National / International News

US to check IS 'chemical weapon' use

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:55
The United States will investigate "extremely serious allegations" that militant group Islamic State used chlorine gas against Iraqi police officers.

Hen party death lorry driver cleared

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:49
A lorry driver is cleared of causing the death by dangerous driving of a woman on a hen party in West Yorkshire.

Vocational high schools: Where job skills are the goal

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:46

.chart div{background-color:#0E477F;text-align:right;padding:3px;margin:1px;color:#fff}.chart-text{font-size:1em;font-family:sans-serif}@media screen and (max-width:480px){.chart-text{font-size:.8em}} This story originally appeared on "American RadioWorks" as part of their hour-long documentary "Ready to Work: Reviving Vocational Ed." 

If there’s one message today’s high school students hear over and over again, it’s this: Go to college.

But Liz King, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, has known since middle school that college was not for her.

“I’m not a book person,” she says. “You know you are or you’re not.”

So, when the time came, King asked to go to Minuteman, a vocational high school near by. She wanted to become a hairdresser.

“I wasn’t having any of that,” says King’s mom, Jeanette Chapman. Years earlier, her son had asked if he could go to Minuteman to study plumbing. She said no to him too.

“I just had the impression that going to vocational school, he would miss out on something, a profession where you could make more money,” Chapman says. “I think it was all to do with making more money.”

Chapman, like most parents, wanted her kids to go to college. Surveys show more than 90 percent of Americans believe a college education is important.

More than 90 percent of Americans believe a college education is important, but only 32 percent of people over the age of 24 have a bachelor’s degree.

“You’ve got a paradigm that’s embraced by almost everybody, but the reality is that by the time they get to their late 20s, only 30 percent of young people have actually gotten a four-year degree,” says Bill Symonds, director of the Global Pathways Institute and author of a 2011 report for the Harvard Graduate School of Education called Pathways to Prosperity. The report argues the U.S. is failing to prepare millions of young people to lead successful lives because high schools focus too narrowly on an academic, college-prep approach to education.

Symonds says there are millions of good jobs that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree. Many of those jobs are in so-called “middle-skill” occupations, like construction manager and computer technician. These jobs tend to require professional licenses and certificates, but not college.  According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, the median certificate holder out-earns more than a quarter of people who have Bachelor’s degrees.

Straight to college — or not

Thirty-four percent of 2013 high school graduates were not enrolled in college as of Oct. 2013

Enrolled1.96 million Not enrolled1.01 million Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Minuteman

Minuteman Regional High school, a vocational school outside of Boston, offers the kind of education in which, Symonds says, the nation should invest more. Students spend half their time in academic classes and half in a career major. They can choose high tech fields like robotics and computer programming or traditional trades like plumbing and carpentry.

Steve Hurley, a graduate of the electrical wiring program, says he chose Minuteman because he “didn’t want to get out of high school and not know what I was going to do with my life.”

Hurley graduated in 2014 with a certificate that helped him get started as an electrician’s apprentice. If he becomes a certified electrician, he can expect to make about  $40,000 a year to start. That’s higher than the median wage for all workers in the United States.

Michelle Roche, director of career and technical education at Minuteman, says lots of kids who might otherwise drop out of high school end up thriving in vocational school.

“The students who have not felt success when they’re in a traditional academic school, where they've got to sit, the teacher’s talking at them, they’ve got to regurgitate this information, they've got to memorize and study. They’ll come here and they’re standing on their feet, they’re working with their hands, they figure out a problem,” she says. “And success breeds success.”

Graduation rates at regional vocational high schools in Massachusetts are actually higher than at traditional high schools.

'If I went to college, I would waste a crap-load of money'

Liz King, the aspiring hairdresser, convinced her mother to let her go to Minuteman, by promising to take all the college prep classes, in case she changed her mind about going to college.

But King says she knew college wasn’t for her.

“I thought that if I went to college, I would waste a crapload of money,” she says. “I knew I wasn’t good at studying. I was a procrastinator. And if someone was like, ‘Hey Liz, let’s go party, hey Liz, let’s go NOT study,’ I would’ve been like. ‘OK!’ I’m not self-motivated like that.”

But she is motivated about her career in cosmetology.

King graduated from Minuteman in 2004. By then, she had completed enough training hours in school to take the exam for her cosmetology license. She took the test days after she finished her high school classes and had her license by the time she walked across the stage to get her Minuteman diploma.

“My thing was having my certification before I walked,” she says. “That was more important to me than my diploma.”

King is now 28. She’s married, has a baby, and is doing what she loves.  She and a business partner recently opened their own hair salon. It’s called J&L Studio, in Arlington, Massachusetts.

King won’t say how well it’s doing, but she says her family is “good, we’re comfortable, we’re paying our bills.”

She also says that when it’s time for her daughter to look at high schools, she plans to take her to Minuteman.

