Education

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The University of Washington admitted its most diverse incoming class in the school’s history this year, but black students made up less than 3 percent of that population. Students like Mayowa Aina say that’s no surprise. She saw very few students who looked like her during her five years on campus.

 

biologycorner / Flickr

Only about 48 percent of eighth graders in Washington state met the standard in math this past school year.

The state schools superintendent’s office has just released test results for the Smarter Balanced assessment for a number of grades. Overall, test scores trended down a bit compared with a year earlier.

For example, on the English language arts assessment, 59 percent of eighth graders met the standard compared with 60 percent last year.

Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times

Students are heading back to class and some are facing the daunting task of dealing with a new school and new expectations.

High school freshmen can have a difficult time getting started. But there are programs geared toward making sure those students who may have fallen through the cracks don’t.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The majority of teachers across the country are white. But the student population is much more diverse. A panel of local education experts will be on stage at Town Hall Seattle June 15 for an event called #EducationSoWhite to talk about how that gap can impact everyone inside schools.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

There’s still no decision on how the state will fund basic education. Lawmakers are in the midst of a second special session, trying to come up with a plan to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and the deadline is looming.

88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave spoke with Seattle Times education reporter Neal Morton to get an update on negotiations.

"The School" by Eric Frommer is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2p8KNRc

Tacoma Public Schools, once labeled "dropout factories," posted record-high graduation rates last year that beat statewide averages.

That's according to a report released Friday by the nonprofit Foundation for Tacoma Students. The group formed in 2010, the year a dismal 55 percent of the city's students finished high school in four years.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Since the election, there has been renewed interest in learning about how government works. 

Most high school students said in 2010 that they learned about civics in some form, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress in the subject.

But many adults in Washington state and around the country are finding those high school government lessons difficult to remember. 

What Washington Teaches Kids

Education Plans Move Forward In Washington Legislature

Feb 23, 2017

The Washington Legislature has reached a milestone in its court-ordered quest to amply fund schools. Both chambers have now passed education funding plans.

The House vote happened Wednesday. But negotiating a final compromise could take months.

Legislative Support Services Photography

Chris Reykdal is the state superintendent of public instruction-elect. He officially takes office Jan. 11, and is replacing Randy Dorn, who has served the state for the last eight years. There are definitely some challenges Reykdal will be facing in the first several months in office, especially when it comes to working with the legislature in finding ways to adequately fund basic education. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This school year, Seattle’s Garfield High School embarked on a new path. All students are now automatically placed in honors humanities classes, regardless of test scores. Some see this step toward “detracking” in public schools as a negative, because it eliminates gifted or accelerated programs.

Will James / KNKX

Members of the Satanic Temple don't actually believe in Satan.

They're more like atheists who follow ethical precepts and embrace the devil as a symbol of independence -- and as a bit of a provocation aimed at organized religion. 

Monica Spain / knkx

Washington is adopting the state’s first set of standards for teaching computer science in public schools. By adopting computer science standards, Washington is addressing the skills gap in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Right now, only one in 10 schools in the state offers classes that teach students more advanced computer skills that deal with problem solving, such as robotics, creating websites and writing software. Computer instruction has been considered an “extra” in schools, with funding coming from local levies.

Courtesy of the Satanic Temple of Seattle

Leaders of the Satanic Temple of Seattle say they've been approved to launch an after-school club at Tacoma's Point Defiance Elementary School this winter. 

Temple leaders applied with Tacoma Public Schools to start the club in mid-October, after abandoning a similar proposal in Mount Vernon because school facilities there would not have been available until April. 

The candidates aren't talking much about education. But we are.

Voters are, too — education is rated as one of the top campaign issues this election cycle.

An 8-year-old named Ben is sitting quietly by himself in a bean bag in a classroom in Mountain View, Calif. He's writing in his journal, an assignment he created himself.

"This one was, 'What I Wish We Would Have More Of,' " Ben says, reading to me from his notebook. "I hope we have more field trips." He stops and looks up. "I have more entries, but I don't want to share them."

After weeks of protests by South African students calling for free tuition, Monday was supposed to be the reopening of regular classes at the University of the Witswatersrand.

But marches by hundreds of protesters showed that a return to normalcy isn't on the schedule at the campus in Johannesburg.

Members of the "Fees Must Fall" movement entered auditoriums, disrupting classes and intimidating other students, Peter Granitz reported on Morning Edition.

