Education

A jittery group of middle-schoolers is about to start the first day of classes since September, when Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico and totally disrupted the island's school system.

The vast majority of the island's public schools — more than 98 percent — are open for at least part of the day, according to Puerto Rico's Department of Education.

Lyft is unveiling a new education program for drivers, offering access to discounted GED and college courses online. The move is an interesting experiment in the gig economy, where a growing class of workers receive zero benefits from a boss and yet competition for their time is fierce.

Many Lyft drivers see their work for the company as a stopgap measure, a flexible way to make money while they try to build a career.

The last time China pressured Hong Kong to scrap its curriculum in favor of one developed by China's Communist Party-led government, tens of thousands marched through the city chanting, "Down with national education!"

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hello and welcome to another edition of our weekly education news roundup! These are a few of the big stories that got our attention this week.

U.S. readers slip a bit

Fourth-grade students in the Russian Federation and Singapore earned top scores on the PIRLS 2016, an international assessment of reading comprehension given every five years. Perhaps most impressive, more than a quarter of students in both countries are, according to the results, advanced readers.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Puerto Rican effort to advance from response to recovery after Hurricane Maria continues. For some, water and electricity are still elusive. And that makes it hard to get back to normal — especially for children.

An after-school program is designed to pick up when school lets out. The program – which has no formal name – is organized by volunteers and the nonprofit Save the Children. In a territory still lacking basic utilities in some places, Facebook access and YouTube videos are a lower priority. But kids need something to do.

The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation's schools and colleges.

K-12

Let's start with K-12. There, Republicans from both sides of Congress generally agree on two big changes.

Saving for private school

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting up to 17 percent of the population, who have difficulty reading, writing and spelling. Recognizing dyslexia in students who are just learning to read can be difficult, but once the disorder is identified, it can be addressed through special education. The earlier, the better.

Jessica Ladd was sexually assaulted while at Pomona College, just as one in five college women are. She says she found the reporting process, "more traumatic than the assault" itself. She felt "like I didn't have control. A lack of agency. I wasn't believed, and ended up regretting reporting."

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