National News

In June Jobs Numbers, Signs For Optimism

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

The job market improved in June, as employers added 288,000 workers to their payrolls and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. In another welcome development, the ranks of the long-term unemployed declined.

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For Militants, Founding Of Caliphate Is Win In Rhetoric, Not Reality

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

On the first night of Ramadan, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria announced it would change its name to, simply, the Islamic State, declaring that the land it had captured in Syria and Iraq constituted a new caliphate. The group's leader is trying to use this new narrative to wrest control of the global jihad from al-Qaida.

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To Combat Ebola Outbreak, Health Officials Call For 'Drastic' Action

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

The World Health Organization is wrapping up an emergency meeting with officials in West Africa about the Ebola virus. Local health ministries are saying they don't have enough funds to help contain what is now the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak on record.

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Immigration Debate Splits California City In Two

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:09

Immigration protests are expected to continue for some time in Murrieta, Calif. After protesters turned away buses of undocumented immigrants bound for a processing center, the town now finds itself at the center of the political debate on immigration.

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Hiring Looks Good Now, But Wage Growth Lags

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 12:03

The improving labor market in June did not translate into significant pay hikes. Wages were just 2 percent higher compared with a year ago. Consumer prices have been rising at a 2.1 percent rate.

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What education was like in 1776

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:56

On-the-job training ruled. Learning was all about apprenticeships back then, according to Paula Fass, a history professor at UC- Berkeley. Blacksmiths, brewers, printers and other tradesmen learned their crafts on the job.  Women learned most of  their skills--spinning, cooking, sewing, at home.  "In our school-centered obsession we forget that learning used to take place in a much more broad-based way,"says Fass.

Only white men were formally educated. While some white men never received much formal education, almost nobody else received any.  Girls were sometimes educated, but they didn’t go to college. Blacks were mostly forbidden to learn to read and write, and Native Americans were not part of the colonial education system.  They relied mainly on oral histories to pass down lessons and traditions.

Classroom, what classroom? Actual schools were found mainly in cities and large towns. For most other people, education meant a tutor teaching a small group of people in someone's home or a common building.  And the school year was more like a school season: usually about 13 weeks, says USC historian Carole Shammas.  That meant that there was almost no such thing as a professional teacher.  

Books were few and far between. There were no public libraries in the country in 1776.  The biggest book collections were at colleges.  Books were so expensive that getting a large enough collection to provide a serious education was one of the biggest barriers to founding a college.  When Harvard was founded in 1636, it had a collection of about 1,000 books, which was considered an enormous amount at the time, according to Paula Fass.

Writing joined the other R’s. Teaching students to read was a lot easier than teaching writing, and writing was not necessary in a lot of professions.  So many students learned just to read and do math.  By 1776, teaching writing was becoming much more common.

No papers, pens, or pencils.  Most students worked on slates--mini-chalkboards that allowed students to erase their work and keep at it until they got it right.  Paper was expensive, so it was not commonly used, which also meant pens were not often used.  Pencils had not yet been invented.

Surrounded By Digital Distractions, We Can't Even Stop To Think

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:31

A study on the wandering mind had a simple request: Just think. But many participants couldn't sit still for very long, and they even were willing to shock themselves to avoid doing nothing.

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Chinese Leader's Seoul Visit Seen As Snub To North Korea

NPR News - Thu, 2014-07-03 10:23

Xi Jinping's first visit to the Korean Peninsula finds him in Seoul, not Pyongyang, in a possible sign of strained Sino-North Korean ties.

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