PHOTOS: They're All Kings And Queens Of Katwe

Oct 5, 2016

In the far corner of a dead-end dirt lane in Katwe, one of Uganda's most poverty-stricken slums, a small boy sits on a step peering into a cramped room where Robert Katende addresses a group of teenagers.

At the front of the room a large chess board with magnetic pieces hangs on the wall. Beside it is a well-worn whiteboard with a line down the middle. It reads "Compare: Chess Vs. Life."

Under "Chess" Katende has written: "Opening"

Under "Life": "Birth"

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Sheila Edwards Lange, the current president of Seattle Central College, stares out her fourth-floor office window at a changing city. From this building on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, she can see the Space Needle, Key Arena, Puget Sound and some mountains off in the distance.

But she can also see cranes – symbols of a booming city and all the change that brings with it.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education unveiled new rules, explaining to states and districts how they can prove they're spreading resources fairly between poor and less-poor schools.

Today's release is a re-write of rules that were first unveiled last spring and that caused quite a stir, creating a political unicorn: a fight in which Republicans and teachers unions found themselves on the same side.

SIMONE BOE

Activists say they're still ready to campaign for an income tax to fund college tuition in Olympia, despite a court ruling last week blocking the initiative from the ballot this Election Day.

The Opportunity for Olympia campaign has appealed the Aug. 24 decision, and leaders say they hope to get a hearing as early as Wednesday in the state's Court of Appeals. 

Steven Depolo / Flickr

All nine statewide offices are up for grabs this election year, and about half don’t even have an incumbent running. It’s pretty obvious what most of these elected officials do, such as the governor or the secretary of state. But the job description for the person who runs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, or what it takes to be successful at it, aren't quite as clear.

Ashley Jochim, a researcher with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington-Bothell, says the job deals a lot with accountability.

Jennifer LeBret-White

Native American dropout rates are nearly twice the national average.

A new certificate program at the University of Washington aims to improve outcomes for Native American students, by teaching educators better ways to connect with them and their heritage.

There's a reason Jose Luis Vilson's students learn in groups: He wants them to feel comfortable working with anyone in the classroom, something he's realized in his 11 years of teaching doesn't always come naturally.

"I don't really give students a chance to self-select until later on, when I feel like they can pretty much group with anybody," he says.

Twenty years ago, Aimée Eubanks Davis taught in a middle school that served low-income kids in New Orleans.

She didn't define success in terms of test scores. Instead, she focused on the future, wanting her students to graduate from college and find a good job.

Eubanks Davis remembers when some of her earliest students first began that process, sending out resumes and preparing for job interviews.

"Oh, my goodness," she remembers thinking. "This is the moment you want to see: your former students living their dreams."

Nine-thousand feet up in the Colombian Andes, in the province of Boyacá, a little orange schoolhouse sits on a hillside dotted with flowers.

Thirty-three students, ages 4 through 11, walk as much as an hour to get here from their families' farms. The students greet reporters in English — "Welcome! Welcome!" — and Spanish, with a song and a series of performances.

In one, an 8-year-old in a green school uniform and a colorful feather mask recites a folk tale about a terrible, tobacco-smoking monster called a Mohan.

Merriam-Webster defines jargon as "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity, group, profession, or field of study."

More than half of public school students are members of minority groups, but 83 percent of their teachers are white. Half of students are boys, while three-quarters of teachers are women.

Students can benefit in many ways from having teachers who look like them, but in many schools around the country the math doesn't add up.

K-12 education hasn't exactly been front and center in this presidential election, but Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders made some news on the topic this week. Here's how he responded to a question about charter schools at a CNN televised Town Hall meeting:

"I believe in public education and I believe in public charter schools. I do not believe in privately controlled charter schools."

Before I became a reporter, I was a teacher. After 27 years on the education beat, I've met a few fantastic teachers and a few bad ones. So I've wondered, where would I have fit in? Was I a good teacher?

Recently I went back to the site of the school where I taught so many years ago, just outside Tucson, Ariz. Treehaven was both a day school and a boarding school for so-called "troubled kids."

Has American education research mostly languished in an echo chamber for much of the last half century?

Harvard's Thomas Kane thinks so.

Why have the medical and pharmaceutical industries and Silicon Valley all created clear paths to turn top research into game-changing innovations, he asks, while education research mostly remains trapped in glossy journals?

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