Master Algebra in 90 Minutes: KUOW's Ross Reynolds interviews Zoran Popović from the UW Center for Game Design
The University of Washington's Center for Game Science has an outrageous claim: By playing a computer game called DragonBox Adaptive for 90 minutes, 92 percent of first graders can master algebraic linear equations.
But that's not just an untested claim — it's the result of tests done in Washington state's public schools. Amazingly, that statistic also held for the few kindergarten classes that have tested the game. Most school districts don't introduce this material until middle school. Today, Ross Reynolds speaks with the Center for Game Science's director, Zoran Popović.
It’s been one week since the first day of school, and to say that the start was rocky would be an understatement. A highly contested teacher contract debate had parents worried whether schools would even begin on time last Wednesday. When school did open, software problems caused confusion all over the Seattle district. With all this news, it promises to be an exciting year. Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Superintendent José Banda about the first week and what’s on tap for the school year.
Dara Van Antwerp, an armed school resource officer, will be permanently stationed at Panther Run Elementary School in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Across the country, schools have increased security after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., last year.
On Wednesday, the Seattle City Council held its first committee meeting to consider a plan for providing universal preschool for three and four year olds. The effort is being led by Councilmember Tim Burgess.
Burgess told KUOW that "we know from all of the academic research that preschool for three and four year olds is a key step to prepare them to enter kindergarten, so they can learn and thrive throughout their education process."
Not everyone finds that research so convincing. Liv Finne of the Washington Policy's Education Center said, "the research has been exaggerated," and if Seattle moves forward with a plan to provide universal preschool, "we're not going to get the results that are being promised."
The Seattle City Council will continue to meet in the coming months.
Last year’s violent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, put school safety at the forefront. As the new school year begins, we take a look at two approaches to school safety in Washington state. David Hyde speaks with Rainier School District Superintendent Tim Garchow and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick.
Long hours. Little pay. And lots of public scrutiny.
Sounds like a dream job right?
Well it's often the very real experience of school board members, especially here in Seattle. But part of that job description could change. State Representative Reuven Carlyle is considering a proposal that would pay school board members $42,000 per year – the same as state lawmakers. As of now, school board members are only eligible for reimbursements of up to $4,800 per year.
What are the benefits of paying school board members? Does it lead to student improvement? Thomas Alsbury is professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University. He talked with Ross Reynolds about what the research says.
You might consider office supplies provided by your employer a given -- but not if you’re a teacher. A survey this year by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that virtually all teachers -- 99.5 percent -- use their own money to buy basic classroom supplies. Last school year, teachers shelled out an average of $485 over the course of a year.
You’ve heard that America must train its children for careers in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. But math is not just a stable, sensible career.
Seattle educator Dan Finkel says math is a joy. If it’s a drag, why would you inflict it on your child?
Finkel and his wife, Katherine Cook, run an education program called Math For Love. Long before he got his PhD in math from the University of Washington, he was a kid, wondering why he was learning math in school.
About 1,800 teachers cast their votes in the Seattle Education Association general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall. Members voted first by voice, then by standing to clarify the count. One member moved to call for a ballot count, but there wasn't enough support from fellow members. Teachers present estimated that at least 60 percent of the votes were in favor of the contract.
The Seattle teachers union and the school district have reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract. The union will vote on the agreement today, on the eve of the first scheduled day of school. Marcie Sillman talks with Ballard high school teacher, Noam Gundle and Chris Eide, executive director of independent teachers group Teachers United, to get their perspectives on the agreement.
Sillman also spoke with KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld who explained the main issues surfacing in the contract negotiations.
Correction 8/27/13: In a previous version, the length of the district's contract offer was stated as three years. The current offer is for a two-year contract. The length of the contract is negotiable.
Seattle's teachers' union voted down the school district's two-year contract offer Monday night at Seattle Education Association's general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall.
Reporters were not allowed inside the meeting, but teachers said that the voice vote was nearly unanimous, with only several teachers of the hundreds present supporting the contract offer.
Isabella Rossellini became famous for high-fashion modeling and for her acting roles in over 60 films and television shows. But she also makes films about sex. Specifically, the sex lives of animals. From the elephant seal to the little anchovy — all erotic encounters are on the table. Isabella Rossellini joined us back in 2009.
"All children are born artists. The problem is to remain artists as we grow up," says Sir Ken Robinson, an international expert on creativity. School, he says, encourages us to become good workers, not creative thinkers. So how do we fix it? Marcie Sillman talked with Sir Robinson in 2009 about his book, "The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything," and the challenges of teaching creativity.
A Conversation With "Game Of Thrones" Author George R.R. Martin
With HBO's "Game of Thrones," George R.R. Martin's world of Westeros is seducing TV viewers much as it captured readers. Martin began writing science fiction stories in the 1970s, and early on his stories were nominated for awards. Raised in a housing project in New Jersey, he used to write monster tales for the neighborhood kids. Steve Scher talked with George Martin in 2012.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:14 pm
For decades, rural parts of the Northwest have found it difficult to lure doctors to small towns. Community leaders in Yakima, Wash. went so far as to found a small medical school to train doctors to practice in these underserved areas.
The Pacific Northwest University opened in 2006. But there is a problem. Small towns throughout the region just don’t have enough residency programs. And that means many of these doctors-in-training may move away.
In a letter to the community Friday evening, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda outlined key elements of the district's latest contract offer, including a four percent pay increase over two years, hiring extra support staff including school psychologists, nurses, speech pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists, and improvements to the special education delivery model.