Youth & Education

Youth & Education
5:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Why A Group Of Teachers Protested Outside The Gates Foundation, Ed's Biggest Charity

Protesters are seen gathered outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.
Kyle Stokes

At first, Julianna Dauble balked at the idea of protesting against the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We've all gotten Gates money one way or another," said Dauble, a fifth-grade teacher in Renton. "I don't know a single teacher who has not gotten Gates money for computers, different grants, small schools initiatives — all the things he's done in the Seattle area, especially."

In fact, the Gates Foundation sends more money to K-12 education causes around the U.S. than any other philanthropy, and some teachers have come to regard that influence as a threat.

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Early Childhood Education
4:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Seattle Voters Must Choose Between Mayor's Pre-K Program, Union-Backed Childcare Plan

Kyle Stokes

Two proposals dealing with early childhood learning will appear on Seattle ballots this November, but only one can win.

That's the electoral scenario Seattle City Council members set up Monday with their vote to put a proposed preschool pilot program on the November ballot, formally asking voters to hike property taxes to join cities like Denver and Boston in funding an early childhood education program aimed at low-income families.

But voters will have to make a choice. They can approve either the pilot program or Initiative 107, a union-backed citizens' initiative that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and creates a training program for early childhood educators. 

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Youth Safety
1:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

UW Researcher: 1 In 8 Children At Risk Of Maltreatment, Rate Higher For Minorities

Children from an after school program in Miami participate in a candlelight vigil in April commemorating National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Wilfredo Lee AP Photo

It's the kind of case that walks into the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center maybe once a week:

Imagine a single mother, trying to hold down multiple jobs to hold her family together, turning to a neighbor for help taking care of her kids while she works. But that neighbor ends up assaulting one of her children.

And then the neighbor "gives [the child] the message, 'If you tell anybody, I won't be able to help your family anymore, you'll be taken out of your home and your mom won't believe you,'" said King County Sexual Assault Resource Center's executive director Mary Ellen Stone.

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Youth & Education
11:16 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Seattle Schools Superintendent Banda Poised To Leave Post For Sacramento Job

File image of José Banda.
Gabriel Spitzer

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda expects to leave his post before the end of July after being named the only finalist for a superintendent position in Sacramento, California.

The Sacramento City Unified School District's school board could confirm Banda's hire as soon as July 17.

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Higher Education
10:05 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Free College For All: Dream, Promise Or Fantasy?

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:56 am

"Free" is a word with a powerful appeal. And right now it's being tossed around a lot, followed by another word: "college."

A new nonprofit, Redeeming America's Promise, announced this week that it will seek federal support to make public colleges tuition-free. That effort is inspired by "Hope" and "Promise" programs like the one in Kalamazoo, Mich., which pays up to 100 percent of college tuition at state colleges and universities for graduates of the city's public high schools.

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Early Childhood Education
3:45 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle City Council Delays Preschool Vote After New Ballot Initiative Comes To Light

Preschool students in Beacon Hill cut up local, organic red potatoes on May 4, 2011. The potatoes are part of an effort to get more fresh produce into childcare and senior sites.
Charla Bear KPLU

The Seattle City Council on Monday delayed a vote on a proposed preschool expansion plan following last week's announcement that a separate referendum had gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray asked the council to hold off and study how Initiative 107, a "potentially competing proposal," would impact the chances of the preschool pilot program city leaders had also hoped to put before voters in the next general election.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle Voters May See More Than One Preschool Measure On November Ballot

Pre-K students use electronic tablets in San Antonio, another city that has made a city-wide early childhood education push.
Eric Gay AP Photo

Seattle City Council members appear ready to approve two preschool-related ballot items for this November's ballot. 

The council will likely vote at its Monday meeting to ask Seattle voters to approve a package Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess has been pushing for the past year: a preschool pilot program funded by a four-year, $58 million property tax hike.

But council members will also likely certify that a separate, union-backed initiative has received enough signatures to go to the voters. If approved, Initiative 107 would hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and create a training program for early childhood educators.

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Education Funding
9:39 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Orders ‘State’ To Contempt Hearing In McCleary Case

File image
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

A frustrated Washington Supreme Court appears ready to hold state officials in contempt.

The high court late Thursday ordered the “state” to appear at a hearing in September to address the lack of a plan to fully fund basic education.

