Youth & Education | KNKX

Youth & Education

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

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Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Efforts to end Native American mascots – or keep them, with local tribes’ approval – have left 16 Oregon school districts until July 1 to act. 

Recently, Rogue River High School in Grants Pass worked out a deal with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.  They can remain the “Chieftains,” if they incorporate more tribal history in its fourth and eighth grade curricula.

Cindy Hunt of the Oregon Department of Education says 12 districts have either had mascots approved, are pending approval, or have dropped or changed them. 

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive to some readers.

Hate incidents can happen anywhere: the mall, the church, the office. But, in the wake of the 2016 election, hate's been showing up a lot in school.

Imagine if one notice from the federal government could cause you to question your major life decisions.

More than half a million people may have found themselves in that situation after a new legal filing by the Education Department.

Under a program known as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, some student loan borrowers were supposed to be able to have the balance of their student loans forgiven after ten years of both on-time payments and eligible work in the public sector. Meaning, a qualifying nonprofit, federal, local, state, or tribal government.

Bellamy Pailthorp / knkx

Port officials are looking to place 150 interns for private businesses in Seattle this summer.  First they have to get kids interested.

Two 16-year-olds named Tim Viel and Dupree Picket came from an alternative program in South Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood called Opportunity Skyway.  They tried operating the robotics on a manned submersible that can conduct underwater research or fix pipes and turn things underwater. The kids operated the vehicle’s arm with a joystick.     

Welcome to another weekly roundup from the NPR Ed Team, where we lasso the latest news on student aid, school choice, and more.

Trump University settlement finalized

Thousands of students are set to get money back now that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has finalized the $25 million fraud settlement against Trump University.

Muslim children are more likely to be bullied in school than children of other faiths. A new survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) reveals that 42 percent of Muslims with children in K–12 schools report bullying of their children because of their faith, compared with 23 percent of Jewish and 20 percent of Protestant parents.

These results confirm recent findings by other research and advocacy groups showing that bullying of students of color is on the rise.

It's a little after 8 a.m. at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., and Michelle Harris' AP Environmental Science class is getting right to it.

"All right, you guys got your brackets out?" Harris asks.

The class of mostly juniors and seniors ruffle through folders and pull out pieces of paper with brackets — 64 slots, four quadrants, and one central box to predict the championship. But there's something a little different about these brackets ...

"We're going to jump down to the fourth-seeded spider monkey against the 12th-seeded antelope squirrel," Harris says.

It's clear from the numbers. Google has a diversity problem.

For the past few years, the company has publicly shared its workplace makeup in a report detailing the race, gender and ethnicity of each employee hired the previous year. Last year, while the number of black employees went up, they still represented only 2 percent of the company's workforce and Google admitted it fell short of its diversity goal.

For-profit colleges have faced federal and state investigations in recent years for their aggressive recruiting tactics — accusations that come as no surprise to author Tressie McMillan Cottom.

It's a perennial debate in American education: Do kids learn best when they're sitting in rows at their desks? Or moving around, exploring on their own?

Back in the 1960s and '70s, that debate led to a brand new school design: Small classrooms were out. Wide-open spaces were in. The Open Education movement was born.

Across the U.S., schools were designed and built along these new ideas, with a new approach to the learning that would take place inside them.

Sixteen-year-old Na Da Laing struggled in elementary school.

"I was different from other students," she remembers. "I couldn't speak English at all."

Now, eight years later, she's reading George Orwell's Animal Farm.

In the U.S., roughly one in 10 students is an English language learner.
Many schools struggle to help them feel comfortable with their new language. Helping them get ahead and to college is another challenge entirely.

No rest for the weary in our weekly roundup of national education news.

Supreme Court rules on special education case

"I'm thrilled," said Amanda Morin, a parent and advocate with the website Understood.org, after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a case that could affect 6.5 million special education students. "Now I can actually go into a school system and say 'The Supreme Court has said, based on my child's abilities, he is legally entitled to make progress.' "

Growing up in a hungry household in the first couple of years of life can hurt how well a child performs in school years later, according to a new study.

