Education

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In South Sudan, there’s a saying:  When Elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.  More than fifty years of war has kept the young nation from finding its own footing.  But an effort by Virginia Tech aims to plant seeds of change there.

South Sudan won independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011.  Much more than the grass was trampled and aid groups came in to help rebuild the region. But lasting change depends on the ability of local people to solve local problems and that means training teachers.  

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Lumpkin’s jail in Richmond was once the largest slave-trading facility outside of New Orleans. Known as the ‘Devil’s Half-Acre,’ it was sold to a Baptist minister in 1867 in hopes of establishing an all-black seminary…and would soon be referred to ‘God’s Half-Acre.’ That seminary laid the foundation for a school that thrives today - and, along with the conclusion of the Civil War, has just celebrated its 150th anniversary.

This week’s rain was good news for farmers and gardeners, but at the University of Mary Washington, it was a bit - upsetting.  More than 80 students are living outside this week - in cardboard boxes and makeshift tents - learning how it might feel to be poor. 

“We may need another tarp  but we also need twine, and we need something to prop the middle of the tarp up.” 

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Many universities offer students a chance to study abroad, but Virginia Commonwealth University is offering a whole different travel experience - sending a handful of students to jail. 

As a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, David Coogan had heard of the school to prison pipeline:

Elementary and middle school students who fail Standards of Learning tests by narrow margins will have an opportunity to retake those tests this spring thanks to new regulations passed by the State Board of Education. The rules stem from a law that sailed through the General Assembly—but would not have taken effect until July 1st if the Board had not acted.  

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