schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect in a shooting at Freeman High School outside Spokane, Washington, that left one student dead and three others injured Wednesday was “obsessed” with school shootings. 



Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wore two loops of powder blue and white ribbon—the school’s colors—pinned to this chest as he briefed reporters in front of the courthouse. He said the 15-year-old suspected gunman got “sucked into a counter culture of violence.” 



Aaliyah Konick, a senior at Nova, poses for a portrait on Thursday, September 7, 2017, outside of Nova high school in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

“Punk isn’t dead,” said Mariam Elbortoukaly, a sophomore at The Nova Project, an alternative Seattle high school in the Central District.

The Department of Education will change its approach to campus sexual misconduct and begin a public notice and comment process to issue new regulations, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced today. In a speech at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, DeVos decried "a system run amok," "kangaroo courts" and repeatedly emphasized the plight of the accused. "One rape is one too many ... one person denied due process is one too many," she said. Outside, protesters yelled, "Stop protecting rapists!"

A bit of background.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

The Trump administration Tuesday formally announced it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also called DACA — putting an expiration date on the legal protections granted to roughly 800,000 people known as "DREAMers," who entered the country illegally as children.

President Trump issued a statement, saying, "I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."

The Evergreen State College in Olympia begins this school year with a drop in enrollment and an imminent hiring freeze. The conservative blogosphere is crowing that it's fallout from recent campus unrest, but the university administration disagrees.

Kent schools act after Muslim staffers get hate mail

Aug 31, 2017

Hate mail sent to Muslim staffers at Kent schools prompted a response from the district this week as students returned to class.

This past weekend a Muslim woman who is an assistant principal at an elementary school received a hateful email.

As Washington state prepares to reopen its popular pre-paid college tuition program, a recently terminated employee is alleging “gross mismanagement.”

Michael Bennion served as the associate director for fiscal planning at the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program until he was let go earlier this month.

College Money
Flickr Photo/SalFalko (CC BY-NC-ND)

Last year Bernie Sanders made free college tuition the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Now, a candidate for Seattle mayor wants to make that idea hers.  

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is calling for "free college tuition for every graduate of Seattle public high schools.”


Flickr Photo/USDAgov (CC-BY-NC-ND)

With the new school year just around the corner, one Seattle school lunch advocate has plenty to celebrate. 

There are more than 60 schools in the U.S. with names tied to the Confederate South. One school, Robert E. Lee Elementary, is right here in the Northwest.

Flickr photo / JoeinSouthernCA http://bit.ly/2wlFEJW

On the surface, the city of Seattle seems to celebrate diversity, but Seattle's Garfield High School tells a different story.

From the effects of historic housing discrimination, to the current academic tracking program that separates Advanced Placement from "regular" classes, and the drama department's production of a Latinx play with a non-Latinx cast, current and former students talk about how racism manifests at the school. 

Washington lawmakers passed a budget this summer that aims to fully fund basic education.

But some argue it may hurt teacher recruitment in more rural districts, where teacher attrition is high and the local pool of candidates is often small. 

In Cowlitz County, school districts often recruit teachers from places as far away as Vancouver or Portland.

Longview Schools Superintendent Dan Zorn said he relies on hiring teachers from outside counties to fill the 450 teaching positions in his district.

Graduates of the International Rescue Committee summer school program, including Ikran Osman, 5, center, sit in the cafeteria before a graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at Showalter Middle School in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Last year more than 1,700 refugees entering Washington state were school aged children. But many of them were not ready for the classroom.

For nearly a decade, a resettlement program has been running summer school in Tukwila for refugee kids to help them get ready to learn.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Since 1994, the Seattle Arts & Lectures Writers in the Schools (WITS) program brings professional writers into classrooms to help student writers find their voices and hone their skills. 

The president of the WSU College Republicans, James Allsup of Bothell, Washington, said Monday he would resign after attending the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Helping the blind 'see' the solar eclipse

Aug 11, 2017
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Carolyn Beeler/PRI

It sounds like the beginning of a riddle. How can someone who’s blind “see” the upcoming eclipse on Aug. 21?

It’s a question solar astrophysicist Henry “Trae” Winter started thinking about several months ago after a blind colleague asked him to describe what an eclipse was like.

“I was caught completely flat-footed,” Winter said. “I had no idea how to communicate what goes on during an eclipse to someone who has never seen before in their entire life.”

The cubist revolution, now in its eighth year, is thriving.

That's Minecraft cubes, of course.

The game where you build virtual Lego-like worlds and populate them with people, animals and just about everything in between is one of the most popular games ever made; it's second only to Tetris as the best-selling video game of all time. There's gold in them thar cubes: More than 120 million copies have sold since Minecraft launched in 2009.*

So what's behind the game's enduring appeal?

Suspensions and expulsions are down in Seattle Public Schools. The district's discipline rates mirror a statewide trend.

Bill Radke speaks with Eugene Volokh and Dr. Jim Sulton Jr. about race-based college admissions.

Washington state passed a law in 1998 that prevented colleges from using affirmative action. Sulton says that the law has harmed students of color by sending a message that they are not welcome, and that affirmative action allows for a more diverse campus.

Volokh argues that studies show affirmative action has harmed students of all races by shifting the focus away from education and creates divisions between different groups.

Volokh is a law school professor at UCLA and Sulton is the former executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

Football
Flickr Photo/Eierschneider (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Ok5MYl

Bill Radke speaks with Seatle Times staff reporter Claudia Rowe about her investigation into how football and basketball teams at Seattle Public Schools use a law to protect homeless students as a way to get around eligibility requirements for student athletes.

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. 

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