An estimated 13.1 million children live in homes with insufficient food, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We are in the midst of a quiet revolution in school discipline.

In the past five years, 27 states have revised their laws with the intention of reducing suspensions and expulsions. And, more than 50 of America's largest school districts have also reformed their discipline policies — changes which collectively affect more than 6.35 million students.

Protesters interrupted the Oregon State University Board of Trustees meeting last Friday over a proposed tuition increase. The Board postponed their vote until further notice.

OSU is considering a 4 percent increase in tuition for resident undergraduates and 2 percent for non-residents. The board adjourned last week after a group marched into the meeting room, locked arms and chanted protests. OSU Spokesman Steve Clark says OSU is facing reduced funding from the state.

Education advocates made their case for increased school funding in front of Oregon lawmakers Thursday. The subcommittee that focuses on education heard testimony from people who want lawmakers to boost K-12 funding from the $7.8 billion proposed in a preliminary budget framework.

This morning President Trump released a proposed 2018 budget that calls for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut for the U.S. Department of Education.

Right in the heart of the University of Vermont, Burlington campus, there's a big dormitory going up, with room enough for 700 students next fall.

The dorm is being set aside for students like Azilee Curl, a first-year studying neuroscience who has taken a pledge — of sorts — to live out her college career at UVM with her health in mind.

She's part of a growing group on campus who all live together in a clean-living residence hall, have fitness and nutrition coaches at the in-house gym, and can access free violin lessons, yoga and mindfulness training.

Last year, gun violence shook communities in Marysville and on Whidbey Island, Washington. Some lawmakers in Olympia said it was the result of inadequate mental health resources.

Trump administration policies toward refugees and immigrants, as well as a recent racially-charged shooting in Kansas, have some international students thinking twice about enrolling in American colleges and universities.

Tales of talented black students on majority-white campuses running through a racial gauntlet that has them questioning their brilliance, abilities and place are familiar to parents like me who have a college-bound child at home.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax and carbon tax to comply with a court order to fully fund public schools. Republicans in the state Senate Friday instead proposed to solve the state’s school funding crisis by raising the state property tax while lowering local rates.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Planning for the worst case scenario — that’s where the state’s largest school district finds itself as it prepares its budget for the next school year. Depending on what the Legislature does – or doesn’t do — cuts could be coming to the classroom.

He didn't have long. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. was confirmed by the Senate in March 2016 after President Obama's long-serving secretary, Arne Duncan, stepped down at the end of 2015. No matter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, King knew that Obama would be out in a year and replaced by a president who, regardless of party, would almost certainly replace him.

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.

We all experience stress at work, no matter the job. But for teachers, the work seems to be getting harder and the stress harder to shake.

A new report out this month pulls together some stark numbers on this:

Ken Yeh thought his school was buying software to keep kids off of certain websites.

What he didn't know was that it could help identify a student who might be considering suicide.

Yeh is the technology director at a private K-12 school near Los Angeles. Three years ago, the school began buying Chromebook laptops for students to use in class and at home. That, Yeh says, raised concerns from parents about what they'd be used for, especially outside of school.

DeVonte Kirkland is in his second to last year of school at Center Point High in Jefferson County, just outside of Birmingham, Ala. When he graduates next year he wants to head to Alabama State University.

DeVonte also wants a car, so he's taking some serious time to learn how to work on them. Every day, he rides a school bus 25 minutes, each direction, for an auto tech class at Gardendale High, another school on the south side of the district.

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. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week pushed ahead with plans to make New York City one of nation's few big cities to offer free, full-day Preschool for all 3-year-olds­­.

The plan, which would eventually serve more than 60 thousand children a year, builds on one of Mayor de Blasio's signature accomplishments of his first term: universal pre-K for 4-year-olds.

Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma already offer this. New York City's would be the largest.

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