public education

Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.

Photo of school buses parked in a parking lot.
Flickr Photo/tncountryfan

The Seattle teachers union and the school district have reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract. The union will vote on the agreement today, on the eve of the first scheduled day of school. Marcie Sillman talks with Ballard high school teacher, Noam Gundle and Chris Eide, executive director of independent teachers group Teachers United, to get their perspectives on the agreement.


Sillman also spoke with KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld who explained the main issues surfacing in the contract negotiations.

From Washington State Department of Ecology site.

Seattle School District and its teachers' union have reached a tentative agreement on a new, two-year contract.

The district and Seattle Education Association (SEA) bargained for more than 12 hours Saturday. The deal was finalized early Sunday morning.

The district and union are waiting to publicly release details of the contract until SEA has been able to relay the offer to teachers. 

Last-minute sticking points involved teacher pay, work hours and using student test scores in teacher evaluations.

Seattle teachers will vote on the contract Tuesday evening. 

School is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Seattle Education Association's Facebook page.

Correction 8/27/13: In a previous version, the length of the district's contract offer was stated as three years. The current offer is for a two-year contract. The length of the contract is negotiable.

Seattle's teachers' union voted down the school district's two-year contract offer Monday night at Seattle Education Association's general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall.

Reporters were not allowed inside the meeting, but teachers said that the voice vote was nearly unanimous, with only several teachers of the hundreds present supporting the contract offer.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The city of Seattle would create a plan to let all children attend preschool for free or on a sliding scale under a resolution proposed by City Councilman Tim Burgess.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

School doesn't start for two weeks, but it was standing room only at the Seattle School Board meeting Wednesday night as hundreds of community members turned out for a host of issues they want settled before school begins.

Washington state has been given one year to change its teacher evaluation law or risk losing $38 million in federal education funding.

In a letter Wednesday to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, US Department of Education Assistant Secretary Deborah Delisle said the state was being granted a one-year extension of its conditional waiver from the requirements of the federal law known as No Child Left Behind.

From Washington State Department of Ecology site.

Tension is building during contract talks between Seattle School District and its teachers’ union.

The two sides need to agree on a new, three-year contract before school begins in less than a month.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Twice as many Washington kids will get free, full-day kindergarten this fall.

The new state budget pays for all-day kindergarten in 269 more schools across the state, including eight schools in Seattle.

Flickr Photo/sidewalk flying (CC BY-NC-ND)

Class size appears to be the main sticking point between Seattle School District and its teachers’ union as they bargain a new, three-year contract before school is scheduled to start next month.

Seattle Education Association President Jonathan Knapp says the district’s latest proposal, made last week, would increase class sizes in Seattle by two students per class in grades four through twelve.

Dean McColgan

Jul 15, 2013
Courtesy Dean McColgan

Candidate for Seattle School District 4: Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Belltown

Occupation: Director of development at the Museum of Flight, former City Council member and mayor of Federal Way


Top priorities:

  • Re-instill community trust in the school district.
  • Emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education.
  • Allow teachers to innovate.

Olu Thomas

Jul 15, 2013

Candidate for Seattle School District 5: Capitol Hill, Central Area, Leschi, Beacon Hill, Downtown

Occupation: Unemployed social worker

Top priorities:

  • Reduce inequitable discipline of students of color.
  • Train teachers on cultural competency and other equity issues.
  • Convert unused school buildings to community centers.

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.

Ann Dornfeld On Summer School News

Jun 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/Chris Campbell (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 Schools out for summer! How did Washington state schools fare in a time of more budget cuts and new charter school legislation? David Hyde takes a look back at the school year with KUOW’s education reporter Ann Dornfeld.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

This fall, some classes may get harder for public school students — and teachers — across Washington. That's when many districts will roll out new, more rigorous language arts and math standards, known as the Common Core. Washington is one of 45 states that have adopted the same set of K-12 standards.

Some Washington teachers have already started using them. At Sylvester Middle School in Burien, teacher Christy Bowman-White read a poem about a nail-biter basketball shot to her honors language arts class on a recent school day.