Education

Stories related to teaching on all levels, from pre-K through college.

The opportunity to go to college for free is more available than ever before. States and cities, in the last year especially, have funded programs for students to go to two-year, and in some cases, four-year, schools.

Tennessee has taken the idea one step further. Community college is already free for graduating high school students. Now Tennessee is first state in the country to offer community college — free of charge — to almost any adult.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Rosecrans Baldwin's new novel, The Last Kid Left, probably shouldn't have come out as a summer novel.

At first glance, it has all the hallmarks of a beach read: Summer, a shore town in New Hampshire full of tourists and locals, a murder (double murder, actually) and an investigation which take up several hundred pages. There's a zip to it. A musicianship to the language that makes the whole thing hum like a plucked guitar.

"Why is a welder like a woman in love?"

I'm 7 years old, standing between the two dogwood trees in my backyard. It's autumn; there's a crispness in the golden, late afternoon air. I've taken the hood of my parka and thrown it over my head, but my arms are not in the sleeves. The coat falls over my narrow, bird-boned shoulders and down my back.

Like a cape, you see.

John T. Edge is a man who knows how spin a good yarn. Listening to him talk can feel like falling under the spell of your favorite college professor. He's wickedly smart, funny, warm and welcoming.

And for years, the tale he's been telling is all about Southern food: about its central role in Southern identity, and about what it owes to the African-American and immigrant cooks who have historically been left out of the standard narratives the South tells about itself.

Summer is a time for unabashedly delighting in beach reads. Yes, they're engaging, yes, they go down easy — but regular readers of escapist fiction know they'll find powerful, universal themes and truths tucked within these tasty pages. Here are four books that provide an absorbing escape — they all make for excellent poolside reading — while also meditating on the power of love, duty and family.

Maya Rodale is a bestselling romance author.

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The best kind of nature writing celebrates not the placidly, distantly picturesque — mountaintops and sunsets — but the near, dank, and teeming. The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry's gloriously alive historical novel, squirms with bugs, moss and marsh.

Hello, and welcome to another excitement-filled edition of our weekly news roundup!

Questions about federal law and discrimination for DeVos

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and Democrats pounded her with questions about civil rights protections, particularly for LGBTQ students and those with disabilities. After facing similar questions in a House subcommittee appearance last month, DeVos this time took a new tack, repeating the same answer at least 14 times:

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