City Academy in St. Paul, Minn., became the nation's first publicly funded, privately run charter school when it opened its doors in 1992. Its founders, all veteran public school teachers, had tried but failed to create new programs for struggling students in their own schools.
The school helped launch a movement that has since grown to 5,600 charter schools across the U.S. But back in the late 1980s, it faced strong resistance.
U.S. soldiers still patrol in Afghanistan, like this one speaking with a young man in the eastern province of Khost in August. However, Afghan forces are taking on increased responsibility as the U.S. draws down and prepares for its troops to leave by the end of 2014.
Credit Jose Cabezas / AFP/Getty Images
Afghan security forces are already playing a more prominent role, though questions remain about the quality of the forces. Here, an Afghan policeman talks with an elderly man in the eastern province of Khost in August.
Tens of thousands of American troops will be leaving Afghanistan as the NATO-led coalition enters its final two years in the country. Already, more security responsibility is being placed in the hands of the Afghan security forces, says U.S. Gen. John Allen, who heads the NATO-led coalition here.
"The insurgency is today confronted by a rapidly transforming and increasingly capable [Afghan army], which is bearing a larger share of the burden and a larger share of the sacrifice," Allen says.
Isphanyar Bhandara, the head of Pakistan's only brewery, Murree Brewery, sits at his grandfather's desk at the headquarters in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. Bhandara's grandfather was a director at the brewery when Pakistan gained independence in 1947, and he bought a controlling stake in the company. The brewery has been run by the Bhandara family ever since.
A lot has changed for Alanis Morissette in the past two decades. Raised Catholic in Ottawa, she spent much of her youth believing she couldn't sing. When she began her music career as a teenager, it was as a dance-pop artist — and, briefly, Vanilla Ice's opening act. Finally, in 1995, she released Jagged Little Pill, an international smash that made Morissette an overnight celebrity, won her an armload of Grammy awards and left her with a "scorned woman" image that she hasn't shaken since.
Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.
Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.
Along the shore of Lake Erie, the rusting relics of Buffalo, N.Y.'s industrial days have long blocked access to the water and posed risks to residents. Now, after decades of inaction, the city is finally clearing a path for the public to return to the waterfront.
Buffalo's approach has been dubbed "lighter, faster, cheaper." Tom Dee has led this effort as president of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., a special state agency in charge of city waterfront property. He says years were wasted chasing grand redevelopment projects, but now the strategy is more homegrown.
In his book, Robert Sullivan considers, among other things, how little Emanuel Leutze's 1851 painting Washington Crossing the Delaware has in common with the actual historic crossing, which took place at night and during a snowstorm.
Credit Myrna Copaleen / Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Robert Sullivan's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and Vogue, where he is a contributing editor.
When we think of the seminal moments in the birth of the United States of America, many people would point to the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. But according to Robert Sullivan, the founding landscape of our nation is not in Massachusetts. It is in and around New York.
In his new book, My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78, Sullivan writes that the majority of battles in the Revolutionary War were fought in the middle colonies: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:10 pm
Throughout the week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., NPR digital journalists asked delegates, politicians and other attendees to react to the statement: "Why I'm a Republican." Here are some of those responses. (And here's what we heard from Democrats in Charlotte.)
Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 1:48 pm
Correction: the Runner's World calculator discussed below is used for training purposes. A pace calculator estimates that Ryan would have needed to run at about 6:50 per mile to complete a marathon in 2:59.
Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:10 pm
Update at 10:40 a.m. ET:
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast unit the Taliban is claiming responsibility for both attacks, and that two U.S. soldiers are among the injured. One of the bombs exploded about 40 miles west of Kabul, on a road leading to a nearby U.S. military base. The deaths are numerous because there's a busy shopping center there. The other bomb went off near the district governor's compound.
Lawyers for 270 miners in South Africa are threatening legal action if their clients are not released from prison today. The mine workers were charged with murdering their own colleagues after police opened fire on a crowd of about 3,000 striking workers two weeks ago, killing 34 people.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells us the government charged the miners with murder using an obscure legal doctrine employed by the apartheid government.
Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 2:32 pm
Like a quietly efficient operating system whirring away in the innards of a supercomputer, a vast array of Americans — mostly unseen and unsung — spend hours and hours of every week working together to find ways to make their communities — and the whole country — better.
This is Participation Nation.
In a monthlong blog that ended Aug. 31, NPR collected stories of people actively helping other people, animals and the planet. Here is an executive summary of what we discovered.
Art Garfunkel is best known as half of the legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel. The harmonies he created with Paul Simon left an indelible mark on American music, but less remembered is his string of Top 40 hits as a solo artist.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:14 pm
There are so many cooking apps out there, it's easy to get lost. Good thing the iGrill has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its side.
Sales of the $80 device spiked by 400 percent after Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Aug. 19 with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the iGrill, a cooking thermometer that uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.
Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.
Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.
So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.
Greece is trying to raise cash by reviving an ambitious program to privatize state assets. The country's lenders, which include the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, hope the sell-off will cut the country's enormous debt.
But Antonis Tsifis, who runs a betting shop in a working-class neighborhood in Athens, is upset that the government is going to sell its stake in OPAP, the giant gaming firm that oversees his betting shop.
The charter school movement is now at a crossroads. More than 2 million students will be enrolled in charter schools in the fall — a big number for a movement that's barely 20 years old. The publicly funded, privately run schools have spread so fast, they operate more like a parallel school system in some places.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And there are a little more than 60 days left until the presidential election. Democrats are gearing up for their nominating convention, in North Carolina next week. Republicans, of course, held their convention this week, in Florida. And in a moment, we'll hear a report on President Obama's visit to a U.S. military base.