Youth & Education

Stories about education focused on the Pacific Northwest and the nation. 

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Four years ago, Marty McLaren took on a well-funded Seattle School Board incumbent and won on a promise to question the district establishment.

Now, early results of Tuesday’s vote show she herself is in danger of losing to an insurgent challenger, Leslie Harris, who says McLaren has become too much a part of that establishment.

rytc / Flickr

UPDATE — Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland has asked school board members to delay their vote on proposed changes to the district's Student Assignment Plan. KPLU's original story, originally posted Tuesday morning, follows here:

Already fired up by a teachers strike and a district-wide staffing shake-up, Seattle Public Schools watchdogs are sounding the alarm yet again — this time, over proposed changes to an arcane-sounding policy: the Student Assignment Plan.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Many of the parents angry at Seattle Public Schools are not likely to see Marty McLaren as the insurgent school board candidate she once was.

To many of them, after one term on the board, McLaren's now a part of the district's edifice.

Poor mothers often spend way too much time hunched over a washboard. What if they could use those hours to curl up with their kids and read a book instead? A group of friends at Oxford University plans to find out by developing a combination childhood education and laundry services center, a concept they've dubbed a "Libromat."

Today, President Obama and the Department of Education released a Testing Action Plan, calling on states to cut back on "unnecessary testing" that consumes "too much instructional time" and creates "undue stress for educators and students."

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Teachers will be pulled from seven Seattle schools and reassigned to new buildings next Monday, as part of a district-wide staffing shake-up officials announced Thursday.

Five other buildings gained teachers in the shuffle, but another 17 schools had to close vacant positions, voluntarily reduce teachers' hours, or find money to pay for teachers whose jobs can no longer be supported due to lower-than-expected enrollments across the district.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

Washington state's top elected school official, Randy Dorn, announced Thursday he will not run for a third term as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2016.

But Dorn said he would remain involved in policy discussions. The statement announcing his decision said, "neither the Governor, the Legislature nor the Court have provided … leadership" in an ongoing debate over school funding.

rytc / Flickr

 

The Seattle School Board is considering a plan that could lead to teenagers and tweens being more rested and ready to learn. A proposal is going before the board which calls for a later start time for middle schools and high schools.

Mark Noltner, who lives in suburban Chicago, heard about McTeacher's Nights when he found a flier in his daughter's backpack last year.

"There was a picture of Ronald McDonald [on the flier]," he says, and it was promoting the school fundraiser at a local McDonald's.

During McTeacher's Nights, teachers stand behind the counter at McDonald's, serving up food to their students who come in. At the end of the event, the school gets a cut of the night's sales.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Fired up over school district administrators' proposed staffing shake-up that would remove teachers from as many as 24 schools, a group of roughly two-dozen parents briefly shut down a Seattle school board committee meeting Wednesday night.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The future of Washington state's charter schools may be up in the air, but for now, they are still receiving public funding.

Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month charter schools violate Washington’s constitution, state education officials sent regular funding payments to the schools at the end of September, according to Tom Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen Rainier Beach High School principal Dwane Chappelle as his pick to lead the city's education department, the mayor announced Thursday.

Chappelle will be the first permanent director of the newly-created Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, which opened in January to oversee the city's preschool and child care initiatives and administer programs funded by the city's Families and Education Levy.

Is technology the best thing that ever happened to education? Or a silent killer of children's attention spans and love of learning?

Tap, Click, Read is a new book out this week that attempts to offer a third alternative. It tells the stories of educators and parents who are trying to develop media, and ways of interacting with that media, that encourage literacy and critical thinking skills in young children, while reducing inequity.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The state Supreme Court will give advocates another month to file a response to justices' recent ruling striking down Washington's charter school law.  The extension likely means the charter schools can continue receiving public dollars through much of October.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Rank-and-file members of the Seattle teachers union formally ended their strike against the state’s largest school district, voting Sunday evening to ratify a proposed three-year contract.