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Seattle Public Schools
9:29 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Seattle School Board Rejects District's Choice For New Math Textbooks, Makes Its Own Pick

Judy Baxter Flickr

Seattle School Board members bucked the advice of a district-led group charged with picking a new math textbook for the district's 27,000 elementary students, choosing instead, by a 4-3 vote Wednesday night, to formally pick a different set of materials.

But Seattle Public Schools staff estimates the move will come at a cost, nearly doubling the purchase price for the textbooks and the additional teacher training that comes with them.

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Seattle Public Schools
9:33 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Which Math Books Will Seattle Kids Use? School Board To Vote Tonight

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

Most Seattle elementary students will likely be using new math textbooks next year, and if a few members of the school board have their way, they might not all be the same textbooks.

Seattle School Board members will vote Wednesday on whether to allow school principals to decide between two sets of math textbooks, worksheets and materials rather than mandate which one to use.

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Youth & The Environment
6:30 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Millennials: The Greenest Generation Or More Of The Same?

Camp educator Adam Logan points out features to high school students at a nature camp on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park.

When she was much younger, Tacoma high school senior Lauren Budd had no trouble convincing her parents to start recycling. But more recently, swaying them to eco-friendly light bulbs was another story.

"No, it costs too much," Budd, 17, remembered her parents saying. "And I'm like, 'It won't, in the end for, like, our power bill.'"

Budd doesn't always win with her parents, who still throw away a soft drink can on occasion, but it's clear she's not the only teen to grasp the importance of these small, cross-generational battles.

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Summer Hunger
4:58 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

To Fight Students' 'Summer Hunger,' Sen. Murray Pushes Debit Cards For Lunches

Sen. Patty Murray wants to give families debit cards to help feed qualifying students in the summer.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

With summer approaching, families who rely on school lunches have to make plans for how to fill the gap. United States Sen. Patty Murray says the answer is to subsidize their grocery shopping.

There’s already a big federal program – the Summer Food Service Program – to serve lunches to kids who qualify for food subsidies. Speaking at a Central Area elementary school, Washington's senior senator said those programs can be hard to access, as families have to bring their kids to designated locations during certain hours. Her office said just 10 percent of Washington children participated in 2012.

Sen. Murray wants to put a debit card in the hands of each of those families that they can use to buy food, much as one would use food stamps.

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Youth & Education
2:57 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

On Pace For 60,000 Kids By Decade's End, Seattle Schools' Enrollment Grows Again

Portable classrooms at an elementary school.
rafael-castillo Flickr

Another 1,300 children will pack into already-crowded Seattle Public Schools next year as the district rides a wave of population growth that, if trends hold, could swell enrollment to more than 60,000 students by the end of the decade.

Projections district administrators released Tuesday show enrollment growing to more than 52,300 students next school year — an increase of more than 7,000 students from seven years ago, when enrollment bottomed-out after a decade of decline.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Survey: Most Seattle Kids Enrolled In Pre-K, But Not As Many Attend Full-Time

Pre-kindergarten teaching assistant Mirna Ayala, left, and teacher Laura Amling, right, work with their 3-year-old students to draw an alphabet shape at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
Cliff Owen AP Photo

Most Seattle parents put their kids in preschool, but only one-third of the city's children attend full time and — according to results of a citywide survey of 1,300 parents released Tuesday — black and Latino families especially struggle to afford pre-K services. 

The results of the city-commissioned poll come less than a week before City Council members get their first look at legislation that would place a four-year, $58 million property tax question before voters this November that would eventually fund 2,000 pre-K slots in the city if approved.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: Why Require Teachers To Have B.A.'s?

In this April 30, 2014 photo, children in Erin Kling's, right, pre-kindergarten class recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the school day at Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Here's a bitter pill preschool teachers must often swallow: they could probably make more money by teaching kids who are just one year older.

The average Washington state preschool instructor makes $28,400 annually — half of what he or she could earn teaching kindergarten. In public school settings, a kindergarten teacher takes home $53,800 every year to a pre-K teacher's $44,700. It makes it harder to lure the best teachers into preschool jobs, or keep them beyond their first few often-rocky years in the classroom.

"I think early childhood is often more attractive than the higher grades for many [teachers], and the pay is so low it still keeps them away," said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research.

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