Special Broadcast: APM Reports Three Audio Documentaries on Education
As the world has battled with the pandemic for the last year and a half, APM (American Public Media) is exploring the current state of U.S education. During the hour-long documentaries, APM Reports’ hosts and correspondents will look at some of the pressing issues impacting our education right now, including the pandemic, mental health and teacher shortages.
Join NHPR for the special broadcasts, airing on three consecutive Sundays beginning August 8.
The broadcast lineup:
Sunday, August 8 – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Fading Beacon: Why America is losing international students
The first hour explores a sea change in the number of foreign students attending U.S. colleges. Colleges and universities in the United States attract more than a million international students a year. Higher education is one of America’s top service exports, generating $42 billion in revenue. It’s money those institutions need, given the drop in public funding for higher education. After the Great Recession, a rapid rise in full-pay international students, especially from China and India, helped make up for the loss of public support. But the money spigot is closing.
The pandemic, visa restrictions, rising tuition and a perception of poor safety in America have driven new international student enrollment down by a jaw-dropping 72%. Tuition dollars aren’t the only loss. In the past, international exchanges served as a form of diplomacy, forging ties between the United States and other countries.
In this hour, APM teams up with Karin Fischer of the Chronicle of Higher Education to trace America’s rise as a global beacon for higher education and examine what’s lost as that changes.
Sunday, August 15 – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Who Wants to Be a Teacher?
Many schools around the country are struggling to find enough teachers. Large numbers of teachers quit after a short time on the job, so schools are constantly struggling to replace them. The problem is particularly acute at rural schools and urban schools. The most common level of experience of teachers in the United States now is one year on the job. At the same time, enrollment in teacher training programs at colleges and universities is plummeting, and schools are looking to other sources to fill classrooms.
In Nevada, a desperate need for teachers this year led to allowing people with just a high school diploma to fill in as substitutes. Oklahoma recently changed its law to allow people with a bachelor’s degree - in anything - to teach indefinitely on emergency teaching certificates. Schools in Texas are increasingly turning to for-profit teacher training programs. Data we obtained shows that nearly one in four of the teachers hired in Texas last year came through a single for-profit online program – one that’s now making its way into other states. APM will take a look at the implications of these changes, both for children and for the teaching force.
Sunday, August 22 – 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Under Pressure: The college mental health crisis
Even before the pandemic, campus counselling services were reporting a marked uptick in the number of students with anxiety, clinical depression and other serious psychiatric problems. A 2019 survey found that 66 percent of college students felt overwhelming anxiety during the last year. Almost half felt so depressed that it was difficult to function. Some 13 percent seriously considered suicide. Students and parents are pressing colleges to provide more support and accommodations for students with mental health challenges.
College administrators are feeling pressure to do more to retain students whose mental health issues might otherwise lead them to drop out – and to ensure that students don’t harm themselves or others. This collaboration between APM Reports and the Call to Mind project asks: What is a college’s responsibility for helping students navigate mental health challenges, and how well are colleges rising to the task?
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