Thanksgiving dinnr food
Flickr Photo/Dan Tentler (CC BY NC 2.0)/

In advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Record brought in a panel to talk about some of the key issues happening in the news.

  • Race and justice issues provoked protests at college campuses in Washington state and all over the country this month. Students of color are calling for safer spaces on campus. 
  • The Seattle City Council said no to increasing parental leave from four weeks to 12.  
  • And how do you talk politics with your family on Thanksgiving?

Bill Radke talks over the news with Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, journalist Erica C. Barnett and University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake.

Other guests include Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, Columbia journalism professor Todd Gitlin, and Lizzie Post, co-host of the podcast Amazing Etiquette.

How To Talk To Kids About Thanksgiving

Nov 25, 2015

You know the drill: Trace your hand, then add the details. Two feet, a beak, a single eyeball. Color it in, and voila! Hand becomes turkey.

You know the rest too: The Pilgrims fled England and landed on Plymouth Rock. The native people there, the Wampanoag, taught them to farm the land. In 1621, they sat down together for a thanksgiving feast, and we've been celebrating it ever since.

It's a lesson many remember from childhood, but the story has some problems.

Protests over racial discrimination on college campuses are leading to some swift responses and pledges of reform by college administrators. Even as the protests themselves appear to be quieting down ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, activists are pledging a prolonged fight.

Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard said "this was hate speech."
Flickr photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)/HTTP://BIT.LY/1MQCGBG

Western Washington University canceled classes Tuesday after hate speech remarks popped up on social media and targeted students of color, school officials said.

University President Bruce Shepard told KUOW’s Bill Radke that the messages run "from simply the rude and ugly that you see trolls out there throwing around all the time to non-specific threats to specific threats.”

After a long stalemate, a bipartisan team of congressional negotiators has agreed to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law, currently known as No Child Left Behind, sends roughly $14 billion a year to schools that serve mostly low-income students.

Here's what we know about the rough agreement. First, annual testing — a major feature of NCLB — would remain for grades three through eight and at least once in high school. Schools would still have to test 95 percent of their students and report the results by race, income and special need.

Emily Au, right, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, walks home from school with her cousin, Rebecca Chung. Au says the walk is dangerous, and that some students skip class or show up tardy because they don't want to walk in the dark.
KUOW photo/Ann Dornfeld

When Emily Au walks to school, she worries about getting jumped – again.

Last time, it was a woman at a bus stop asking for bus fare. The woman didn’t take no for an answer.

Daniel Bagley Elementary School in north Seattle.
Joe Wolf/Flickr Photo (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A lot of Seattle teens can hit the snooze button next school year.

The school board voted 6-1 Wednesday night to push back start times for middle and high schools.

Oregon should create an anonymous statewide tip line and a database of school floor plans. Those are some of the recommendations in a report released Wednesday by a task force on school safety.

University of Washington history professor Stephanie Smallwood at KUOW studios on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Walk onto the University of Washington's Red Square and you are greeted by a giant statue of George Washington. A lot of students walk past that statue barely aware it's there.

But UW senior Palca Shibale told KUOW’s Bill Radke that Red Square is one place – but not the only one on campus – where she feels erased as a student of color.

Shibale, who is studying molecular biology, helped organize a rally last week in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri who protested the handling of racist incidents on campus.

Caryn Mathes, president and general manager of KUOW Public Radio, spoke to the University of Washington Board of Regents Thursday.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

At KPLU studios in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, some employees said they’re disappointed that Pacific Lutheran University would sell the station.

KPLU reporter Gabriel Spitzer said that right up to this announcement he had been making plans for the new local program he hosts, called "Sound Effect." This announcement came as a shock.

At 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, you'll find Mark Gaither standing on Gough Street in southeast Baltimore. He's outside Wolfe Street Academy, the neighborhood elementary school where he's the principal.

Gaither has a huge umbrella in case it rains, and thick gloves for when it snows. He's here each morning to greet students and families as they come to school — which should make for at least 225 "good mornings."

Tim Wolfe is not the first college administrator to come under fire for responding poorly to campus racism. And Wolfe, until this week the head of the University of Missouri System, isn't likely to be the last.

College presidents who have themselves been in crisis have learned there's a right way — and a wrong way — to respond.

Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.

Almost all college students have a cellphone. They use them an average of eight to 10 hours a day and check them an average of every 15 to 20 minutes while they're awake.

Heavier smartphone use has been linked to lower-quality sleep and lower GPAs — oh, are you getting a text right now?

I'll wait.

Anyway, as I was saying, one professor at the University of Colorado Boulder has come up with a solution to smartphone distraction in one of his astronomy classes.

Updated 6:10 p.m. ET

Amid continued pressure, the University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and the chancellor of the Columbia campus, R. Bowen Loftin, both tendered their resignations on Monday.

Wolfe announced his resignation this morning and by late afternoon, Loftin had followed suit, saying he would leave his post as chancellor at the end of this year.

"I take full responsibility for this frustration, and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred," Wolfe said.

Last spring, with the Ebola outbreak under control, students in Sierra Leone returned to school after a months-long hiatus. But absent from the classrooms were several thousand adolescent girls. A law that went into effect in April bars "visibly pregnant" students from school.