Charla Bear

Education Reporter

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.

Charla's most memorable public radio moment: “Sitting alone in a room with a convicted murderer who had just been paroled. The only thing between us was a microphone, as he told me how he had transformed his life and become a priest.”

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Student testing
6:23 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Update: Washington students doing better with new tests, timing

Even Washington middle school students do better with the state's new tests and testing strategy.
Bill S Flickr

Math appears to be less of a problem than it used to be for Washington students trying to graduate from high school. More than two-thirds of them passed new state tests required to get their diplomas. Some students could even clear the hurdle before they finish middle school. 

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K-12 Education
3:30 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Tacoma teacher contract talks stall, raising fears of strike

The first day of school for Tacoma students is just a few days away, but their teachers might not show up.

They have yet to reach an agreement over their contract with the school district. That leaves many families worried that a strike could be on the horizon.

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K-12 Education
6:30 am
Fri August 26, 2011

In Kent, kindergarten is time to consider college

Kent educators are taking kindergarten classes to college campuses to get kids geared toward higher education.
Charla Bear KPLU

School starts up again in a couple of weeks and a lot of kids have just begun to think about the coming year.  Kindergarteners in Kent, though, are already mulling over higher education.

The school district is trying a unique approach to helping students get to college.

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K-12 Education
5:36 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

District cuts yellow school buses for some Seattle students

Some Seattle students will see less of these.
rytc Flickr

When kids in Seattle head back to school in a few weeks, you might notice a lot more of them getting there on foot.

Some Seattle students who took yellow buses last year won’t have service this year. Others could have to wait at new stops, up to a half of a mile away from their homes. 

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Washington schools
4:16 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Cash prizes will go to schools that get more kids eating breakfast

Students at Washington Elementary in Auburn choose breakfast items from a cart before heading to their classrooms to eat. It's a model touted as a successful way to get more kids to utilize morning meals at schools.
Charla Bear KPLU

More than 300,000 kids who qualify for free or reduced breakfast in Washington are not eating it.

Participation in the state’s early morning meal program is so low, educators and children’s advocates have launched a new effort to get schools focused on the issue.

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Education research
5:10 am
Fri August 19, 2011

10 years later, researchers wonder what influenced HS seniors

Researchers are wondering what graduates in 2000 from Tacoma high schools have been up to and what influenced their decisions.
Mark Strozier Flickr

"We found that self-esteem mattered little ... "

Could you have predicted your future in high school? Sociologists at the University of Washington asked Tacoma’s class of 2000 to try.

They got nearly every senior to take a survey about their lives and future goals. Now a decade later, researchers are following up with the former students to find out what has influenced their life paths.

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Train Travel
10:54 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Late train from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., to stay on track

Evening Amtrak service to Vancouver, B.C., will remain on the books.
SP8254 Flickr

The late train from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, will no longer be coming to a stop.

The nightly service was scheduled to end on October 31, when Canadian officials said they expected Amtrak to start paying for the extra border staff it requires. The Canada Border Services Agency wanted $1500 a day to compensate for keeping patrol agents around later into the evening, according to Railway Age Magazine:

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K-12 Education
6:05 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Struggling students have mixed results in Title I program

Test scores for some students who get services through the federal Title I program have improved in Washington, according to a report.
Seattle Public Schools

Some students with the lowest test scores in Washington have made big gains over the past few years, while others have fallen farther behind.

Researchers found a mixed bag when they looked at the Title I program, a federal effort to help disadvantaged kids.

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Internet Access
6:00 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Families eligible for free lunch now qualify for cheap broadband

More than 370,000 kids who qualify for free lunch in Washington are eligible for discounted broadband internet at home under a new program.
Seattle Office for Education

Washington is known for being on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, but some people are getting left behind. 

Many of the state’s low-income residents rely on out-dated internet service, or don't have any at all. A new program could help.

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Public forum
4:45 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

State considers creating 'majority minority' congressional district

One redistricting proposal offered by the group United for Fair Representation, which is dedicated to "fair redistricting and representation of people of color."

Tonight is your last chance to weigh in on which communities will be included in the state’s congressional districts before commissioners start drafting their proposals. The public is invited to share their thoughts at a forum tonight in South Seattle.

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Artscape
4:32 pm
Sun August 7, 2011

Tulalip cultural center helps maintain tribe's traditions

Tessa Campbell, assistant curator at the Hibulb Cultural Center, sits next to a family tree showing her oldest relatives on census records.
Charla Bear KPLU

Native Americans have struggled to hang onto their cultures for decades. On August 20th, a local tribe will have a new resource to help.

The Tulalips are opening a cultural center on their reservation. It not only shares history the way the tribe sees it, but bridges the past with modern-day life.

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Law
4:44 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Tacoma asks teens to spread curfew rules through videos

Tacoma is cracking down on minors who stay out past midnight, and city leaders are counting on teens to get the word out.

They just kicked off a contest that asks kids to make mini-movies about the city's curfew law. While they want minors to know the curfew is no joke, they say they’d love to see funny videos about it.

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Higher Education Study
8:01 am
Mon July 25, 2011

College students more likely to fail online

Melissa Ivarson received her Associate of Arts degree from North Seattle Community College by taking online courses. A new study found students who take courses on the web are more likely to fail and drop out than those who go to class in person.
Melissa Ivarson

College students in Washington are less likely to “make the grade” if they take courses online. A new study found that students have a greater chance of not only bombing classes if they take them remotely but of dropping out completely.

Yet, students and educators say distance learning isn’t failing. 

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K-12 Education
3:36 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

Update: Seattle schools sending a message with furlough

An administrator helps a student at Lafayette Elementary School in Seattle. The district has decided to furlough nearly all school staff for a day, resulting in closed schools just before students return to class in the fall.
Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools will shut down for a day just before school starts this fall. It will also close early on a later date during the school year.

Lesley Rogers, chief communications officer for Seattle Public Schools, says asking most of its staff to be gone on the same day sends a message to the state.

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Business
5:52 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

Seattle eases street food rules

Josh Henderson owns Skillet Street Food in Seattle.
Deena Prichep

Vendors who sell so-called "street food" in Seattle can finally sell it ... on the street. Since the 1980s, food trucks have been restricted to private property.

The city council passed a measure that now gives them the go ahead to hawk goodies from public curbs.

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