Youth & Education

Stories about education focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Youth & Education reporter, Kyle Stokes.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The future of Washington state's charter schools may be up in the air, but for now, they are still receiving public funding.

Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month charter schools violate Washington’s constitution, state education officials sent regular funding payments to the schools at the end of September, according to Tom Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has chosen Rainier Beach High School principal Dwane Chappelle as his pick to lead the city's education department, the mayor announced Thursday.

Chappelle will be the first permanent director of the newly-created Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, which opened in January to oversee the city's preschool and child care initiatives and administer programs funded by the city's Families and Education Levy.

Is technology the best thing that ever happened to education? Or a silent killer of children's attention spans and love of learning?

Tap, Click, Read is a new book out this week that attempts to offer a third alternative. It tells the stories of educators and parents who are trying to develop media, and ways of interacting with that media, that encourage literacy and critical thinking skills in young children, while reducing inequity.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The state Supreme Court will give advocates another month to file a response to justices' recent ruling striking down Washington's charter school law.  The extension likely means the charter schools can continue receiving public dollars through much of October.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Rank-and-file members of the Seattle teachers union formally ended their strike against the state’s largest school district, voting Sunday evening to ratify a proposed three-year contract.

The vote brings to an end the first teachers strike in Seattle since 1985, which canceled six days of classes for the district’s 53,000 students and sent parents into a frenzied, week-long scramble for childcare.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Thousands of Seattle teachers union members will meet Sunday and decide whether to accept a tentative contract agreement and finally end a strike against the school district, which canceled six days of classes.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

 Striking Seattle teachers have won unusual concessions in a tentative contract deal: guaranteed 30-minute recess and teams created to address racial disparity in schools.

Experts say the dispute that delayed the school year by a week reflects a strategy shift by teachers nationwide to take on broader issues that promote the public interest.

Ted S. Warren / AP

UPDATED — Seattle Public Schools’ 53,000 students will return to classes Thursday after district negotiators reached a tentative, three-year contract agreement with the striking teachers union, both sides have announced.

Ted S. Warren / AP

The Seattle City Council has unanimously passed a resolution supporting teachers who are on strike and asking the city school district to negotiate in good faith with the union to bring an end to the walkout.

That happened shortly before school district officials announced that classes are canceled for a fifth day Tuesday.

Pasco Teachers End Strike With New Contract

Sep 14, 2015

High-fives and cheers of “hallelujah” rang out in the halls of Pasco High School Monday as teachers approved a new contract with the Pasco School District.

To get to this college classroom, you have to walk past the barbed wire, between a line of armed guards, and through the heavy metal bars. Only then do you arrive at the circle of chairs.

When class starts, half the chairs are filled with so-called "inside students," men and women serving time behind bars. The other half of the seats are occupied by "outside students" — basically, traditional college students.

This coming year, more than 100 universities and colleges around the world will offer Inside-Out classes.

After two weeks on the picket line and several trips to court, teachers in Pasco, Washington, have reached a tentative agreement to end their strike.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Public Schools negotiators offered to attach a pay increase onto a plan to lengthen the school day for students during talks with the district's striking school employees this weekend, bending to a union demand that has been a stumbling block in talks on a new teacher contract.

Pasco Teachers Union Faces $2,000 Daily Fines For Strike

Sep 11, 2015

There were gasps in the Franklin County Courthouse Friday as a judge imposed daily fines against the teachers' union in Pasco, Washington.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The full negotiating teams for Seattle Public Schools and the district's striking teachers union will resume talks on a new contract this weekend, bringing the two sides back to the bargaining table for the first time in more than three days.

The announcement Friday afternoon comes after the third full day of a strike that's kept more than 53,000 students out of school since Wednesday and ends a stalemate in the negotiations.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle teachers strike is now in its third day, and it’s stirring up memories for people who lived through past strikes, especially 35 miles north of Seattle in Marysville, which set a state record for the longest teacher walkout.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Negotiators for both the Seattle teachers union and the school district dug in their heels on Thursday as each side painted the other as unwilling to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a new teacher contract.

The stalemate will once again close Seattle Public Schools on Friday, extending into a third day a teachers strike that's keeping 53,000 students out of classes.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

  Seattle's teachers strike will cancel classes for a second day on Thursday, and it remains unclear when union and district teams will return to negotiations on a new teacher contract.

