Business & Education

Business & education news

Tens of thousands of students are back in school this morning in Chicago.

As we told you yesterday, the Chicago Teachers Union voted to end the seven-day walkout. This morning, reports The Chicago Sun-Times, everyone was excited to get back to normal — the teachers, the students and even the mayor.

The Sun-Times reports:

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding millions in grants to historically black colleges in Alabama.

The five-year grants will affect curriculum and teaching programs, campus building improvements and the purchase of scientific equipment.

BOC / Alabama State Treasury

The legal battle over Alabama's financially troubled prepaid college tuition program is headed back to the Alabama Supreme Court. A Montgomery judge ruled Monday that a law passed by the Legislature in the spring to permit reduced tuition payments is constitutional. The state Supreme Court had asked Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick to review the law before the high court considers it. If the Supreme Court agrees with Hardwick, then the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan will be able to pay reduced rates rather than full tuition.

Update at 8:03 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wills seek a court order to end the teachers strike, and that the strike is illegal under state law.

Update at 12:57 p.m. ET. University of Texas Reopens:

The University of Texas has reopened, after a phoned bomb threat prompted the evacuation of its entire Austin campus this morning.

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

Shelton State Community College

The State Board of Education has chosen the president of Shelton State Community College to be the chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to select Mark Heinrich of Tuscaloosa over Blake Flanders, who is vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents. Board members said they were swayed by the way Heinrich got Shelton State back on sound ground after corruption problems in some of Alabama's two-year colleges.

One of the primary issues at the heart of the the Chicago teachers' strike is whether student test scores should be used to evaluate teachers and determine their pay. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing that approach, as are other officials around the nation.

But many teachers insist that it's inherently unfair to grade their teaching based on their students' learning.

What's At Stake For U.S. Teachers

Sep 13, 2012

The intractable issues that led to the teachers' strike in Chicago are being argued about in states and school districts across the country.

The past decade has been a time of enormous ferment in education policy, with numerous new ideas and approaches being promoted by everyone from conservative think tanks to the well-heeled Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Obama administration officials.

UPDATE: 11:37 a.m. As expected, the New York Board of Health passed a rule banning sugary drinks like soda in sizes 16 oz. or larger at restaurants, concession stands and other eateries in an effort to combat obesity today. The ban is expected to take effect in March, but according to the Wall Street Journal, opponents are already considering a legal challenge to prevent that. It passed 8-0.

The State Board of Education is meeting to interview the two finalists for chancellor of Alabama's two-year college system.

The board has interviews in Montgomery starting at 9 a.m. Thursday with Mark Heinrich, who is president of Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, and Blake Flanders, who is vice president of workforce development for the Kansas Board of Regents.

The school board is looking for a replacement for Freida Hill, who stepped down in March under pressure from some board members.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. / University of Alabama

An assistant professor at the University of Alabama, Suzanne Horsley, will be honored at the White House on Friday.

She's one of nine people being recognized as "Champions of Change" for the time and effort they have devoted to the American Red Cross.

I kind of think of Philz Coffee in Palo Alto, Calif., as the epicenter of Apple fanatics. It's so hip, only hand-poured specialty blends are sold here.

Every day dozens of techie types come to Philz for coffee and then lounge around on the leather sofa sipping away, often with Apple products scattered in front of them.

Yeliz Ustabas has an Apple laptop perched next to her and an iPhone balanced on her knee.

If you didn't know that a Big Mac has 550 calories, or the Southwest Chicken Salad has 290, those numbers will be hard to miss the next time you visit McDonald's.

That's because the fast-food giant announced today that it will begin posting calories on its menu boards right above customers heads in the restaurant, and at the drive-thru starting next week.

As a strike by Chicago's schoolteachers enters a third day, the president of their union says negotiators are still "miles apart" from an agreement to get 350,000 students back in the classroom, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The talks were set to resume Wednesday morning, but Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said there had been only "centimeters" of progress and that the union and city were still "kilometers apart."

There will be a lot of questions about the iPhone 5 before its release Wednesday. Less popular among them: Why do we care so much?



From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with day two of the Chicago teachers' strike. Some 350,000 students are affected by the walkout in the nation's third-largest school district. We'll have a report on how the strike is playing out in the presidential race.

