I wonder what corruption and bribery schemes have penetrated the Citadel, the closest thing to a university that Westeros has. I wonder how high the literacy rate is across the Seven Kingdoms. These are the things you think about when education news and “Game of Thrones” start blending together in your head.

Don’t worry, this is no fantasy. We’re sharing the “What We’re Reading” section from our weekly Education Lab newsletter right here.

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Here’s what we’re reading this week.

Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon and City University of Seattle. Learn more about Ed Lab

Nearly 25,000 students across 1,580 schools nationwide entered the first-ever NPR Student Podcast Challenge. From climate change and mental health to bathroom passes and playgrounds, NPR received thousands of student podcasts, and the listening process has begun. Two winners will eventually be crowned and honorable mentions shared along the way. Although the deadline has passed, the team is encouraging teachers and students to prepare their ideas for next year’s contest.

The world of academia relies on adjunct professors, but they are often paid much less to do the same work as their tenured colleagues. The long hours, heavy workload and insufficient pay make an adjunct role “like the lowest rung in a caste system, the one that underrepresented minorities tend to call home,” The Atlantic reports. Read their heartbreaking story about one adjunct professor, who “was exploited by a system that consumes thoughtful, committed academics like our beloved friend, even as it is reluctant to admit it.”

The U.S. Department of Education did not approve a single application for federal student-loan relief in the second half of 2018, “even after a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration’s foot-dragging was illegal,” The New York Times reports. There are now more than 150,000 pending applications, roughly double the number inherited from the previous administration. And there’s no timeline to process them.