schools and education | KUOW News and Information

schools and education

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

The King County Council has unanimously approved the master plan for the $400 million Best Starts for Kids initiative voters passed last fall.

Half of the Best Starts for Kids funding will go toward early childhood efforts, like programs that send nurses on regular home visits with low-income moms and babies, a new system for infant and young child mental health, and increased spending on public health services for pregnant women and children.

Oh, middle school. The land of pantsing. Mean girls who won't let you sit with them in the cafeteria. And, these days, cryptic taunts posted on social media, where parents and teachers can't always see them.

The Oregon Health Authority says an increase in selenium concentrations near Bullseye Glass Company has prompted an inspection.

Data from a device near the Children’s Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland showed slightly elevated concentrations of selenium on September 6.

Selenium is an essential nutrient needed in the human body, but it can be hazardous at high levels.

Bullseye has been in trouble with the state several times this year for similar emissions problems.

According to a new report from a state task force, the ratio of students to school nurses has more than doubled in the past five years in Oregon.

John Muir Elementary in Seattle, where 48 percent of the students are black.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf http://bit.ly/2cLugNE (CC BY-ND 2.0)

An event at a South Seattle school aimed at inspiring students of color has been canceled after John Muir Elementary received an online threat.

KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

Bill Radke sits down with Seattle University professor Nancy Burkhalter to talk about her experience as an adjunct, or part-time professor, at the university.

More than half of all professors in the U.S. are adjuncts, and they receive far fewer benefits than their tenured or tenure-track colleagues who are essentially guaranteed employment for life. 

Last week, Seattle University adjunct professors voted to unionize, and a union is expected to be certified sometime next week.

Bill Radke sits down with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld to talk about the state of Washington's charter schools. They’re growing in enrollment, but face a new legal challenge.

College presidents from High Point, N. C., to Laie, Hawaii, are sitting up a little straighter, because the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings are out today. Published every year since 1983, they've become perhaps the most famous and influential college rankings. But they're no longer the only game in town.

Erin Jones, left, and Chris Reykdal are running for state schools chief in Washington state. Jones has been under fire for her comments on gender curriculum.
Campaign photographs

Q. Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are the two candidates for state schools chief. So let's get to know them. What do you know about Reykdal?

Reykdal is a three-term Democratic state representative from Tumwater.

He’s been a teacher, and he’s vice-chair of the House Education Committee.


Brash. That’s how you might describe Washington state’s two-term State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. He hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind and criticize the governor and legislators over school funding.

Now Dorn is stepping aside and two newcomers are vying for the non-partisan job.

Jonathan Carollo, 14, captured viral attention when he played his washing machine. Now he's part of an international video including child prodigies
KUOW Photo/Emily Fox

Four years ago a kid in Sammamish started playing a unique kind of instrument.

The washing machine. Which, it turns out, is like a drum kit with a spin cycle.

At 10, Jonathan Carollo became a viral YouTube sensation. Now he’s back with a new video.


Like so many brilliant innovations, the idea seems obvious in hindsight. Just combine college, coffee, and chemical engineering. Of course!

It was nearly a decade ago that the McCleary family sued the state of Washington over school funding. In the years since, the state Supreme Court has sided with the family, found the state in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 per day fine.

It’s back to school time. It was also back to court Wednesday for lawyers in an ongoing school funding lawsuit in Washington state.

This school year, the University of Chicago has put the debate over "trigger warnings" on campus back in the news. The University told incoming freshmen that, because of its commitment to freedom of expression, it does not support warnings to students about potentially difficult material.

But amid all the attention to trigger warnings, there have been very few facts about exactly how common they are and how they're used.

Alan Copsey, center, a deputy attorney general for the state of Washington, speaks during a hearing before the Washington State Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit against the state over education funding, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about this week's state Supreme Court hearing over funding public education in Washington.

Just as the school year begins, the Washington state Supreme Court will get an update Wednesday on school funding efforts in the state legislature. Tuesday, a panel of lawmakers got an earful.

The fall semester has just begun on most college campuses, but tens of thousands of students in 38 states were told Tuesday that, instead, their college is closing its doors.

The ongoing fight over school funding in Washington state is heading back to court. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the Washington Supreme Court.

School supplies
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about why Washington asks its students to help supply their schools. 

Washington requires traditional supplies meant for individual use, like a 24-pack of crayons and some spiral bound notebooks, as well as more unusual supplies meant to be shared by the classroom, like one jumbo pack of napkins, two bottles of hand sanitizer and two reams of copy paper. 

Georgetown University will be offering an admissions edge to descendants of enslaved people sold to fund the school, officials announced on Thursday.

Jesuit priests connected to the private Catholic university sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, to pay off the university's massive debts. The men, women and children were sold to plantations in Louisiana; the university received the equivalent of $3.3 million, securing its survival.

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about the most recent Washington State report card.

Students who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a statewide test for public school students, did better on average this year. Still, approximately half of elementary school students are not meeting the standard in math, and they're not doing much better in English language arts.

Homeschooling is becoming more common, and studies suggest that military parents are more likely to homeschool their kids.

Portland Public Schools said Thursday it's OK to eat vegetables grown in the dozens of community gardens on school grounds.

That reverses advice from last week telling Portlanders not to eat the school garden produce due to high levels of lead in school water used to irrigate the plants.

A Bothell High School teacher has admitted to police that he made up his report of being attacked on campus earlier this year.


The impacts of population growth are visible all around the Puget Sound area: thicker traffic, rising rents. It's also leading to more crowded classrooms, as some families with school kids know.

North of Seattle, Bothell schools in particular are experiencing growing pains. Schools and daycares are nearly filled to the brim.

The grass is greener ... if you're a student in Detroit, looking across your school district's boundary with the neighboring Grosse Pointe public schools.

Nearly half of Detroit's students live in poverty; that means a family of four lives on roughly $24,000 a year — or less.

In Grosse Pointe, a narrow stretch of real estate nestled between Detroit and Lake St. Clair, just 7 percent of students live at or below the poverty line.

To recap, that's 49 percent vs. 7 percent. Neighbors.

Courtesy of Washington OSPI / Bobbi Stockwell

After Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri two years ago, Nathan Bowling's students came to him for guidance.

Bowling is a teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, where he teaches AP government and politics.

"Mike Brown had just graduated. He's their age. There was just a panic in the room: what if this happens to me? What if this happens to someone we know?" Bowling told KUOW's Bill Radke.

Months after the Obama administration advised school districts that transgender students should be given access to bathrooms based on their gender identity, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the guidance from going into effect — for now.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has granted a preliminary, nationwide injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and a number of other states.

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