schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

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. 

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. 

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