What we're reading - June 10th, 2015

High School Graduation Rates: The Good, The Bad And The Ambiguous - NPR (6/9/15)

Officially, the U.S. has a high school graduation rate of 81 percent — a historic high.

But NPR's months-long investigation, in partnership with reporters at 14 member stations, reveals that this number should be taken with a big grain of salt. NPR found states, cities and districts pursuing a range of strategies to improve the grad rate including: misclassifying students, making it easier to obtain high school diplomas as well as actually providing the long-term support required to raise the grad rate for real. Full article


Michelle Obama Delivers Emotional Commencement Address At Chicago High School - Huffington Post (6/10/15)

“I know the struggles many of you face, how you walk the long way home to avoid the gangs; how you fight to concentrate on your schoolwork when there's too much noise at home; how you keep it together when your family's having a hard time making ends meet. But more importantly, I know the strength of this community.”

Those were the words spoken by first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday to the graduates of King College Prep High School in Chicago’s South Side. Full article and video


Alumni Couple Gives Holy Cross $32.5 for Sports Facilities - Wall Street Journal (6/9/15)

A New York businessman and his wife, who dated while studying at the College of Holy Cross but did not marry until 40 years later, have donated $32.5 million to the Worcester, Mass., school.

The gift from John Luth and Joanne Chouinard-Luth, announced Tuesday, will support renovation and expansion of the campus field house and other aging athletics facilities that is set to begin next year. Full article


Kendrick Lamar raps with high school students - MSNBC (6/9/15)

When a New Jersey high school teacher decided to infuse pop culture in a class syllabus, he probably didn’t see one assignment taking off quite like this. 

After listening to hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar’s newly-released album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” 29-year-old instructor Brian Mooney found that the lyrics had a similar message to a book his students were reading, Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” Mooney shared his findings in his blog, writing that he saw parallel themes between the book and the album, which relates to the constant struggle of Black people trying to discover and accept their racial identity, while constantly being pressured to conform to a universal standard of beauty though media portrayals in popular culture. Full article and video.