schools and education

Washington State University cheer squad advice graphic
Facebook Photo/Washington State University Cheer

The University of Washington cheerleading team took some flak for an image they posted on Facebook showing the dos and don’ts for the right tryout look: athletic physique, false lashes, but not too much makeup.

The graphic was intended to give advice to aspiring cheerleaders, but others called the image offensive, exclusionary and ignorant.

Testing for lead in Washington schools is still voluntary seven years after the state passed rules to make it mandatory. That’s because state lawmakers never provided funding to pay for the testing.

Joe Wolf / Flickr

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is holding an Education Summit at Garfield High School on Saturday to look at ways the city can help improve the academic success of low-income students and children of color.

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

There are many qualities of a great teacher. Two big ones? Kindness and a willingess to make learning fun. At least that's what Marlem Diaz-Brown's fourth-graders say.

For our 50 Great Teachers project, we've searched all over for teachers like her. Which brought us to Sunset Elementary School in Miami ... and "Mrs. D-B."

Bellevue High School fans cheer during the first half of the team's Class 3A high school football championship game against Eastside Catholic, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

When you think high school, do you think math class? Or do you think about the Friday night lights, the pep rallies and the spirit days?

Let's face it, high school sports are big in this country. By placing such a big emphasis on sports, some schools are sending kids the wrong message, said Amanda Ripley, an education journalist and author.

The kid with the stinky lunch

Apr 28, 2016
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Marcelle Hutchins

When my family emigrated from Cameroon to the US in 1997, I was 8 years old and many things were new to me. But lunchtime was a whole new universe of discomfort.

I brought traditional Cameroon food to school — think, peanut sauce with rice — and my classmates would make fun of me and call my meal "stinky."  I quickly learned that children weren’t very forgiving about my “strange” food.

Do you know what a microaggression is? The dictionary calls it a “subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority group.”

Students at Clackamas High School can put a finer point on that, if you like.

Walk the halls of the school, and you'll see large black-and-white prints of students holding large boards with a word or phrase, each capturing a microaggression. Click on the audio file at the top of the page to hear from four students who contributed to the Clackamas High art project.

Bellevue running back Isaiah Gilchrist, left, leaps to avoid a tackle attempt by Eastside Catholic's Noah Failauga during the first half of the Class 3A high school football championship Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Bill Radke talks with investigator and former federal prosecutor Carl Blackstone and Bellevue Wolverines Booster Club president John Connors about the recent investigation into Bellevue High School's football program.

Students on the 7th floor of Koerner Library, University of British Columbia.
Flickr Photo/UBC Library (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7x9qat

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about a new rule being considered by the University of British Columbia. The university is considering a ban on all professor-student romantic relationships. The University of Washington allows professors to date students if there's no conflict of interest. 

The latest results of the test known as the Nation's Report Card are in. They cover high school seniors, who took the test in math and reading last year. The numbers are unlikely to give fodder either to educational cheerleaders or alarmists: The average score in both subjects was just one point lower in 2015 compared with the last time the test was given, in 2013. This tiny downtick was statistically significant in mathematics, but not for the reading test.

But even though the changes are small, chances are you're going to be hearing about them in a lot of places.

Seattle Public Utilities says its dams are about three-quarters full.
Flickr photo/Konstantin Stepanov (CC BY 2.0)

Recent, routine tests in Seattle Public Schools found that 49 schools had at least one faucet with lead levels above the district’s acceptable limit.

The district’s lead threshhold is stricter than federal standards: 10 parts per billion, compared to 20.

This winter, Jameria Miller would often run to her high school Spanish class, though not to get a good seat.

She wanted a good blanket.

"The cold is definitely a distraction," Jameria says of her classroom's uninsulated, metal walls.

Her teacher provided the blankets. First come, first served. Such is life in the William Penn School District in an inner-ring suburb of Philadelphia.

The hardest part for Jameria, though, isn't the cold. It's knowing that other schools aren't like this.

Flickr Photo/Mark Ahlness/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://bit.ly/245Cn9a

This school year, Seattle Public Schools agreed to teachers' union demands for a minimum amount of recess: 30 minutes a day. 

In public radio's mythical Lake Wobegon, "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

The first two conditions are merely unlikely. The third one is a mathematical absurdity. However, a new survey suggests that almost all parents believe it to be true.

In a recent survey of public school parents, 90 percent stated that their children were performing on or above grade level in both math and reading. Parents held fast to this sunny belief no matter their own income, education level, race or ethnicity.

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