Youth & Education

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

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington teachers are woefully underpaid. That’s the conclusion of a draft legislative task force report. Now a key Washington state lawmaker says teachers and other school employees deserve at least a cost-of-living pay raise next year.

Twelve years ago, Washington voters approved Initiative 732. It requires annual pay increases for K-12 employees. The initiative didn’t come with any funding.

Paula Wissel / KPLU

 It used to be if you can't go to a four year school, go to community college.  Now, it's like what are you supposed to do if you can't go to community college?   

  Daniel Jean Baptiste, South Seattle Community College student 

Tuition will go up at the state's public two-year colleges by an average of 12 percent this fall.  For a full-time student, tuition will go from $3,542 to $4,000--a 13 percent increase.

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges voted on the increase to help offset $110 million in state cuts to the community and technical colleges. 

Many students, already struggling to afford school, say it threatens to put higher education out of reach.

The nuclear industry faces a generation gap. A lot of the people who run nuclear power plants are nearing retirement. Now the Obama Administration has awarded $6.3 million to Northwest universities to help train the next generation of nuclear leaders.

Donald Wall directs Washington State University’s Nuclear Radiation Center in Pullman. The reactor is surrounded by the university’s golf course.

“I like to joke that WSU features probably the only golf course in the world that has a nuclear hazard.”

FinAid.org

The dark clouds looming over higher education in the nation and Washington may have a silver lining, but so far it’s been hard to find and the recent spate of news has been pretty bad for college students.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on building in a silver lining, but first the details.

Award-winning children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak has died at 83. He shot to fame in 1963 with his picture book 'Where The Wild Things Are'. He published several more books, including 'In The Night Kitchen', 'Outside Over There' and most recently, 'Bumble-Ardy'.

Family friend Lynn Ceprio confirmed his death. The New York Times reports his cause of death was complications from a stroke he'd recently suffered.

Updated

The Seattle School Board is asking Anaheim School Superintendent Jose Banda to lead the Seattle school district.

The district says Board President Michael DeBell contacted Banda Sunday night, and he expressed his willingness to take the job.

SALEM, Ore. - Rare, once-lost historic records about pioneer Chinese immigrants to the Northwest have found a new life online. The digital archive is hosted by Oregon State University. A Chinese-American civic group hopes the document trove can help families locate ancestors gone missing early in the last century.

All 3 candidates for Superintendent of  Seattle Public Schools have classroom as well as superintendent experience.   The finalists will be in Seattle next week for interviews.

The finalists are:

Jose Banda, 55, is a former high school principal who now heads the Anaheim City School District, a district that just includes elementary schools.  84 percent of the students in the district are Latino and Banda  is bilingual. 

EDMONDS, Wash. — Classes at a high school in the Edmonds School District have been canceled following threats to student safety.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers have approved changes to health insurance benefits for K-12 school employees that will improve transparency and help those who pay the most for coverage but may not bring down costs.

A new national report released Tuesday says Washington preschool programs that receive government dollars are among the best in the country. But the researchers also believe too few kids benefit from the $54 million Washington spends on preschool each school year.

SEATTLE — The Seattle School Board has told the district that classroom instruction is important — and it needs to make up all three days lost to a snowstorm in January.

Western Washington University is offering summer session classes for the first time in King County starting this June. The classes will be held at North Seattle Community College.

Paul Cocke, Director of university communications, says the goal is to help students graduate in a timely manner.

Researchers at the University of Washington say the federal school turnaround program is mostly failing in Washington state, even though teachers and administrators are trying their best to make a difference for kids.

The federal government is spending more than $3 billion nationwide to help districts turn around their worst-performing schools.

Gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee are praising a new law that passed the state Legislature this year making evaluations a part of how teachers are judged.

(Video of incoming PLU president Thomas Krise by journalists at PLU's The Mooring Mast student newspaper.)

Pacific Lutheran University has a new president. Thomas W. Krise takes the helm at the private university this June.  He replaces Loren Anderson, who’s retiring.  

Krise comes to PLU from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., where he’s been the dean of the school of arts and sciences. Krise, an Episcopalian, is the first non-Lutheran to head PLU since it was founded in 1890.

Donna Gordon Blankinship / Associated Press

The good news in this week's new Washington state revenue forecast has drawn the attention of everyone who wants some money for their department or program.

But in a statement put out by Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Dorn says the state Constitution and the Supreme Court give Washington only one choice: pay for education first.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington state senate has approved a new four-tier teacher evaluation system. The bill that passed Tuesday also creates a mechanism for firing under-performing teachers who don't improve.

School kids are graded A through F. But not teachers in Washington. For the most part they're still evaluated on a pass-fail system. But that's changing.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Forty one states allow charter schools. But not Washington. Opponents in the legislature recently killed a bipartisan proposal to allow a limited number of under-performing schools to convert. But supporters of the idea haven't given up.

For the legislature it was high drama. A stand-off in the Senate Education Committee. A coalition of five Republicans and two Democrats had the votes to advance the charter school bill.

Despite signs that the state economy is improving, finding money to send children to college is still becoming more difficult.

More students received financial aid last year, but even more families aren't getting the help they need, according to a new report from the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Charla Bear / KPLU

An African-American man who was bullied when he was a student in Aberdeen has won a major settlement from the school district. Russell Dickerson III sued the district in federal court for not stopping his classmates from harassing him throughout junior high and high school. 

With life returning to normal across much of Puget Sound, at least 24,000 homes were still without power as of 11 o'clock this morning. Puget Sound Energy has the largest number of outages and predicts it will have nearly all its customers restored by Wednesday evening.

The clean-up job is still daunting, and it's affecting some schools and college campuses.

All Seattle schools will be closed on Wednesday, according to Schoolreport.org. Evening activities are also canceled.

Frank Fani / Flickr

The University of Washington says it will have more room for in-state students in this fall's freshman class.

This gift for the class of 2012 comes from the Legislature and the fact that UW has received fewer applications from freshmen hopefuls.

Education researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have a message for the citizens of Washington state. They want them to know that the state government is failing to meet its responsibility to provide enough opportunities for a college education in Washington.

o5com / Flickr

We've heard a lot of stories lately about the struggles of young, unemployed people with college degrees. A Washington State agency says the reason for that is a lot of students are choosing the wrong majors for this economy.

If they spent less time and money on school, they might have an easier time getting a job and make more money, at least in the short term.

SEATTLE — The Washington Supreme Court plans to issue a ruling today on a major case concerning the state's obligation to pay for public school education.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Some of Seattle’s most at-risk students are getting help with their reading skills, but not from people.

Once a week, service dogs lend their ears to formerly homeless children as they read aloud. It’s become a learning experience for both the kids and canines.

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

The interim head of Seattle Public Schools says she doesn't want the job permanently.

Susan Enfield made the surprise announcement Friday in a letter to staff and community members.

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