education

The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever

May 11, 2015

It's getting to be that time of the year when students wipe tears from watery eyes, exchange final goodbyes and throw their graduation caps into the sky. In other words, it's graduation season — and that also means the season of commencement speeches.

In the past academic year, four students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have taken their own lives.

And in the days that followed two of her freshmen classmates' deaths by suicide, 18-year-old Isabel "Izzy" Lloyd noticed something.

"Things just sort of stopped for a week or two and there were people posting on Facebook and sending out emails and Twitter and Instagram and people were saying, 'I care, you can come see me,' " she says.

A group of kayakers rafted together work to pull up a protest sign as they practice for an upcoming demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, in Elliott Bay on April 16, 2015.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

There was plenty of protests this week: Seattle's May Day riots, a fight to keep an Arctic oil rig out of Elliott Bay, teacher walk-outs over education funding and an uproar over a Seattle Seahawks player accused of domestic violence. 

Bill Radke debates this week’s symbols and substance with Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center, Crosscut’s Knute Berger, and 'The C is For Crank' blogger Erica C. Barnett.

A drawing by a child in Professor Kristina Olson's study. Olson has found that transgender and non-trans girls have an equally deep sense of their gender identity.
Courtesy of Marlo Mack

When Kristina Olson, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, started looking into research on transgender children, she was surprised. It was thin at best.

Data from decades ago said that 80 percent of transgender kids revert to their born gender, but Olson was skeptical.

So she started the TransYouth Project to track transgender children to adulthood. The project has worked with 65 children across the U.S. and Canada – so far. Some are as young as 3.

Cindy Jatul teaches biology/biotech at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. She says her first-period students are often too sleepy to learn.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

What time should the school day begin? That’s the question an online survey is asking Seattle parents through this weekend.

To get a sense of what’s at stake, just visit a first-period class at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. At 7:50 a.m., you'll find biology/biotech teacher Cindy Jatul coaxing her students into wakefulness, and having a hard time, too.

Lawmakers in Olympia are in a special session to finalize the Washington state budget. Some teachers’ unions have decided to walk out for a day to appeal for more money in the K-12 budget.

Seattle Educators To Stage One-Day Walkout

May 5, 2015
Hundreds of Washington state teachers and other supporters fill the steps of the Legislative Building as they cheer and hold signs Saturday, April 25, 2015 at a Washington Education Association rally at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.
AP photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman speaks with Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association about the union's vote to stage a one-day walkout on May 19. Sillman also speaks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the impact strikes might have on the Legislature.

Courtesy of Ayan Jama

The sun was peeking through the clouds on Saturday, April 25  at Victor Steinbreuck Park in downtown Seattle, where a crowd gathered to celebrate the first ever Islamophobia Awareness Day.

The event was created by a group of Muslim girls from Rainier Beach High School. 

File photo of students playing basketball.
Flickr Photo/Nick Hubbard (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Dr. Jonathan Drezner, director of the University of Washington Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology, about sudden cardiac arrest and a new law to help protect Washington's student athletes.

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

Eleventh graders in Washington state are saying heck no to the Smarter Balanced Assessment. At Garfield High School in Seattle’s Central Area, 95 percent of kids didn’t show up to the test this week.

At Richland High School in Eastern Washington, 83 percent of juniors didn’t show up on the first day of testing. (Some may have shown up later, but a compliance officer at the school said that was highly unlikely.)

The test is not required to graduate, which is why they’re not showing up.

On the first day of school, perhaps the only person more discussed than the "new kid" is the "new kid who skipped a grade."

Words like "gifted," "brilliant" and "genius" get thrown around to describe these students. Education researchers generally refer to them as "accelerated." It's a catch-all term to describe students who have either entered kindergarten early, grade-skipped or taken single subjects above grade level.

Part of the hype comes from how uncommon it is.

Researchers estimate no more than 2 percent of students fall into these categories.

While many kids are lucky if their parents send them off to school with a ham and cheese sandwich and an apple in their packed lunches, for some, the midday meal is a work of art.

Some parents include paper napkins with hand-drawn illustrations so elaborate that children have preferred to use their own clothing to wipe up spills. Others decorate the once-boring brown paper bag with fanciful dragons and scenes from Star Wars or re-create great works of art in food. (Think Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring rendered in sushi.)

The teacher who tackled an armed student at North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington said his protective instinct just kicked in.

The Tukwila School District boasts one of the most diverse student bodies in the state. But the NAACP of Seattle-King County says the district isn't doing enough to hire teachers of color.

The civil rights organization said it planned to confront the district’s board members Tuesday night about what it called “racist hiring practices.”

District Superintendent Nancy Coogan said the NAACP’s accusations are unfair.

A juvenile court commissioner found probable cause Tuesday to hold the 16-year-old accused of a shooting at North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington.

Pages