Charla Bear

Education Reporter

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.

Charla's most memorable public radio moment: “Sitting alone in a room with a convicted murderer who had just been paroled. The only thing between us was a microphone, as he told me how he had transformed his life and become a priest.”

Ways to Connect

Kim Trick / Hyla Middle School

Not all kids are enjoying a day off thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.  Teachers and administrators at Hyla Middle School on Bainbridge Island see it as the perfect time to give students a new perspective on the civil rights leader.  

Charla Bear / KPLU

Seniors who graduate from Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle have a new price for their first year of college – free.  The president of South Seattle Community College says it’ll give one-year tuition scholarships to any student who gets a diploma and fills out a couple of forms. 

Courtesy of Holly Wolfe

As people remember the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year, some Washington residents will get an up close look at the hardships survivors still face.  Today, anyone who walks through the middle of the UW Tacoma campus can see a refugee camp like those many Haitians live in.  

Seattle Office for Education

Now that Seattle schoolchildren have settled in to the new student assignment plan, some changes are on the way.  The effort to place kids at neighborhood schools this year has hit a few bumps. 

Governor Chris Gregoire says she has a plan to make higher ed funding more stable and boost the number of students who earn degrees, but it could be a long shot.

The governor's plan would let schools decide when to increase tuition and by how much.  She says colleges and universities know best what they’re worth. 

Kids read at a preschool program in Seattle
Seattle Office for Education

A new project just launched at the University of Washington could give Head Start teachers a boost.  The effort aims to redesign how instructors for the federal early learning program are trained.

Bart Maguire / Flickr photo

A lot of people clear out old documents after the New Year, but you might want to think twice before shredding them.  Paper scraps are too small for some recycling companies to take from residential customers. 

Recycling workers sort out all types and sizes of paper when it arrives at the center.  Newspapers go in one pile, envelopes in another.  But those scraps of shredded bills?    

The number of homeless students in Washington during the past school year is 5-percent higher than the previous year.  More than 21,000 homeless students now go to school in Washington state, according to new figures released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

During the 2005-06 school year, districts reported half as many homeless students.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Along with egg nog and presents, doctors say families should share their health histories this holiday season.  Health officials say family history is a leading predictor of illnesses and a big gift for loved ones. 

A sign scheduled to run on Metro buses next week has King County officials debating the limits of free speech in transit advertising.

The ad features the words, “Israeli war crimes your tax dollars at work” next to a group of kids staring at a demolished building.

King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer called for a re-evaluation of the proposed ads, set to roll out Dec. 27.  The date coincides with the two-year anniversary of Israeli military action in Gaza.

A group of Seattle parents and community members has filed a lawsuit to stop Seattle Public Schools from bringing Teach for America to the city.

What's one way to end the terror of junior high?  Members of a Bethel School District committee think the answer is to create middle schools. 

The group of residents and staff from Pierce County’s third-largest school district voted Wednesday night to support switching the junior high configuration to a middle school model, reports the Tacoma News Tribune.

Office of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has given his approval for a Dale Chihuly glass-art exhibit to replace the Fun Forest at the Seattle Center, plus a new home for radio station KEXP and a children’s playground.  

A student gets help with his schoolwork in a Seattle program for at-risk youth
Seattle Office for Education

Washington is finally making progress on closing the achievement gap between different groups of students, but researchers say it’s not all good news.  A new report found that the gains mean some students will still lag behind for more than a century. 

Solid Ground says kids and families benefit from gift cards for the holidays
Solid Ground

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, local non-profits want to make sure needy families are on your list.  Several charities are collecting toys and clothes for people who can’t afford presents, but a few Adopt-a-Family programs ask donors to give something more than stuff. 

Gary Davis/KPLU

A major effort launches today to help low-income students in South King County and South Seattle.  It’s a new approach to a decades-old problem – how to help disadvantaged kids succeed in school and beyond. 

Russell Dickerson III (right) is suing the Aberdeen School District
Charla Bear

An African-American teen in Aberdeen is suing the city’s school district for not keeping him safe from bullying when he was a student.  He alleges administrators knew he endured racial and sexual harassment for years, but did little to stop it.

The Urban League helps African American kids do well in school
The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle

African American kids are more likely than any other students to start their educations in Seattle’s worst public schools.  That’s according to a new report from University of Washington researchers.  Community groups and school district administrators say it means schools are disproportionately failing kids who already face big hurdles to education. 

A big tobacco company is using images of Seattle to convince people to light up.  It’s one of 10 cities featured in an ad campaign that follows the Camel cigarettes mascot to “hip” locations.  This month, the company plans to start selling limited edition packs with Seattle icons on it.

Seattle students work on math
Seattle Office for Education

This year’s high school freshman and sophomores might have fewer graduation tests to dread if Randy Dorn has his way.  

Kids participate in a preschool program funded by the Families & Education Levy
Seattle Office for Education

It’s been less than a month since the last election, and already Seattle officials are unveiling a measure for next fall’s ballot.  This week, the public will get its first glimpse at the next Families and Education Levy.  

Seattle Jazz Ed Advanced Ensemble
Charla Bear

Seattle public schools have some of the best jazz programs in the country.  Student ensembles dominate at national competitions and perform all over the world.  But many kids don’t get to participate because the bands only exist in a few schools.  Now a new program aims to give every middle and high school student in the area an opportunity to learn from renowned jazz teachers. 

WSU mens sweatshirt by Alta Gracia
Washington State University Bookstore

Showing school spirit for local Universities could give a big boost to workers in a developing country.  Bookstores at some schools now carry a line of logo shirts that aims to do away with the image of sweatshops.

Starting this year, middle school students in Seattle could finally get some credit on their high school transcripts, that is.  Seventh and eighth graders who take high school level courses can now apply them towards graduation.  The policy has pluses and minuses for young kids.

Charla Bear/KPLU

A lot of attention has been focused on improving public schools. But figuring out how schools are doing can be tricky. Some people say test scores and graduation rates don't show the whole picture. Now administrators in Seattle say they've come up with a better system.