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A new report, out today, provides 186 pages of answers to one of the toughest questions in education:

What does it take to get preschool right?

Parents and politicians alike want to know. States are spending roughly $7 billion this year on early childhood education, despite the fact that there are more cautionary tales — like this one from Tennessee — than success stories.

'The Big Sheep' Plays Hardboiled Sci-Fi To The Hilt

4 hours ago

It's not hard to parse the two main influences on Robert Kroese's new novel The Big Sheep. The title itself mashes them up: Raymond Chandler's 1939 hardboiled masterpiece The Big Sleep and Philip K. Dick's 1968 post-apocalyptic classic Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis of the film Blade Runner). The question is: Does Kroese's book transcend the obviousness of that literary portmanteau? Thankfully, yes.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

The world's second largest diamond goes on the auction block today for an expected $70 million.

It was found last fall in Botswana, where half the population is poor or hovering just above poverty.

All of which raises the question: How much do diamond sales benefit Botswana's citizens?

It's been a big year for black cinema. Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation (2016) was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and just sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million. The movie centers around Nat Turner's 1831 slave rebellion and deliberately shares a name with D.W.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Latin America's longest armed conflict is finally over. Colombia's guerrilla war, which began in 1964, has killed more than 220,000 people and displaced millions from their homes. But the Colombian government and the Marxist rebels agreed to a cease-fire and a timetable for the guerrillas to disarm.