A juvenile inmate crew from Naselle Youth Camp in Southwest Washington. There were 30 kids part of the fire effort until last week, when a 16-year-old broke free, assaulted one of his supervisors and stole a gun.
Courtesy of Juvenile Rehabilitation Adminstration

Crews of juvenile inmates have been sent to fight wildfires in Washington state since the 1960s.

Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

Signs promote lunch and recess for Seattle students.
Facebook Photo/Lunch and Recess Matter

Marcie Sillman talks to KUOW's Ann Dornfeld about recess (and other issues) that are on the table in contract talks between the Seattle teacher's union and the school district.  

Signs promote lunch and recess for Seattle students.
Facebook Photo/Lunch and Recess Matter

The Seattle teachers’ union is clashing with the district over what should be on their new contract.

KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld talked with teachers at a union meeting at Benaroya Hall last night. She says along with the items you always see, like pay, this time there are new issues on the table.

Students at a Minecraft camp at the University of Washington. Minecraft is mostly taught at summer camps for the time being -- how to apply it to the classroom is another question.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Teenager Alea Frydnlund is creating zombies.

“It will attack you if you’re on survival,” she says. “But right now, I’m just on creative.”

Chester E. Finn Jr. has three very bright granddaughters. He thinks they "have considerable academic potential and are not always being challenged by their schools." Finn is not just a proud grandpa; he's a long-established expert on education policy with the Fordham Institute and Hoover Institution.

So it's not surprising that his grandkids got him wondering about — and researching — a big question: How well is the U.S. educating its top performers?

Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: "All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine." And adding that it's free.

That's one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call "vaccine hesitancy" — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available.

It's a topic that has made headlines this year, when an outbreak of measles focused attention on U.S. parents who'd not vaccinated their kids, fearing unproven side effects.

The infant room at Learning Way School & Daycare in White Center, where director Jeri Finch says she does her best to make sure parents update their children's immunization records regularly.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Under Washington state law, children are supposed to be fully immunized to attend daycare or preschool.

But no one knows how many kids in child care centers are actually vaccinated, because the state’s not keeping track.

Student loans have become an issue in the presidential campaign, especially on the Democratic side. And it's no wonder. There are more than 40 million Americans with some $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

But people who study education finance say one widely popular proposal to help lessen the debt load may not be as good as it seems.

The first problem: the debt load

An unprecedented, class action lawsuit brought against one Southern California school district and its top officials could have a big impact on schools across the country.

On Thursday in Los Angeles, a U.S. District Court judge will preside over the first hearing in the suit against the Compton Unified School District. To understand the complaint, you need to understand Compton.

Kids play on a closed street in the Central District. Water was the theme here.
KUOW Photo/Paul Kiefer

In old movies and photographs, you sometimes see kids playing in the street, even in big cities. Today, cars and bikes have taken over the streets.

But in Seattle, that old idea of street play is making a comeback.

They’re called Play Streets, a program through the Seattle Department of Transportation. The city started testing the idea last year. The premise: Shut down a neighborhood street for a few hours so kids can play. It’s free – all you have to do is fill out a sheet of paper and send it to the city.

Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage.

But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California, Oklahoma, Kentucky and places in between.

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Only around half of Washington students passed the new state tests in math and English.

That’s a big drop in scores from the old tests. But it’s what schools officials had predicted for the new Common Core assessments.

I'm The Kid In Your Honors Class Who Crossed The Border Illegally

Aug 14, 2015
Luis Angel Gomez-Castillo lives in Seattle with his family. He is entering his sophomore year at the University of Washington.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Hoping for a better life and education for my younger brother and me, my mother decided we should migrate to the U.S.

I was only 9 years old when we crossed the border illegally. With only a two-liter water bottle, we walked through the desert at night for two hours.

After a record-long session, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and legislative leaders still aren’t done. They’ll resume talks on schools funding on Monday afternoon in SeaTac after an unprecedented ruling from the state Supreme Court.

Erica C. Barnett, Joel Connelly, Ijeoma Oluo and Bill Radke breakdown the week's news.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

We’ll play you audio from Saturday’s rally with Bernie Sanders which was disrupted by two Black Lives Matter activists and debate the meaning of the protest and the subsequent reaction. Also, the Washington Supreme Court fines us $100,000 a day for failing to fund education – will that finally force the legislature to act? And should you get a $124 ticket for getting stuck in an intersection and “blocking the box”?

Bill Radke explores those stories and more of this week’s news with Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo and journalists Joel Connelly and Erica C. Barnett.