Education

What’s special about historically Black colleges and universities

What do Oprah Winfrey, Roy Wood Jr. and Stacey Abrams have in common? They all received diplomas from historically Black colleges or universities. They’re also 3 contributing writers for NPR Weekend Edition Sunday host Ayesha Rascoe’s new essay collection.

A books-to-prisons program creates connection behind bars

Katie Willis and Megan Lyle, founders of the local bookstore Burdock Book Collective, began their books-to-prisons program in 2020.

City OK’s $5 million to help keep Birmingham-Southern College open

BSC President Daniel Coleman said in a statement that next he’ll ask Jefferson County to meet the city’s commitment, focus on private donors and reengage with state leaders to work on getting more funding.

Birmingham-Southern hoped to borrow money. Now the school is on borrowed time

Birmingham-Southern College is running out of money and time. After the State Treasurer rejected the school’s $30 million loan application, school officials must now consider their options, including closing the 167-year-old campus on Birmingham’s west side.

Montgomery judge dismisses Birmingham-Southern College lawsuit against state

Judge James Anderson said he was “sympathetic” to the college, but said after a roughly hour-long hearing that phrasing in the law favored the treasurer.

Birmingham-Southern sues Alabama state treasurer, says college was wrongfully denied loan

The lawsuit contends Treasurer Young Boozer wrongly denied the college a loan from the program created this year to provide a financial lifeline to the institution. The 167-year-old college will likely close without emergency relief from the court, lawyers wrote in the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

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How a rural Alabama school system outdid the country with gains in math

Piedmont City schools notched significant improvement in math, landing in the top spot among school districts across the country in a comparison of scores from before and during the pandemic. Nationwide, students on average fell half a year behind in math, researchers say.

Video shows high school band director shocked with stun gun, arrested after refusing to stop music

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, who is representing band director Johnny Mims as his attorney, said Tuesday that the incident is an “alarming abuse of power” that instead “should have been should have been deescalated.”

Nature-based education on the rise in Alabama

At least three forest schools have opened across Alabama in recent years. It's part of a nationwide movement to teach kids in nature.

Alabama ranked 45th in annual survey of child well-being

While this is one spot higher than the year before, analysts observed Alabama's improvement is largely the result of other states showing poorer outcomes as opposed to Alabama’s child well-being improving.

Birmingham school aims to bring Montessori to Black families

Montessori is an education philosophy that emphasizes student-led learning. It also tends to be associated with rich, suburban families. One Montessori school in Birmingham is flipping that stereotype.

‘Were you scared?’: Birmingham family talks about civil rights then and now

71-year-old Birmingham native Jeff Drew took part in the movement starting as a young child. Drew sat down with his 14-year-old granddaughter Sidnee King to talk about civil rights then and now.

Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states

Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were among only three states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic.

60 years later, kids still march in Birmingham

Sixty years ago thousands of children took to the streets in Birmingham to protest against racism and discrimination. On Friday, teens from around the city gathered to reenact this historic moment known as the Children’s Crusade.

Fentanyl is killing more young people in Alabama

The fentanyl epidemic has opened a new front for schools in the fight against illegal drugs. That’s changing how groups educate students and parents about opioids and harm reduction.

Any school can get you a diploma. This school might get you a house

Fewer young people want to work in trade jobs than ever before, and that’s left a hole in the job market. A private school in Birmingham is giving some young people skills needed to address that problem.

Alabama governor defends dismissal of education leader

Gov. Kay Ivey replaced a Cabinet member who oversaw the state's award-winning prekindergarten program because of a teacher training book with language about inclusion and combatting structural racism, she said Thursday.

Alabama education director ousted over book’s stance on race

Barbara Cooper was forced out as as head of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education after Ivey expressed concern over the distribution of the book to state-run pre-kindergartens.

Birmingham-Southern College to stay open — for now

The decision follows a few tense months after years of financial stress came to a head in December. The private college is asking for $37 million in public money. It hasn’t received that money, but the future's looking brighter for students.

Alabama medicinal plants inspire new UAB art exhibit

The new art exhibit showcases handmade books, sculptures and drawings inspired by medicinal plants found in Alabama.

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An inside look at an AP African American Studies class

As Southern political leaders continue to take aim at critical race theory in education, students at Baton Rouge Magnet High call the AP pilot class empowering.

Birmingham City Council delays BSC funding decision until at least mid-April

The struggling college is seeking $30 million from Alabama’s Education Trust Fund, as well as $5 million from Birmingham and $2.5 million from Jefferson County.

BSC prez ‘disappointed’ legislature didn’t approve funding but will continue push to stay open

The Alabama Legislature opted not to spend some of the state’s $1 billion-plus allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act to keep the financially troubled liberal arts college open.

Hoover says a girls basketball team’s treatment after topping the boys is a miscommunication

After a parent wrote a Facebook post alleging gender discrimination when a girls' basketball team was denied trophies, Hoover City officials said it came down to policy.

How a rare edition of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’  traveled from Italy to Lawson State

Lawson State Community College now owns a rare copy of one of the most influential books in American history. And it took a 5,000 mile journey to get there.

Preparing for the ‘experience of a lifetime’: Birmingham students to sing at Carnegie Hall

The choir at Ramsay High School is heading to Carnegie Hall this May. It’s an opportunity to boost school pride, but also to give some students the experience of a lifetime.

A local hip-hop education group teaches kids life skills

Here in Birmingham, the education collective Knowledge Rhythm and Understanding, known as K.R.U., is using the music genre to teach life skills.

‘Ruffed’ up by school? These dogs help Birmingham students with stress

Comforting kids is a family affair for Foxie and Merlin. The facility dogs are being used as a new tool to help students manage stress and mental health while at school.

Some kids in Birmingham dodge trains and cars walking to school. More buses could help

Alabama only has to provide bus access for families that live within two miles of their school, which leaves some families having to walk in dangerous conditions. Birmingham City Schools is trying to add new routes to address these concerns.

Hoover City Schools canceled Derrick Barnes’ visit. He says it’s political

Hoover school officials say they canceled the Black children's book author's visit due to a controversial social media post. Officials never saw the post after an anonymous parent reported it.

Birmingham-Southern president says he’ll do everything possible to keep the college open

Birmingham-Southern College, a private institution, is asking the state to help bail it out after financial troubles. School President Daniel Coleman shared with WBHM what he sees as the path ahead for the college.

An old school in Birmingham’s Bush Hills is now an urban farm. Residents are thinking bigger

The Bush Hills Community Garden and Urban Farm grows truckloads of produce each year that’s given to area residents free of charge. In addition, the old elementary school on the property will soon be home to a teaching kitchen and community center.