National News

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina speaks with students Carlos Cruz and Lluvia Hernandez while visiting a school in Brooklyn earlier this year.

Rethinking A Fall Classic: The Parent-Teacher Conference

So now that students have settled in to the routine of the school year, yet another fall education ritual looms: the parent-teacher conference.

And while there's universal agreement that parent involvement is a good thing, these all-too-short meetings are often frustrating on both sides.

Teachers, and parents, often find them too short and too shallow, too likely to focus on problems, with little time to really get beyond test scores and a few bullet points about the curriculum or homework. And, as children get older, fewer parents tend to show up.

A man played bagpipes on a "short walk to freedom" march in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thursday as polling in the independence referendum began.

Scotland's Historic Decision: Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

Scots decide today whether to end 300 years of union with Great Britain and go it alone as they cast ballots in a historic referendum that is sure to have a lasting impact no matter the outcome.

Public opinion polls in recent days have suggested that Scotland is evenly split on the question and that the vote could be extremely close. The options are to vote "yes" or "no" to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The results are expected on Friday.

Author Jacqueline Woodson reads from her newest novel, Sept. 15.

Jacqueline Woodson On Being A 'Brown Girl' Who Dared To Dream

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

From Coffee To Chicory To Beer, 'Bitter' Flavor Can Be Addictive

Food writer Jennifer McLagan has spent the past few years trying to win home cooks over to the ingredients they fear. She's written a cookbook on fat, one on bones and one titled Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.

In this Illinois ad, Doris and her friend Betty suggestively encourage two young men to come in ... and get voter ID cards.

Ads Get Creative, Even Seductive, To Attract Voters

September is voter registration month, but inspiring Americans to register and vote isn't always easy. Especially with politicians held in such low esteem. So some groups — and a few election officials — are taking a page from the book of Mad Men's Don Draper to get voters to the polls. Who knew that voting could be this much fun?

Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy waves to fans as he arrives for an NFL football practice in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 11, 2014.

Two More NFL Players Placed On 'Exempt List' Over Domestic Violence

Two more players were benched by NFL teams on Wednesday over allegations of domestic violence.

First, the Carolina Panthers placed their star defensive end Greg Hardy on the exempt list and then the Arizona Cardinals deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in December 2013.

Doctor Says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Has 'Rare ... Difficult' Cancer

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who made international news after he admitted to smoking crack, has cancer.

That's according to his doctor, a colorectal surgeon, who confirmed the diagnosis during a press conference on Wednesday.

The Toronto Star reports:

"Dr. Zane Cohen, the renowned colorectal surgeon, said Wednesday that Ford has a malignant liposarcoma. He will be treated with chemotherapy, Cohen said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen.

Federal Reserve To Markets: Nothing To See Here; Move Along

The Federal Reserve's policy makers just eyeballed the economy, and saw nothing new.

On Wednesday, they announced wage-and-price hikes remain low and growth continues at a moderate pace. That means interest rates can stay super low for a "considerable time," while the Fed's bond-buying program can wrap up next month, as expected.

House Passes Bill That Authorizes Arming Syrian Rebels

In a vote that eschewed traditional Washington divisions in favor of novel ones, the House approved a bill that authorized the training and arming of Syrian rebels in their fight against the so-called Islamic State.

The final tally was 273 to 156. But many members of both parties broke ranks with their leaders — Reps. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi — who strongly backed the measure.

Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, leave a news conference after his release from Emory University Hospital on Aug. 21.

The Insights Of An Ebola Doctor Who Became A Patient

He had cared for Ebola patients. He himself caught the virus. Only then, said Dr. Kent Brantly, did he fully grasp the awful nature of this disease.