Both sides expressed a desire to resume talks as teachers walked picket lines in front of school buildings across Seattle, which were closed to the district's 53,000 students on what was supposed to be the first regular day of classes Wednesday.

But union officials disputed Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Stacy Howard's characterization that "all indicators show negotiations will resume" on Thursday.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle teachers union members will go on strike for the first time since 1985 on Wednesday, a move that cancels what was supposed to be the first regular day of classes for the roughly 53,000 students in Washington's largest school district.

Unable to resolve their differences over how much to pay educators, district proposals to lengthen the school day and a union push to limit standardized testing, union leaders ended negotiations on a new teacher contract without an agreement around 6 p.m. Tuesday night.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

A network of donors will step up if necessary to keep Washington state's nine charter schools open through the school year, a leading charter advocate said Tuesday, even if public dollars stop flowing in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision voiding Washington's charter school law.

Tom Franta, who heads the Washington State Charter Schools Association, said his organization has reached out to a network of something like 50 donors — whom Franta declined to identify — that can help cover the estimated $14 million necessary to cover all nine schools' operating costs through the end of the year.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Despite limited progress at the bargaining table over a long holiday weekend, Seattle Public Schools leaders have urged district families to begin making child care plans for their students in case the district's teachers go on strike this week.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the state's voter-approved charter-school law unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 ruling issued late Friday afternoon, the high court said that charter schools do not qualify as common, public schools and cannot receive public funding.

Teachers in the tiny South Whidbey Island School District are now on strike.

The Washington Education Association says teachers in the four-school district walked out on Thursday. School is set to begin on Tuesday for the district's nearly 1,500 students. But teachers were supposed to be in school on Thursday preparing for the year.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle teachers union leaders and school district officials did not meet for contract talks over the weekend, a union spokesman said, despite significant differences still dividing the two sides in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The current deal expires late Monday night. Leaders of the Seattle Education Association have called for all 5,000 union members to meet on Thursday to vote on a tentative agreement, if there is one. If there isn't, the teachers could vote to go on strike.

Think of an educational tool and you might picture beloved standbys from our Tools of the Trade series, like the abacus and the wooden block. But educators are increasingly turning to software and websites like Khan Academy, Google Apps and to help them deliver lessons, manage collaboration, do real-time assessments and more.

AP Images

Gov. Jay Inslee said he encouraged state legislative leaders to begin working on a solution to fundamental equity problems in Washington’s system for funding public schools during an hour-long meeting Monday.

The governor's statements come a week after the state Supreme Court took state leaders to task for dragging their feet in complying with the McCleary school funding ruling. Last Thursday, justices urged Inslee to call a special session and announced they would begin fining state government $100,000 every day until lawmakers fulfilled their demands.


New statewide test scores released Monday largely confirm what a sneak peek suggested earlier this summer: Pass rates on the new, tougher assessments have dropped, though by less than many feared. But those results come with an asterisk in one grade.

Washington students outperformed the scores from a national trial run of the Smarter Balanced Assessments last year. That’s in line with preliminary results released in July.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

State lawmakers have fallen short again in their efforts to address fundamental problems with the state's school funding system, Washington state Supreme Court justices ruled Thursday, ordering state government to pay a $100,000 fine every day until those issues are resolved.

It's latest escalation in the ongoing McCleary school funding case. The court found lawmakers in contempt last September, but opted against handing down penalties until now.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU News

Garfield High School’s embattled choir teacher, Carol Burton, said she expects Seattle Public Schools will fire her for her conduct during a choir trip to New Orleans last March.

Superintendent Larry Nyland has not yet made a decision in the case, a district spokeswoman said Thursday. But after conversations with Seattle Public Schools lawyers, Burton's attorneys have told her to expect to receive a letter of termination from the district as soon as Friday.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Tacoma Public Schools' Rosalind Medina doesn't want to leave the impression she's ungrateful for the multi-million dollar windfall her school district will see from the new state budget, chock full of $1.3 billion in new K-12 funding.

But if news of the budget arrived in Tacoma like a check in the mail, it also arrived with a bill.