former storage space, 11th grade student Bradley Daniels reclines in an exam chair, mouth wide open, getting his first teeth cleaning in years. His mom, Tabitha Gribbins, sits by his side.

“It’s exciting to watch him grow,” she says. “College is next, and I don’t know — moving out and moving on up in the world.”

Not enough kids are taking that step. Today Oyler’s high school graduates 40 to 50 kids every year, but Principal Randolph says only about half of students who start as ninth-graders finish in four years.

“We should be graduating 95 to 100 percent of the kids that start,” she says. “It’s a small high school. It’s designed for these students. So we’re working on figuring out, what can we do better to make sure we’re doing that?”

Randolph took over last year after the school’s long-time principal resigned. With all the services in place, she can focus more on the academics. This year the school got a three-year, $1 million federal School Improvement Grant. Randolph hired instructional coaches to help teachers and launched a literacy program for the elementary grades.

“There is a direct correlation with third-grade reading levels and high school dropout rates,” she says.

In the high school, kids are taking their first Advanced Placement classes, using new laptops they can bring home. With Oyler, the job doesn't stop inside the school. Part of its mission is to help revive a neighborhood plagued by drugs, prostitution and poverty.

Far left, Oyler School in Lower Price Hill in Cincinnati, as seen from the corner of Neave and Staebler Streets.

Stacy Doose/Marketplace

After school, Randolph takes a walk through streets full of kids and neighbors enjoying a warm spring day. It was a on a day like this last summer when a young man was shot here. In front of a small park, a tree is decorated with stuffed animals and flowers in his memory.

“It was real tragic because it was in the middle of a community cookout,” she says. A toddler witnessed the shooting. “It was pretty horrific.”

Still, there are signs of progress. There's a new pizza place and a community and art space run by a nonprofit ministry. One of the school’s latest partnerships brought free WiFi to the neighborhood. Oyler has started a new project, working with the city and local landlords and developers to create stable, affordable housing for its families.

That’s a lot for a school to take on. But it’s going to take a lot to create the kind of community where kids have little more to worry about than doing well in school.

“Until we build and we have what we need, we’re just going to keep working, keep chipping away," Randolph says.

The Oyler Glee Club performs the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a Cincinnati Cyclones game. From left, Brittney Campbell, Kurtis Moser, Precious Gary and Savannaha Stidham.

Mary Wiltenburg/Marketplace

Got A Voice For Radio? The Algorithm Speaks

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 10:50

In response to our call, nearly a thousand NPR listeners submitted voice samples. Now, the algorithm has rendered its judgment.

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British Pub Ye Olde Fighting Cocks Is Asked To Change Its Name

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 10:20

PETA says the pub's name should reflect "society's growing compassion for animals and in celebration of intelligent, sensitive chickens."

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In Search Of Bandwidth, Cuban Entrepreneurs Head To Miami

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 09:56

Cuba needs the Internet to rebuild its ragged economy. That's why fledgling private businesspeople are traveling to Miami to learn how to do business online.

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Malaysia Airlines Plans To Cut A Third Of Its Workforce

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 08:50

The airline has been losing money for several years, and its brand was irreparably damaged by the loss of two planes last year.

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Lovely Illustrations From The Story Of A Black Boy Who Dreams Of Going To Mars

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 08:39

The authors — who are black and queer — didn't see a lot of kids like them in children's books growing up. They wanted to help change that.

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Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping May Benefit Children Years Later

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 08:06

Giving the newborn one last boost of blood from the placenta may help boost social and motor skills at age 4, a study finds. Earlier studies have found health benefits in infancy.

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When 'Petting Parties' Scandalized The Nation

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 06:58

In post World War I America, young people shocked their elders with jazz music, jitterbug dancing and public displays of affection.

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Iranian Court Begins Espionage Trial Of 'Washington Post' Reporter

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 06:29

Iran's state news agency says Jason Rezaian, 39, "is accused of espionage for the US government and activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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Second Opinions Are Often Sought, But Their Value Isn't Clear

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 06:23

Patients facing serious illnesses often seek medical reviews of their cases. Some people glean helpful advice, but researchers don't have much data about whether the consults lead to better results.

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Reports: Cleveland, Justice Department Reach Agreement Over Police Conduct

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 06:20

Similar settlements — known as consent decrees — have required cities to allow independent monitors to oversee new policies. They typically also require new training.

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New Mothers Get A New Kind Of Care In Rural Nigeria

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 05:58

Local clinics may have "no staff and no stuff." Big hospitals are hard to reach. But when community health workers come to live in a village, there's a change for the better.

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Just How Big Is The Asia Trade Deal Obama Wants? It's A Beast

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 05:03

The 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership President Obama wants to get done account for almost 36 percent of world's economy, which would be by far the largest U.S. trade pact.

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Charter To Pay $78B For Time Warner Cable

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 05:02

The deal comes after federal regulators killed the proposed merger between Time Warner and Comcast. NPR's Renee Montagne speaks with correspondent Jim Zarroli for more details on the proposed deal.

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At Least 5 Are Dead As Storms, Flooding Ravage Texas, Oklahoma

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 03:18

From Houston to Dallas and into Oklahoma torrential rains led to violent floods, which killed at least five and left 12 missing in Texas. The bad news? More rain is in the forecast.

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Game For Ancient Grain: Palestinians Find Freekeh Again

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 03:03

The young, roasted form of wheat has been eaten in the Middle East for millennia. But over time many Palestinians replaced it with rice. Now it's becoming a nutritious, native food worthy of pride.

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