schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

One of the largest independent expenditures in Washington state elections this year has come in the race for schools chief. 


When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who's already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

Halley Katz has almost always known what career she wanted to pursue.

At the Supreme Court on Monday, the justices heard arguments in the case of a girl with disabilities, her service dog and the school that barred the dog from the premises.

Ehlena Fry was born with cerebral palsy, which significantly limits her mobility but not her cognitive skills. So when she was about to enter kindergarten in Napoleon, Mich., her parents got a trained service dog — a white furry goldendoodle, named Wonder.

The state has released numbers to show how often school staff physically restrain or isolate K-12 students. Student advocates say the data is concerning.

For Ross Roberts, it was a lack of resources that drove him from the classroom. For Danielle Painton, it was too much emphasis on testing. For Sergio Gonzalez, it was a nasty political environment.

Welcome to the U.S. teaching force, where the "I'm outta here" rate is an estimated 8 percent a year — twice that of high-performing countries like Finland or Singapore. And that 8 percent is a lot higher than other professions.

Life is pretty busy for Mike Buchmann, a high school art teacher and football coach, and his wife Shannon, who works as an assistant controller at a small private college near their home in Mishawaka, Ind.

Everyone is out the door by 7:45 each morning: Mike shuttles their two older kids to before-school care, while Shannon drops off their 14-month-old at a church-based child care center before they head off to their full-time jobs.

'Week in Review' panel Sydney Brownstone, C.R. Douglas, Brier Dudley and Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Did Governor Jay Inslee and Bill Bryant change any minds during this week's gubernatorial debate? What are the arguments for and against spending $54 billion on Sound Transit 3? And this week, Seattle teachers, students and parents wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class - what did we learn? Finally, should presidential candidates be doing stand-up comedy?

Cameron Smith was a fifth-grader with straight A's when her school, Fickett Elementary, was caught up in a national cheating scandal.

The story started in 2001, when scores on statewide tests across Atlanta began improving greatly. The superintendent, Beverly Hall, was hailed as a highly effective reformer, winning National Superintendent of the Year in 2009.

Ryan Reilly's first-grade student offered their interpretations of a bell hooks book about prejudice.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Teachers at schools across Seattle wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class Wednesday. They also gave lessons about race and equity – and talked with students about what their shirts mean.

Kathy Plonka - kathypl@spokesman.com / Tacoma News Tribune

Bill Radke speaks with Tacoma News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll about the sad story of Tacoma kindergarten teacher Klara Bowman, who became infamous as 'Drunk Teacher.' 

Bill Radke speaks with reporter Ann Dornfeld about the 2,000 teachers who wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts to schools Wednesday in both Seattle and the Highline District. Dornfeld discusses the racial equality lesson plans the teachers created and some of the concerns parents had about the day.

A degree program in craft brewing is in its second year at Central Washington University and beer school graduates are in high demand in a market that’s growing rapidly.

Garfield Teacher Jesse Hagopian says rising standards + inadequate education funding means minorities lose. Gerald Hankerson of the Seattle King County NAACP waits to speak.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian about a plan for thousands of teachers in the Seattle Public School District to wear Black Lives Matter shirts on Wednesday, October 19

Flickr Photo/WarzauWynn (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2e4FXO7

A little girl went home in tears recently: She had been called "a Trump" at her school in Seattle.

A first-grade boy, the son of a KUOW employee, asked his mother if his Muslim classmates would have to move away if Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, were elected.


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

Bill Radke talks with Dan Ericson, a football coach for Klahowya Secondary School in Silverdale, Washington. In light of four schools forfeiting against the "dangerously large" football team from Everett's Archbishop Murphy High School, Ericson explains that the rules are to blame. He sees a system that penalizes public schools, and harms teens who play all sports. 

With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?

Add to the list of worrisome economic trends what economists call "NEETs" — young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training.

Their numbers are growing, now 40 million in the 35 member countries of the OECD — the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. And two-thirds of them are not actively looking for work.

The figures come from the biennial OECD report, Society at a Glance 2016.

