Achievement Gap

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

As students around Puget Sound begin a new school year, administrators are pushing hard to close disparities in student achievement.

Washington students have made some gains on standardized test scores. Math scores ticked up in nearly every grade tested, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Superintendent Randy Dorn says he’s encouraged by the steady improvement, and credits an intense focus on math and science.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

At the core of Washington’s agriculture industry is science – you can’t grow a potato or cherry without knowing about soil chemistry, hydrology and photosynthesis. But the people who get their hands dirty in the business of growing and picking don’t always think of it that way.

In fact, the children of that workforce tend to struggle in math and science. Just one in four children of migrant workers meets state science standards in eighth grade, far below the population as a whole. The gap in math is nearly as wide.

A new look at test scores by Seattle Public Schools shows American-born black students lag behind black immigrants in academic achievement.

Trinity Presbyterian Church

Thousands of students in Tacoma are behind in school, according to state tests that show they’re not meeting grade-level expectations. City leaders say if adults in the community pitch in just one hour a week, it could help these kids catch up.

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. 

Despite opposition from the local teachers' union and a lawsuit from parents and community groups, Teach for America has announced it will return to public schools in the Seattle area in the 2011-12 academic year.

A group of Seattle parents and community members has filed a lawsuit to stop Seattle Public Schools from bringing Teach for America to the city.

A student gets help with his schoolwork in a Seattle program for at-risk youth
Seattle Office for Education

Washington is finally making progress on closing the achievement gap between different groups of students, but researchers say it’s not all good news.  A new report found that the gains mean some students will still lag behind for more than a century. 

AP

A full slate of public testimony is expected at tonight's  school board meeting in Seattle.  The board is voting on a controversial proposal to allow new recruits from a national organization called Teach for America into Seattle's public schools.  The program places top college grads – who don't have traditional teaching certificates - in underperforming schools.