CORNISH: But, first, NPR's Sonari Glinton reports on how parents, churches and local charities are scrambling to figure out what to do with so many kids with nowhere to go.

The iPhone 5 will give a nice boost to U.S. economic growth in the last three months of this year, according to a new note from JPMorgan.



This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Apple is expected to release its latest iPhone this week, but we have a guest to tell you why you want to take a close look at that - or any other new contract, for that matter - before you sign on the dotted line. That's coming up.

But, first, we turn to Chicago, where hundreds of thousands of students are out of class. That's because the nation's third-largest school district has been shut down by a teachers' strike.

Striking teachers in Chicago manned the picket lines for a second day today as parents again scrambled to occupy their stay-at-home kids.

Some 350,000 of the district's students are locked out of their classrooms because city officials and thousands of teachers represented by the Chicago Teachers Union have yet to reach a contract. The strike is the first by public school teachers in the Chicago in 25 years.



The economy added only about 100,000 private sector jobs last month - far fewer than had been expected.

And as NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, a close reading of the numbers reveals that many of those jobs are low wage.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Some of the nation's job growth has been in places like this - a suburban mall near Seattle. While many shoppers aren't spending like they did before the economic crash, they are buying more than they did a couple of years ago.

With the Chicago Teachers Union on strike, the Chicago Public Schools opened more than 140 sites Monday to help provide child care for students affected by the strike. Renee Montagne speaks with Lorraine Forte, editor-in-chief of Catalyst Chicago, a nonprofit watchdog covering education in the city. She visited a couple of schools on Monday that are providing child care, and also went to an alternate site at a local community center.

It was a major accomplishment in Chicago that teachers who used to walk out frequently had, for the past 25 years, managed to avoid a strike. But it's not surprising, many experts say, that things would fall apart now.

"I think it is a perfect storm," says Tim Knowles, head of the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute. He says issues in Chicago — of tying teacher pay to student test scores, job security, longer school days and expanding charter schools, for example — are not unlike issues unions have grappled with in other cities, from New York to Los Angeles.

The web hosting company GoDaddy has been experiencing severe outages today. Many of its members are complaining that their service is down.

How wide this outage spreads is hard to tell, but GoDaddy aknowledged it was having problems on its Twitter stream.

"We're aware of the trouble people are having with our site," it said. "We're working on it."

The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio faces questions about its accreditation because of a course description that links homosexuality with crimes like murder, rape and robbery.

The university's social work program offers the course, called SWK 314 Deviant Behavior. The course description reads: "The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use."

Remember the dark days of 2008 when insurer American International Group Inc., better known as AIG, nearly collapsed under the weight of the mortgage crisis before Washington rode to the rescue to the tune of $182 billion?

Then there was the public outrage when AIG executives got millions in bonuses after receiving the largest of all of the Wall Street bailouts.

Since then, the New York-based insurance giant has been essentially a government-owned enterprise, with Uncle Sam holding a controlling share.

Teachers in Chicago walked off the job Monday after contract negotiations fell through, leaving 400,000 students in the nation's third-largest district shut out of their classrooms.

Contract talks broke down late last night, and by Monday morning Chicago public school teachers, many wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs, were picketing around the city for the first time in a quarter-century.



And today's last word in business is: Tender Shoots.

That's one of the hot colors for Spring 2013, according to a statement from Pantone, the New Jersey color company that works with designers to decide the dominant hues for the fashion industry each season. And since it's fashion week in New York, we're paying attention to this.

Tender Shoots tops a list for women. Pantone describes it as vibrant yellow-green - invigorating, active and cheerful.

Women have fought tirelessly to establish equal footing for themselves in relationships, politics and the workplace, and according to writer Hanna Rosin, they've finally arrived.

In her new book, The End of Men: And The Rise of Women, Rosin argues that the U.S. has entered an era of female dominance.

Interview Highlights

On how the rise of women is largely an economic story

Most Los Angeles residents only know the Veterans Affairs medical center in West Los Angeles as something they glimpse from their cars when they're on traffic-choked Wilshire Boulevard. From the road it looks like a park, but within the grounds is the largest medical facility in the VA's health care system.