An artist's rendition of a 130,000-square-foot computer science building that the University of Washington is preparing to build.
LMN Architects

A $10 million gift from tech giant Amazon.com will help the University of Washington complete a second building on the Seattle campus dedicated to computer science and engineering.

Five small, specialized high schools in the Highline School District won't be small much longer. The district in south King County plans to consolidate them into two larger schools next fall.

But as school officials are learning, that's not what many students want.

What does it mean to declare that #blacklivesmatter in education?

Last month the Movement for Black Lives, representing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement and related groups, issued a detailed policy platform denouncing what it called "corporate-backed," "market driven" "privatization" in school reform, and helped set off a furor over this question.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Many Seattle elementary schools are doing away with homework this fall, citing a growing body of evidence that take-home assignments tend not to help elementary and middle school students.


Courtesy of April Reyes

This is me and my family. My mom, my dad, brother, and sister. (Not pictured: cats.) 

Six months ago, they were just strangers. And six months ago, I was homeless and couch surfing. I worked about 35 hours a week at Panda Express while attending school full time. I was a junior in high school, 16 years old. 

Oregon leaders know there’s a one in three chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami over the next 50 years.

Those are high odds. And they’re the reason why some people are frustrated Oregon State University plans to build a $50 million dollar research center smack in the middle of the tsunami zone.

In Newport’s harbor, moored next to all the fishing boats, lies the Newport Belle.

It’s an old stern-wheeler that’s been turned into a bed and breakfast by owner, Michael Wilkinson.

When 3-year-old Charlie McGlynn-Wright was born, her parents felt pressured to immediately start looking for a preschool.

Their search confirmed what other parents had warned -- Many Seattle preschools have years-long waitlists and tuition bills that rival the cost of attending college.

Charlie’s father Teddy McGlynn-Wright works for the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. That makes him all too aware that a lack of affordable, high-quality preschools means minority children from low-income families end up falling behind.

First, a story:

Late one night, a man searches for something in a parking lot. On his hands and knees, he crawls around a bright circle of light created by a streetlamp overhead.

A woman passes, stops, takes in the scene.

"What are you looking for? Can I help?"

"My car keys. Any chance you've seen them?"

"You dropped them right around here?"

"Oh, no. I dropped them way over there," he says, gesturing vaguely to some faraway spot on the other side of the lot.

"Then why are you looking here?"

The man pauses to consider the question.

Celebrating the GIX groundbreaking: Tsinghua University VP Yang Bin, UW VP of Innovation Strategy Vikram Jandhyala, Governor Jay Inslee, Tsinghua President Qiu Yong, UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Consul General Luo Linquan
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

An unusual center for learning is taking shape in Bellevue. It’s a partnership between the University of Washington, Microsoft and Tsinghua University in China to build a school for innovation.

The University of Washington said this is the first time a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States.

The hurdles Native American teenagers face in and out of school are daunting. College Horizons, a small organization based in New Mexico, has proven they're not insurmountable.

Every year, the group sponsors week-long retreats on college campuses for teenagers from some of the more than 500 federally-recognized tribes in the U.S.

One of those retreats was at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where 85 students gathered along with dozens of admissions officers from some of the nation's most selective universities.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Most teens in Seattle Public Schools get to sleep in this year - at least, relative to years past. After years of pressure from parents, teachers and sleep experts, the district flipped its bell times so that nearly all middle and high schools start at 8:45 a.m., and most elementary schools begin at 7:55 a.m. That's the opposite schedule from years past, when many elementary students didn't start until 9:30.

Trigger warnings, the heads-up that college professors give to students to let them know disturbing content is coming, have gotten a lot of attention as the school year has unfolded. When a University of Chicago dean wrote a letter to incoming freshmen this fall rejecting the idea of those warnings, it sparked a nationwide debate on the use of advisories in the classroom.

Patricia Murphy

The Department of Education is partnering with education nonprofits to help answer questions from students affected by the abrupt shutdown of ITT Technical Institute.

The 40,000 former students will have to find new schools if they want to pursue their education. But for the more than 6,000 of those ITT students who were veterans, the problems can be much more complicated.

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