“Who knows, she might be book smart and want to be a doctor and then I don’t know if Minuteman would be the right choice for her. Maybe she would need like a Harvard-type high school. But, says King, “I want her to know that it’s not one way or no way.”

What you learn, what you earn

Average earnings of U.S. workforce by education

Graduate degree$76,000 Bachelor's degree$54,300 Associate's degree$42,088 Certificate$34,946 Some college, no degree$34,624 High school graduate$29,202 High school dropout$20,480 Source: Georgetown University

What do I love to do?

Ed Bouquillon, the superintendent of the school district where Minuteman is located, says when students graduate from Minuteman he wants them to be able to answer two questions: What do I do well? And what do I love to do?

“And we’ll connect the answers to occupations or college majors,” he says.

When he meets with parents, he asks them if they know the answers to those two questions.

“Some say ‘yeah,” he says. “And some say, ‘Boy, I wish someone had asked me that in high school.’”

Should love be symbolised by a lock?

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:46
Why the padlocks of Paris are a poor symbol of romance

VIDEO: Speed racing on city ring-road

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:42
Coventry is to become the first city in the UK to stage competitive motor-sport on public roads.

Bird of prey deaths 'not deliberate'

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:40
Police say birds of prey found dead in Ross-shire were probably accidentally poisoned as they make a fresh appeal for information.

The numbers for October 24, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:35

Amazon shares dropped 95 cents at close Thursday and the company posted disappointing earnings with operating losses at $544 million. It has been a big quarter for Amazon, with new acquisitions, well-received original series, ugly publisher fights and a disastrous smartphone launch.

The Fire Phone loomed large over the earnings call, which by itself has cost Amazon $170 million. With that new perspective, Forbes just published a review of the cash-hemorrhaging, actually-not-bad device.

Here are some other numbers we're watching and other stories we're reading Friday:

$5.5 million

Ello is jumping off of that new venture capital infusion and becoming a public benefit corporation, Wired reported. Critics have noted the social network's ad-free, data-benevolent ethos might not stand up to investor pressure or future revenue opportunities. But its new PBC status — a relatively new designation — and charter prohibits Ello or any future buyer from selling advertising or user data.

64 percent

The portion of American adults who don't know that online price discrimination — steering different users toward different price points based on cookies and other data — is legal. A new study from Northwestern University shows this practice is widespread, used by major retailers and travel sites. Time has a guide for users trying to get the best price.

95,000

That's how many temporary employees UPS will bring on this holiday season, up 10,000 from last year. Overall, holiday retail hiring is expected to surpass 800,000 employees this year, the highest it has been since 1999. Though those temp positions only turn into permanent jobs for a few.

$200,000

The man who bought Ebola.com for $13,500 just sold the domain name to a Russian cannabis company for $200,000 in cash and stock, the Verge reported. That's $50,000 more than his asking price.

'Slavery' police search for more men

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:32
Police who investigated the "modern day slavery" case of a vulnerable man found working unpaid on a farm, say they are looking for other missing men.

Puffer fish poisons 11 in Brazil

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:32
Eleven people fell seriously ill in Brazil after eating a deadly puffer fish for lunch, it was reported.

Suarez gets help for impulse to bite

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:31
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez says he is getting professional help as he seeks to overcome an "impulse" to bite opponents.

Rwanda bans BBC over genocide film

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:29
Rwanda suspends BBC broadcasts in the Kinyarwanda language with immediate effect because of a controversial documentary about the 1994 genocide.

Go Figure: The week in numbers

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:29
The week in numbers with our Go Figure images.

Farmer jailed over £1m will fraud

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:26
A County Armagh farmer who tried to use a forged will to inherit most of a £1m estate from an elderly woman has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Norfolk schools inquiry faces review

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:24
The investigation into alleged inspection irregularities at three Norfolk schools will be reviewed by an "independent figure", says Ofsted.

Trio offer Rangers cash injections

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:21
Mike Ashley and Brian Kennedy join Dave King in offering Rangers a cash injection as director Philip Nash resigns.

In Minnesota, Abandoned Wheelchairs Are Just Part Of The Landscape

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:09

If you live in Rochester, Minn., you'll get used to seeing wheelchairs left in odd places. The city is home to the Mayo Clinic, after all. But some of those wheelchairs venture far afield indeed.

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Plaid 'could hold balance of power'

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:03
Plaid Cymru MPs could help decide who takes power after next year's general election, party leader Leanne Wood tells its conference.

Russia 'helped Yanukovych to flee'

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 08:02
Vladimir Putin says for the first time that Russia helped Ukraine's ex-President Viktor Yanukovych to flee after he was ousted in February.

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-10-24 07:53

New research suggests that curiosity triggers chemical changes in the brain that help us better understand and retain information.

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Suicide mother gave girls acid drink

BBC - Fri, 2014-10-24 07:48
A mother poisoned herself and her two young daughters by drinking acid after struggling to get on with her in-laws, an inquest hears.

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