schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

Washington state lawmakers have adjourned and gone home without passing a $4.1 billion capital construction budget. For a community in southwest Washington, that means an elementary school may not get built on time and on budget.

Mathematical physicist and educator Robbert Dijkgraaf on the importance of the 'pursuit of useless knowledge' in both the sciences and the humanities.
Courtesy of Andrea Kane/Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ USA

In 1939 the influential American education reformer Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.” In it he promoted the well-funded, free pursuit of scientific inquiry, arguing that great scientists were “driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.”

Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.

It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you're not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

Jul 17, 2017

Raising teenage girls can be a tough job. Raising black teenage girls as white parents can be even tougher. Aaron and Colleen Cook knew that when they adopted their twin daughters, Mya and Deanna.

As spring came around this year, the girls, who just turned 16, told their parents they wanted to get braided hair extensions. Their parents happily obliged, wanting Mya and Deanna to feel closer to their black heritage.

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Toru Hanai/Reuters

It all started with a sticky note.

When the Washington Post published an article back in May about President Donald Trump’s body guard, they failed to notice that one of the photos included a sticky note with the personal phone number of the US secretary of defense.

Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington
Flickr Photo/Michael Matti (CC-BY-NC-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/gx9bsh

International students would face tougher scrutiny under a proposal being considered by the Trump Administration.

According to the Washington Post, foreign college students would have to reapply for their visas each year in order to stay in the U.S. Currently, international students can live in the U.S. as long as they're enrolled in college on full-time basis.

Attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York and 16 other states filed suit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department Thursday, accusing DeVos of breaking federal law and giving free rein to for-profit colleges by rescinding the Borrower Defense Rule.

When Kelly Barrales-Saylor was a new mom, she got a lot of children's books as gifts. Most were simple books about shapes, colors and letters. There were none about science — or math.

"My editorial brain lit up and said there must be a need for this," says Barrales-Saylor, who works as an editor for a publishing company outside Chicago.

Halfway across the world, Chris Ferrie was similarly unsatisfied.

When reading to his kids, Ferrie noticed that most books used animals to introduce new words. In today's world, that just didn't make sense to him.

They were teenage brothers. They had big dreams to be doctors. But there was no way it could happen. They were living in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war, studying in classrooms set up in tents.

"We thought we were forgotten," says Kamiar Alaei. But that was a long time ago. He's now 42 and an internationally recognized doctor.

Summer Stinson, lawyer and Vice President of Washington's Paramount Duty and Daniel Zavala, director of policy and government relations with the League of Education Voters.
KUOW Photo/ Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks to Summer Stinson, lawyer and vice president of  the parent group Washington's Paramount Duty, and Daniel Zavala, director of policy and government relations with the League of Education Voters, about the end of the latest legislative session and how much closer lawmakers got to fully funding basic education. 

Details are emerging about the budget Washington state lawmakers plan to pass before midnight Friday. Over the next four years, schools in Washington will get more than $7 billion in additional state funds.

Much of that money will come from a hike in the state property tax.

Flickr Photo/Tony Swartz (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to Joseph O'Sullivan, Seattle Times Olympia reporter, about the latest information on the state budget deal that Republicans and Democrats reached on Wednesday. 

Stephan Blanford, Seattle School Board member
KUOW: Megan Farmer

When Stephan Blanford ran for Seattle school board four years ago, he won 89 percent of the vote.

But he often felt stuck as a member of that board and now says he won’t run again.


The Washington state Capitol in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/amishrobot (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/4PxvK4

Bill Radke talks to Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the budget deal reached by lawmakers just in time to avoid a partial government shutdown. 

Washington lawmakers have reached agreement on a budget just in time to avert a government shutdown. The deal was announced Wednesday morning, but details have yet to be released.

Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fuH8hN

A Seattle School Board resolution calls for the expansion of ethnic studies in district classrooms.

The Seattle-King County chapter of the NAACP first made a similar proposal last winter. 

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church.

"The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority.

Today we're going to update a story we first brought you back in 2004. That September, NPR set out to document what may be the most important day in any young child's life — the first day of kindergarten. For parents it's a day filled with hope, anxiety and one big question: Is our child ready?

The answer back then, as far as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was, "No, no, no!"

Left to right: Sage Cook, Christina Joo, Kristin Leong, Joy Williamson-Lott, Saraswati Noel, Jesse Hagopian, Sharonne Navas and Nathan Simoneaux at Town Hall Seattle
Courtesy of Kristin Leong

What value do we attribute to education? It is common to hear how it changes lives, promotes imagination and creativity and invites opportunity. It is often a social endeavor, and thus encourages the wide sharing of ideas and knowledge.

The founders of Washington state clearly valued the concept of education. Article IX of our Constitution states:

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”

Photographer and journalist Katie Hayes Luke reported throughout the year on an innovative school for homeless children in Oklahoma City, Okla. We're not using the first names of students and family members to protect their privacy.

On the last day of school, the fifth grade students at Positive Tomorrows perform last-minute rehearsals for the inaugural "Classy Awards."

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It’s graduation season. For high school students it’s the beginning of a new chapter in their young adult life. For migrant students, graduation marks a special milestone.


Laurelhurst Elementary in northeast Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a gray day last October, teachers across Seattle wore a shirt that read BLACK LIVES MATTER.

The author, left, in high school.
Courtesy of David Schmader

This story takes place in the year 1986, in the great state of Texas.

Seattle's Department of Transportation is providing $2.3 million to go toward a change in start times for Seattle Public Schools.
Flickr Photo/tncountryfan

Kids in Seattle Public Schools can expect different start times when they return in the fall. But that kind of change takes money.

How much? $2.3 million.

The author, right, with his teacher, Shawn Kamp.
Courtesy of Nate Martin

Sometimes it feels like we’re missing something in our lives. And sometimes we find what we’re looking for when we least expect it. Kind of like what happened to me.


The Oregon House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that aims to prevent so-called “lunch shaming” in Oregon Schools.

'Week in Review' panel C.R. Douglas, Joni Balter, Jonathan Martin and Essex Porter.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says any future NBA team should play at Seattle Center and picks a development team that includes Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer to renovate KeyArena.

Former FBI director James Comey tells a Senate investigative panel that he was fired because of the investigation he was leading into ties between Russia and President Trump's campaign.

Debate: How should we fund education?

Jun 7, 2017

Bill Radke talks with Northwest News Network's Austin Jenkins about why lawmakers in Olympia need to agree on education funding before they can agree on a budget.

We also hear from Liv Finne and Misha Werschkul about the two plans the state Legislature is considering to fund education. Finne is director of Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center and Werschkul is executive director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

Over and over again, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos deflected a barrage of pointed questions with one answer:

"Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law."

This year, 25 states and the District of Columbia are considering measures that would bar employers from asking job candidates about their prior salary. Last year, two states — California and Massachusetts — adopted similar policies, aimed at trying to narrow the pay gap for women and minorities.

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