Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage.

But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California, Oklahoma, Kentucky and places in between.

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Only around half of Washington students passed the new state tests in math and English.

That’s a big drop in scores from the old tests. But it’s what schools officials had predicted for the new Common Core assessments.

I'm The Kid In Your Honors Class Who Crossed The Border Illegally

Aug 14, 2015
Luis Angel Gomez-Castillo lives in Seattle with his family. He is entering his sophomore year at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Hoping for a better life and education for my younger brother and me, my mother decided we should migrate to the U.S.

I was only 9 years old when we crossed the border illegally. With only a two-liter water bottle, we walked through the desert at night for two hours.

After a record-long session, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and legislative leaders still aren’t done. They’ll resume talks on schools funding on Monday afternoon in SeaTac after an unprecedented ruling from the state Supreme Court.

Erica C. Barnett, Joel Connelly, Ijeoma Oluo and Bill Radke breakdown the week's news.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

We’ll play you audio from Saturday’s rally with Bernie Sanders which was disrupted by two Black Lives Matter activists and debate the meaning of the protest and the subsequent reaction. Also, the Washington Supreme Court fines us $100,000 a day for failing to fund education – will that finally force the legislature to act? And should you get a $124 ticket for getting stuck in an intersection and “blocking the box”?

Bill Radke explores those stories and more of this week’s news with Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo and journalists Joel Connelly and Erica C. Barnett.

Demonstrators stand on the steps of the Temple of Justice and in view of the Legislative Building as they advocate for more state spending on education prior to a hearing before the state Supreme Court on Sept. 3, 2014, in Olympia.
AP photo/Elaine Thompson

The Washington state Supreme Court is fining the Legislature $100,000 a day effective immediately for failing to come up with a plan to fully fund K-12 education.

The fines, levied Thursday, stem from the McCleary case, brought by families and others who said the state wasn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to “amply fund” basic education in this state.

Aggressive behavior indicates possible criminal activity later in life in boys. For girls, depression and withdrawal are better indicators.
Courtesy of Michael Clinard

Problem behaviors can indicate whether abused children will likely commit crimes as adults.

But as KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, new research from the University of Washington finds that the warning signs may be different between boys and girls.

Students headed for college this fall can expect a slew of new efforts aimed at preventing campus sexual assault. A federal law that took effect this summer requires schools to offer programs to help raise awareness and lower risk.

It was once a tiny niche market, but it is now an exploding industry with everything from fingernail polish that detects date-rape drugs in drinks to necklaces that hide mini panic buttons — and all kinds of crash courses on how to get and give consent.

Kayla Wheeler, right, visits the University of Washington's CoMotion MakerSpace.
Courtesy of University of Washington

What if the answer to one of humanities biggest problems was in the mind of someone who could not access the tools to solve it? 

The University of Washington's Access Engineering program is working towards a solution to that issue. They want more students with disabilities to study engineering, and that means getting their take on how to make makerspaces more accessible. 

Oregon’s state legislature outpaced most of the country this past session when lawmakers passed a tuition waiver program for two years of community college. But that’s no guarantee of “free” school.

This week Hillary Clinton released a big, complicated campaign proposal she calls the New College Compact. It's stuffed with ideas that have been brought up by other presidential candidates, both to the left and the right: free tuition (Bernie Sanders); debt-free college (Martin O'Malley); more affordable student loan repayment (Marco Rubio); and lowering costs overall (Jeb Bush).

"If a kid is in first period when they should still be asleep, how much are they really learning?"

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

So many high school students opted out of the state proficiency tests this year that policymakers face a problem: The Washington State Board of Education can't figure out what the passing scores should be.

The Confederate flag. The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Policing minority communities. Nuclear weapons and Iran. Summer often brings a lull in the news, but not this year. And, come September, students are going to want to talk about these headlines.

But how should teachers navigate our nation's thorny politics?

education kid school
Flickr Photo/jeweledlion (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Phil Talmadge, former Washington state Democratic legislator and former state justice, about the McCleary decision concerning education funding and how it's dividing government.