schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

The confirmation today of Betsy DeVos as the 11th U.S. secretary of education brought angry denunciations and firm pledges of support — no surprise for a Cabinet nominee who had become a lightning rod for Americans' views about their public schools.

Here's our roundup, with excerpts from reactions around the country:

First, DeVos herself tweeted shortly after her confirmation:

And this tweet from Vice President Pence, who cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate:

President Trump tweeted his congratulations:

The teachers unions

Today the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as President Trump's education secretary, 51-50.

Senate Democrats held an all-night session Monday night into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch effort to try to stop President Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, from being confirmed.

Among those who took to the floor was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who said it was "difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education."

Of all President Trump's Cabinet choices, only one currently seems at serious risk of being denied confirmation by the Senate.

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary is a question mark after two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced they plan to vote against her.

Professor Pedro Noguera at the University of Washington.
Courtesy of Emile Pitre

Every three years the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), made up of the world’s richest countries, publishes an international student assessment. They test 15-year-olds for comprehension in reading, math and science.

One goal is to understand which countries have the most successful education programs and why. In 2015 the United States ranked 25 out of 72 countries. 

Seattle Pacific University
Flickr photo/Curtis Cronn/https://flic.kr/p/aUakxD

Something unusual happened on Jobe Korb-Nice's most recent international trip to recruit students for Seattle Pacific University. Students expressed fear about coming to America.

And Korb-Nice wasn't in one of seven Muslim countries covered by President Donald Trump's travel ban. He was in Norway. 


Updated at 6:40 a.m. ET

A planned appearance by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled Wednesday at the University of California, Berkeley, after a group of protesters shot fireworks at police, broke windows, started fires and threw barricades.

It's far from the first time a Yiannopoulos speaking event was canceled because of protests, which occur regularly at his events.

What's the best time for students to have recess? Before lunch, or after? What happens if it rains? If students are misbehaving, is it a good idea to punish them by making them sit out recess?

Those are just a few of the issues addressed in new guidelines designed to help schools have good recess. The recommendations come from a group called SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray
U.S. Senate

Washington state’s senators spoke out strongly Tuesday on two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations.

In the Senate education committee, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington delivered a sharp statement against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee as education secretary.

A key Senate committee voted Tuesday to approve the nomination of Betsy DeVos, a school choice activist and billionaire Republican donor, to be secretary of education, despite the fierce objections of Senate Democrats, teachers unions and others. There's much speculation as to exactly how she might carry out President Trump's stated priority of increasing school choice.

Red Square, University of Washington campus
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY NC ND)/http://bit.ly/1QnEFc7

Universities in Washington state are scrambling to respond to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax and carbon tax to comply with a court order to fully fund public schools. Republicans in the state Senate Friday instead proposed to solve the state’s school funding crisis by raising the state property tax while lowering local rates.

Courtesy of Juanita Ricks

When Juanita Ricks’ biracial daughter Alexandra tested into the highly gifted program, Ricks, who is black, and her then-husband, who is white, toured the school Alexandra would attend: Washington Middle School in the Central District.


KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke talks with Graciela Nuñez Pargas about her experience as an enrollee in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The future of DACA is uncertain. During his campaign, President Trump promised to the end the program, which gives deportation protections to undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children, but don't have legal status.

In 1755, the board of governors of a new college was sworn into office in Manhattan. King's College, as it was called, was not far from the municipal slave market at Wall and Pearl streets in New York City.

The man presiding over the ceremony was Daniel Horsmanden, a colonial supreme court justice who had previously presided over the trial of alleged slave conspirators. One of the men he swore in as a governor of the new college was Henry Beekman, whose merchant family owned and traded slaves.

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

Some Seattle student groups — from colleges to middle schools — are organizing walkouts and protests of Donald Trump’s presidency on Inauguration Day.  

Seattle Public Schools officials say, as with past protests, students who take part may be marked “unexcused.” Now Seattle high school and middle school students upset about the election results are weighing that decision.

After Betsy DeVos' Senate confirmation hearing yesterday — all three hours and change — we know a little more about Donald Trump's pick to be the next education secretary.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, DeVos faced questions on a range of issues, from private school vouchers and charter school oversight to guns in schools.

Cold and flu season means plenty of parents are trying to figure out whether their kid is too sick to go to child care or school.

A panel at Garfield High School on Monday discusses the NAACP's proposal to require ethnic studies.
Jamala Henderson

Seattle’s NAACP chapter and some Seattle educators want ethnic studies to become required learning in the city's public schools.

On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, teachers, students and parents crowded into a medium-sized Garfield High School classroom to hear speakers talk about the proposal.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, and older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.

Small classes. High standards. More money. These popular remedies for school ills aren't as effective as they're sometimes thought to be. That's the somewhat controversial conclusion of education researcher John Hattie.

Over his career, Hattie has scrutinized more than 1,000 "meta-analyses," looking at all types of interventions to improve learning. The studies he's examined cover a combined 250 million students around the world.

KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Since Donald Trump’s election, a sanctuary movement has popped up at college campuses across the United States. 

Some lawmakers in Olympia want public university athletic departments to face closer scrutiny when they overspend. A bill was introduced Thursday that would make universities accountable to the legislature for deficits in those budgets.

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A kindergarten teacher in Tennessee says that a Latino child asks every day, “Is the wall here yet?” He was told by classmates that he will be deported and blocked from returning home by the wall proposed by presidential candidate Donald Trump.

That's one of 4,796 comments made in response to a Southern Poverty Law Center survey of teachers across the country. The center, an advocacy group that works on civil rights issues, says the 2,000 K-12 teachers who responded to the survey show that hate has spread into schools, and has inflamed racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday in a dispute that advocates describe as the most important case involving public school special education in three decades.

At issue is whether federal law requires public schools to provide more than the bare minimum in special services for children with disabilities. With millions of children qualifying for these services, the court's ruling could have a profound effect.

Quinton Morris, violin professor.
Courtesy of Quinton Morris

Quinton Morris is a violin virtuoso who wants to give back. The Seattle University teacher grew up in Renton and fondly remembers the support he got from the community. He says that encouragement is important for people of color who want to be classical musicians. Morris told Jamala Henderson how he was often discouraged.  

Dr. Pedro Noguera, educator and sociologist
gseis.ucla.edu

Dr. Pedro Noguera is a UCLA sociologist and an expert in urban education. He was in Seattle Tuesday night to speak about the ways educators and administrators can improve student achievement and get them more engaged in school. He told Patricia Murphy many Seattle-area suburban schools are struggling with that balance, but many are doing it right. 

Washington State Capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington state lawmkers are back at the state Capitol for this year’s legislative session with one of the biggest spending questions looming over their heads in recent years.

That's how to comply with a 2012 court order to fully pay for K-12 education. KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins told Kim Malcolm that lawmakers are facing tough deadlines.


Washington state lawmakers face a daunting task as they convene on Monday for the 2017 legislative session: how to fully fund public schools by 2018. And that job might have just gotten harder.

The 24 juniors and seniors in the astronomy class at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va., sink into plush red theater seats. They're in a big half-circle around what looks like a giant telescope with a globe on the end. Their teacher, Lee Ann Hennig, stands at a wooden control panel that has enough buttons and dials to launch a rocket.

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