Youth & Education

Education
11:27 am
Mon April 25, 2011

Tiny central Washington high school competes for Obama commencement speech

Bridgeport High School in north central Washington is one of six finalists competing to have President Obama deliver their graduation speech.
WhiteHouse.gov Bridgeport High School

Do you remember who delivered your high school graduation speech? If the students of Bridgeport High School get their wish, they almost certainly will.

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Education
8:06 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Senate approves performance-based teacher lay-offs

The State Senate has approved a controversial proposal to base teacher lay-offs on performance - not seniority. The vote late Tuesday triggered a heated debate on the Senate floor and split majority Democrats. Senator Rodney Tom is a suburban Seattle Democrat. He led the charge for performance-based lay-offs:

“Why in the world would you ever lay-off a second year or third year or fourth year teacher of the year in lieu of maybe an eight or ninth year teacher who is on probation? It just makes no sense.”

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Education
4:40 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Drive to sign up low-income kids for College Bound Scholarship

Renton High School students working on a recent edition of the student newspaper Arrow. A push is underway to sign up students in Renton and other South King County districts for the College Bound Scholarship
Gary Davis KPLU

A lot of low-income kids are missing out on Washington's offer to pay their way through college. In South King County, a new campaign is underway to change that. 

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K-12 Education
8:40 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Who belongs in AP classes? In Federal Way, anyone who "meets standards"

Roshni Changela chose to be in AP U.S. History this semester, but some of her classmates were automatically enrolled in the class under a new Federal Way Public Schools policy.
Charla Bear KPLU

Across the country, schools are trying to get more students to take classes that prepare them for college. Some offer special tutoring programs. Others just offer to pay students who do well. School officials in Federal Way say the trouble with those strategies is - it leaves is up to students or teachers to decide who’s sharp enough to take those classes.

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Education Reform
6:12 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Despite data, state supe Dorn says new evaluation system needed for teachers and principals

State Superintendent Dorn and Principal Kelly Aramaki. Dorn says Washington's primary schools need new evaluation systems to improve teaching and leadership.
Courtesy Washington OSPI

If you listen to the numbers, there's no need for any change in the way teachers and principals are evaluated in public schools here in Washington State. 

Data is in from a first-ever statewide survey about their performance. It says very few teachers are a problem: not even 500 were rated unsatisfactory in all of Washington.

That's less than three quarters of one percent (.75%) of the state's public school teachers.  And even fewer principals – only 41 of nearly 3,000 – got a bad write up.

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K-12 Education
5:22 pm
Mon March 28, 2011

Seattle schools win math textbook appeal

High school students in Seattle will continue to use a controversial math textbook after an appeals court affirmed the school board's decision.
Seattle Office for Education

Seattle Public Schools will get to keep using a controversial math textbook. An appeals court struck down a challenge to the "Discovering" math curriculum by a group of parents and local residents who call it “mathematically unsound.”

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Education
11:39 am
Mon March 28, 2011

Seattle's Families and Education Levy expands goals, money requests over the years

Nearly half of the 2011 Families and Education levy proposal focuses on early learning. It would also increases support for elementary school children and college and career preparation.
Seattle Office for Education

As schools and family service providers across the state struggle with budget cuts, taxpayers are being asked to help out more. In Seattle, the city council is gearing up to put the Families and Education Levy back on the ballot. Voters have renewed it every time it’s come up since former Mayor Norm Rice created it in 1990, but some people might not realize how much it’s changed. 

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Ali Tarhouni
3:34 pm
Thu March 24, 2011

UW professor integral part of new Libyan opposition government

Flags of Libya's opposition, the pre-Gadhafi regime banner, are waved by opposition supporters on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, outside the Arab League meeting.
AP

A longtime University of Washington economics professor has quickly found himself in a lead role with fellow Libyans fighting to defeat ruler Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces. 

Shortly after Ali Al Tarhouni returned to Libya weeks ago, he was named finance minister for Libya's opposition movement, according to a statement Wednesday from the University of Washington press office.

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K-12 Education
10:02 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Bonuses aren't attracting teachers to low-income schools, UW researchers find

Hundreds of public school teachers in Washington are working toward their National Board certification, a highly rigorous program. Some, like Seattle School teacher Drea Jermann, pictured in 2009, teach in schools termed "challenged."
Gary Davis KPLU

Money is not enticing Washington’s top teachers to move to low-income schools, according to University of Washington researchers. They studied a state program that gives bonuses to teachers who go through a rigorous evaluation process called National Board Certification.

Supporters of the program, however, say it's successful because more teachers at struggling schools now have the high level proficiency endorsement.

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Education
2:11 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

More college kids stumped on research papers

Jackson Hathorn recently graduated from the University of Washington after finishing his history thesis. He says it's easy for students writing research papers to get bogged down with how many sources there are out there.
Rachel Soloman KPLU

Writing a research paper should be easy for students today. They’ve got libraries, online databases and all of Google at their fingertips.

But an ongoing study out of the University of Washington’s Information School is finding that college students find it tougher to do research today than in the past—even with access to more sources than students have ever had before.

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K-12 Education
4:52 am
Mon March 21, 2011

Kids develop math stereotypes in second grade, UW study finds

Students in a second grade class tackle math problems. A new UW study shows people form their math stereotypes at this age.
AP Photo

Girls start to think math is a boys’ subject when they’re just 7 or 8 years old. That’s what University of Washington psychologists found when they studied children’s stereotypes. They say those beliefs could play a major role in the choices kids make as they get older.

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K-12 Education
5:08 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

City panel could soon oversee ethics at Seattle Public Schools

Seattle school and city leaders want the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to take over the school district's ethics complaints.
Charla Bear KPLU

An independent watchdog committee could soon take over ethics investigations at Seattle Public Schools. The move is an effort to rebuild public confidence after an audit exposed questionable spending and a lack of oversight at the school district.

When state auditors investigated nearly $2 million in misspent funds by school district employees, they say an “atmosphere of fear and intimidation” was one reason whistle-blowers didn’t come forward. 

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K-12 Education
4:53 pm
Wed March 9, 2011

Lettuce shortage hits school lunches in Western Washington

Kids have a good excuse for not eating salads right now. They've been taken off the school menu in Kent because lettuce is in short supply. Schools in Seattle, Redmond and elsewhere in Western Washington are also scaling back on serving romaine, iceberg and other leaf lettuces.

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K-12 Education
8:43 am
Wed March 9, 2011

Get to know interim Seattle schools superintendent Susan Enfield

Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield on her 3rd day on the job, March 7, 2011.
Charla Bear KPLU

Most people know very little about the new head of Seattle Public Schools. After Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was fired over financial irregularities last week, the school board named Susan Enfield interim superintendent. Enfield had only been with the district for a year and a half as Chief Academic Officer. KPLU education reporter Charla Bear sat down with her to find out what she brings to Seattle schools besides an impressive resume...and dozens of rubber duckies.

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Unemployment
7:53 am
Mon March 7, 2011

Worker retraining programs run dry at community colleges

David Puki, left, helps inspect a drum brake with Hal Glade, at South Seattle Community College. Puki, a laid-off Boeing worker, is studying to be an auto mechanic.
Ralph Radford AP Photo

Unemployed workers are facing yet another obstacle as they try to get back on their feet. A lot of community colleges have run out of money to retrain them for in-demand jobs. 

It’s hard enough for most people to find work right now, let alone those whose fields have been pummeled by the recession. Changes in the job market have driven more workers than ever to take advantage of grants for retraining. So many, that even though the state spent $17.6 million to train an extra 3,784 people this year, it hasn’t been enough.

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