The vote brings to an end the first teachers strike in Seattle since 1985, which canceled six days of classes for the district’s 53,000 students and sent parents into a frenzied, week-long scramble for childcare.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Thousands of Seattle teachers union members will meet Sunday and decide whether to accept a tentative contract agreement and finally end a strike against the school district, which canceled six days of classes.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

 Striking Seattle teachers have won unusual concessions in a tentative contract deal: guaranteed 30-minute recess and teams created to address racial disparity in schools.

Experts say the dispute that delayed the school year by a week reflects a strategy shift by teachers nationwide to take on broader issues that promote the public interest.

Ted S. Warren / AP

UPDATED — Seattle Public Schools’ 53,000 students will return to classes Thursday after district negotiators reached a tentative, three-year contract agreement with the striking teachers union, both sides have announced.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a resolution supporting teachers who are on strike and asking the city school district to negotiate in good faith with the union to bring an end to the walkout.

That happened shortly before school district officials announced that classes are canceled for a fifth day Tuesday.

Pasco Teachers End Strike With New Contract

Sep 14, 2015

High-fives and cheers of “hallelujah” rang out in the halls of Pasco High School Monday as teachers approved a new contract with the Pasco School District.

To get to this college classroom, you have to walk past the barbed wire, between a line of armed guards, and through the heavy metal bars. Only then do you arrive at the circle of chairs.

When class starts, half the chairs are filled with so-called "inside students," men and women serving time behind bars. The other half of the seats are occupied by "outside students" — basically, traditional college students.

This coming year, more than 100 universities and colleges around the world will offer Inside-Out classes.

After two weeks on the picket line and several trips to court, teachers in Pasco, Washington, have reached a tentative agreement to end their strike.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Public Schools negotiators offered to attach a pay increase onto a plan to lengthen the school day for students during talks with the district's striking school employees this weekend, bending to a union demand that has been a stumbling block in talks on a new teacher contract.

Pasco Teachers Union Faces $2,000 Daily Fines For Strike

Sep 11, 2015

There were gasps in the Franklin County Courthouse Friday as a judge imposed daily fines against the teachers' union in Pasco, Washington.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The full negotiating teams for Seattle Public Schools and the district's striking teachers union will resume talks on a new contract this weekend, bringing the two sides back to the bargaining table for the first time in more than three days.

The announcement Friday afternoon comes after the third full day of a strike that's kept more than 53,000 students out of school since Wednesday and ends a stalemate in the negotiations.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle teachers strike is now in its third day, and it’s stirring up memories for people who lived through past strikes, especially 35 miles north of Seattle in Marysville, which set a state record for the longest teacher walkout.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Negotiators for both the Seattle teachers union and the school district dug in their heels on Thursday as each side painted the other as unwilling to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a new teacher contract.

The stalemate will once again close Seattle Public Schools on Friday, extending into a third day a teachers strike that's keeping 53,000 students out of classes.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

  Seattle's teachers strike will cancel classes for a second day on Thursday, and it remains unclear when union and district teams will return to negotiations on a new teacher contract.

Both sides expressed a desire to resume talks as teachers walked picket lines in front of school buildings across Seattle, which were closed to the district's 53,000 students on what was supposed to be the first regular day of classes Wednesday.

But union officials disputed Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Stacy Howard's characterization that "all indicators show negotiations will resume" on Thursday.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle teachers union members will go on strike for the first time since 1985 on Wednesday, a move that cancels what was supposed to be the first regular day of classes for the roughly 53,000 students in Washington's largest school district.

Unable to resolve their differences over how much to pay educators, district proposals to lengthen the school day and a union push to limit standardized testing, union leaders ended negotiations on a new teacher contract without an agreement around 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

A network of donors will step up if necessary to keep Washington state's nine charter schools open through the school year, a leading charter advocate said Tuesday, even if public dollars stop flowing in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision voiding Washington's charter school law.

Tom Franta, who heads the Washington State Charter Schools Association, said his organization has reached out to a network of something like 50 donors — whom Franta declined to identify — that can help cover the estimated $14 million necessary to cover all nine schools' operating costs through the end of the year.

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