Youth & Education

Stories and features about education in the Pacific Northwest. Including stories from Washington state and the United States. 

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Mel Peffs / Flickr

The threat of a strike by school bus drivers in Seattle has many parents anxious. About 12,000 students in the district regularly use school bus service. Now, the union that represents the drivers is calling on the Seattle school board to put pressure on their vendor to resolve the labor dispute.

Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism / Flickr

Here’s one more sign that Seattle’s economy is booming: A private school here has organized what it says is the city’s first ever boarding school educational fair on Monday night, with local boarding schools as well as ones from across the country taking part.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is expected to draw large crowds when she speaks Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue.

She is speaking at the Washington Policy Center's sold-out gala, where the minimum ticket price was $350, though the group says tickets for people in its Young Professionals program were $50 and some college students will attend for free. The organization is expecting 1,500 people for DeVos's first visit to Washington state as education secretary.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This week, Seattle schools have been putting an extra emphasis on Native culture because of Indigenous Peoples' Day. 

But some parents at the school with the highest concentration of Native kids are frustrated with the school district. They say a shortage of classroom space in the brand-new facility for Licton Springs K-8 threatens their kids’ ability to learn.

Courtesy of UW School of Nursing

Nearly every county in Washington has a shortage of doctors, particularly in the areas of primary care and mental health. But there is a new push to train more practitioners for rural and underserved places.

Did Washington’s prepaid Guaranteed Education Tuition program give VIP service to state lawmakers with accounts?

Nearly a week after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, students who can't return to school may need to continue their education on the mainland.

Some of the largest school districts in Florida, plus major cities like New York City and Chicago, are preparing for the possibility of an influx of students from the island.

In South Florida, Miami-Dade County public schools are already working to accommodate students who need to transfer from Puerto Rico.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The gifted program in Seattle Public Schools known as the highly capable cohort is dominated by white kids.

White students make up 70 percent of that program, but only 47 percent of the entire district population.

courtesy of Highline Public Schools

Graduation rates are something each school district tracks closely, but there are human stories underlying those numbers. Telling those stories is what Highline Public Schools set out to do in a new documentary called "Eleven Paths."

Anonymous Account / Flickr

Washington state has a big problem with kids not coming to school with one of the worst rates of chronic absenteeism in the nation, according to a report by the group Attendance Works.

Washington State University hopes to get more schools in the state to use an online assessment tool to figure out the reasons why kids aren’t attending.

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.

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition

School starts Wednesday in Seattle, and for the second year in a row, bell times are changing.

The nonprofit group Southeast Seattle Education Coalition has created flyers in Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese and Spanish to let families know about the changes.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia begins this school year with a drop in enrollment and an imminent hiring freeze. The conservative blogosphere is crowing that it's fallout from recent campus unrest, but the university administration disagrees.

As Washington state prepares to reopen its popular pre-paid college tuition program, a recently terminated employee is alleging “gross mismanagement.”

Michael Bennion served as the associate director for fiscal planning at the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program until he was let go earlier this month.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Groups that advocate for kids with disabilities are weighing in on the state’s education funding plan passed by lawmakers in June. 

They have submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Washington state Supreme Court in the McCleary case over education finance, arguing that the funding plan shortchanges kids who need special education.

There are more than 60 schools in the U.S. with names tied to the Confederate South. One school, Robert E. Lee Elementary, is right here in the Northwest.

Cathy Renna

This week, about 1,500 people are gathering in Seattle to take part in the 16th annual Gender Odyssey conference, which brings together transgender kids, adults and their families and gives them an opportunity to talk about issues they face.

Among them will be Joe Maldonado, a 9-year-old transgender boy from New Jersey who successfully challenged the Boy Scouts’ ban on accepting trans kids.

Krissy Venosdale / Flickr

The Edmonds School District and the teachers union say they have reached a tentative agreement, but bargaining is still underway in many other parts of the state, including Kent, Mercer Island and Puyallup.

Mercer Island teachers are planning to rally on Thursday before the school board meets.

Canadian Pacific / Flickr

Getting from Seattle’s waterfront to downtown can be a challenge. It involves crossing under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and hoofing it uphill or climbing tall flights of stairs.

Howard Wright, who owns the tour company Emerald City Trolley and is chair of Seattle Hospitality Group, has come up with a temporary fix.

Since the mid-July, his company has been running minibuses in a loop along the waterfront through downtown and then back. The service is called Seattle Waterfront Connex.

courtesy of the Summer Academic Challenge / University of Puget Sound

On Friday morning, about three dozen middle schoolers will gather at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to take part in an unusual competition. They’ll get to watch as an astronaut on the International Space Station controls robots using computer code the kids have developed.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

 (Updated at 3:20 pm on Aug. 11, 2017 to clarify oversight of charter schools and the status of the latest lawsuit.)

The first day of school is still a few weeks away for most kids in Seattle, but in the Rainier Valley neighborhood, doors will open Monday at a brand-new charter school called Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. It will serve sixth graders initially, then add seventh and eighth grades in subsequent years.

City Year / Flickr

Almost two years ago, Congress scrapped the No Child Left Behind Act, which was despised by a lot of people who thought it was too punitive toward schools that were deemed to be failing. Congress replaced the law with the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Washington schools are making progress in reducing the use of suspensions and expulsions as discipline, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. But officials said racial minorities and kids with disabilities are still being disciplined at higher rates than their peers.

Elaine Thompson / AP

In a filing to the state Supreme Court, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the education funding plan passed by the legislature in June fulfills the state’s constitutional duty. Ferguson is asking the high court to end the long-running McCleary lawsuit.

cmh2315fl / Flickr

The Seattle school board has adopted a budget for the coming school year. They managed to plug holes to fill a deficit once projected to be $74 million, but a district official said that she’s concerned that in the long term, the state’s new education funding plan doesn’t go far enough.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Since last year, Amazon has provided the nonprofit group Mary’s Place with space for about 65 homeless families to sleep. Now, the company is trying to inspire kids from Mary’s Place shelters to choose careers in science or technology.

Courtesy of AutoCognita

A Bellingham woman has teamed up with computer scientists in Hong Kong to develop literacy applications. The group, AutoCognita, has now advanced to the semi-final round in two multi-million-dollar contests.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Teachers have been in short supply in Washington state in recent years. In a survey of school principals last fall, 20 percent said they were in a crisis mode in terms of hiring certificated teachers, and another 70 percent said they were struggling but getting by.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Across Washington, school officials are putting their own math skills to work as they try to figure out what the state’s new school funding plan means for their budgets. For guidance, they’re turning to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who said he’s still working through the numbers himself.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Lawmakers released an education funding plan for the state of Washington at the end of June. The plan allocates $7.3 billion to K-12 public schools throughout the state over the next four years.

But there are still a lot of questions about whether this goes far enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court ruling known as the McCleary decision.

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