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Today we start with two education stories. First, the Los Angeles Unified School District is considering this week whether to lower its college prep course grade requirement from a C to a D. Why aren’t students making the cut? Then, student debt for college educations has grown so big, some borrowers are now simply refusing to repay their loans. Has ignoring debt become a moral stand -- and is it right? Next, New York Times correspondent Gardiner Harris talks to Madeleine about his decision to leave a reporting post in New Delhi because of the city’s hazardous air pollution problem. And author Sarai Walker talks about her new novel Dietland, which tackles the culture of weight loss “miracles.” And finally, in our weekly television roundup, Sense8 and why Entourage faltered in the small screen to big screen transition.

Banner Image Credit: Shannan Muskopf

LAUSD Considers Lowering Student Standards 7 MIN, 17 SEC

Under current rules, at least two-thirds of LAUSD tenth graders are not on track to graduate in 2017. A rule passed in 2012 requires that high school students pass college prep courses with a C grade or better in order to graduate. The plan was intended to create a more college-ready group of kids, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. So tomorrow, the school board will consider whether to lower the grade requirement from a C to a D. Why aren’t students making the grade?

Vanessa Romo, LA School Report (@vanromo)

The Morality of Debt 7 MIN, 49 SEC

The sticker price for most private colleges these days is north of $60,000. That’s leaving millions of Americans struggling to pay back school loans. So much that some of them are now refusing to pay back their student debt. But is that OK? How did ignoring debt turn into a moral stand?

Photo: Bossi

Randy Cohen, Person Place Thing (@randylandia)

Leaving New Delhi 9 MIN, 16 SEC

Here in Los Angeles, we have some of the worst air quality in the country. But our air is only a fraction as polluted as New Dehli, India, which has some of the worst air in the world -- twice as bad as Beijing's. It’s a hazard for everyone living there, but especially children. Half of all schoolchildren have irreversible lung damage. That’s more than 2 million children. And that’s why Gardiner Harris, a correspondent for the New York Times, is leaving. He’s moving his family back to Washington after three years in Delhi, because he believes staying would risk his children’s long-term health. He recently wrote about the decision for the Times, and joins Madeleine to talk about it.

Gardiner Harris, New York Times (@GardinerHarris)

'Dietland' 13 MIN, 53 SEC

The language of diet ads is promising and familiar: Break free! Escape! Start living! These words are the weapons in the war on fat. Many women are waging these battles, but end up fighting against their own bodies. Sarai Walker’s new novel Dietland tells the story of one of these women. Plum has decided that her life is not real; that her true self will be freed from the trap of her body once she loses weight. Meanwhile, a violent group of feminists called “Jennifer” is exacting vigilante justice on rapists and misogynists. It’s part thriller and part social commentary. Sarai Walker talks to Madeleine about her inspiration.

Sarai Walker, author, 'Dietland' (@QueSaraiSera)


Sarai Walker

TV Roundup: 'Sense8' Premieres and 'Entourage' Flops in Big Screen Transition 8 MIN, 18 SEC

We look at Sense8, a new sci-fi series produced by some of the biggest names in the business, including the Wachowski siblings. And after Entourage flopped at the box office, we ask, how hard is to take television to the big screen?

Michael Schneider, Indiewire / Variety (@Franklinavenue)
Andy Greenwald, Grantland (@andygreenwald)

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