education reform

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

A coalition of teachers and their supporters marched through downtown Seattle Thursday afternoon to the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The local branch of a national organization that calls itself the Badass Teachers Association was protesting the education reform efforts the Gates Foundation has generously funded, from charter schools to the new Common Core State Standards.

Garfield High School
Flickr Photo/Don Brubeck (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with co-founder of Social Equality Educators and high school teacher, Jesse Hagopian, about his goals for Seattle classrooms.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

As school districts across Washington integrate the new Common Core State Standards in reading and math into their curricula, some kindergarten teachers say the standards are squeezing out other important lessons that young children need to succeed in school – and life.

The Washington State Charter School Commission will host nine public forums around the state this month regarding the 19 charter school proposals it is considering. The first one is  Monday afternoon in Spokane.

Each forum will focus on up to three proposals, and begin with a presentation from the charter applicants.

Flickr Photo/everyday Zoid

A King County Superior Court ruling Thursday will allow the introduction of charter schools in Washington, but struck down part of the law as unconstitutional.    

In her ruling, Judge Jean Rietschel upheld much of the charter school law, and the state attorney general said the state will continue to implement it.

Flickr Photo/WarzauWynn

Proposals for Washington state's first-ever charter schools include a wide range of educational models, from a focus on team sports to a military school.

Flickr Photo/Rocky Lubbers

Correction 10/24/2013: This story has been changed to correct the number of schools that can be approved in the first round of applications.

More than two dozen organizations say they’ll apply to start the state’s first charter schools.

Included among them: A school for gifted early elementary students in Spokane Valley; a Tacoma branch of the national charter chain Green Dot; and a Seattle elementary for kids who have experienced extreme trauma.

Nalini Prasanna / Flickr

Thirteen Washington districts formally expressed interest in being charter authorizers this spring, but only Spokane applied to the state by the July 1 deadline.

Olympia Update With Austin Jenkins

May 17, 2013
Olympia Washington State Legislature
Flickr Photo/Harvey Barrison (CC BY-NC-ND)

Washington state’s proposed marijuana rules were released yesterday, and critics are already weighing in. Plus, Republican legislators are pushing for education reform. David Hyde gets all the details from Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins.

COCOEN daily photos / Flickr

The standardized test that inspired boycotts by teachers across Seattle School District will be scaled back next school year.

In a letter to district staff today, Superintendent Jose Banda announced that the Measures of Academic Progress test will still be required in kindergarten though eighth grade, but it will be optional at the high school level.

Should Principals Have Veto Authority Over Teacher Transfers?

May 7, 2013
Flickr photo/Enokson

State senate leaders plan to revive a bill in the upcoming special session that would allow school principals to veto teachers’ school assignments.  Education “reformers” support the change.  Teachers’ unions are opposed. Ross Reynolds interviews both sides.

Pass A Citizenship Test To Graduate?

Apr 18, 2013

It’s not just math anymore, students are falling behind in history and civics too. A new report by independent, non-partisan research organization — the Pioneer Institute — says the state of US history and civics education is so abysmal that it makes “reading, mathematics and science achievement seem robust by comparison.” Washington state’s record isn’t any better. The state received a D grade from educational excellence organization, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, for its quote “meager” US history standards.

To reverse this trend the Pioneer Institute report recommends a simple policy: require high school graduates to pass the US citizenship test. Ross Reynolds talks with Sandra Stotsky, professor of education reform and one of the authors of this report.

derekbruff / Flickr

Twelve Washington school districts have formally announced they’ll apply to become charter school authorizers. Bellevue, Highline, Kent, Tacoma, Spokane and Port Townsend are among the districts seeking the power to approve charter school applications in their regions. Those districts met the State Board of Education's April 1 deadline for notices of intent to apply for authorizer status.

The first members of Washington state’s new Charter School Commission are due to be appointed Wednesday. The commission will be able to approve some of the 40 charter schools allowed under the law voters passed last fall.

Flickr Photo/ccarlstead (CC BY-NC-ND)

This week we’ve been taking a closer look at the battle over how to improve state education.  Today we get another perspective from Mary Lindquist, president of the state’s largest teachers' union, the Washington Education Association.

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