Youth & Education

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

PULLMAN, Wash. — Any Washington State University student caught trespassing, damaging property or drinking under age can expect to pay a $100 fine.

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.

The school year just started last month and chances are a lot of kids have already missed a day or two of class. Educators say that’s a huge problem since attendance is one of the biggest indicators of whether students will graduate.

Now, some new efforts are underway to get kids to school ... one involves famous people. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington schools chief Randy Dorn has defied a request by the governor to provide a list of new education budget cuts. Instead, Dorn sent Governor Chris Gregoire a letter that explains why he told his staff not to respond to her request.

A new study from the group Complete College America says that despite years of increasing enrollments at colleges around the country, the number of students finishing college is stagnant.

Tom Woodward / flickr

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to provide high-speed Internet to low-income students for less than $10 a month. The Great Student Initiative is expected to help 16,000 of the 47,000 students in Seattle Public Schools who are on the free lunch program.

Longtime ABC news reporter and anchor Ted Koppel accepted the 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award from Washington State University Friday night.

When Ted Koppel wrapped up a press availability with members of the news media Friday, some younger members of the press corps gave him a round of applause. Koppel admonished those reporters for doing so; reporters, he said, never applaud at the end of a press conference.

Tacoma teachers have approved a contract that ends their strike with nearly 100 percent of teachers voting for the new deal.

Negotiators had reached a tentative deal last night in Olympia in the governor’s wing where they were called by Gov. Chris Gregoire to settle their differences. The strike was the first for the Tacoma district since 1978 and kept 28,000 students out of school for eight days.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Striking teachers and school district officials in Tacoma could not come to an agreement by the deadline set by the governor, so they've filed into cars and headed to Olympia to continue bargaining this afternoon.

Gov. Chris Gregoire told both sides earlier today that she wanted them back at the bargaining table at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and if they don't have an agreement by 3 p.m. she would see them in her office.

Brian Clark / Washington State University

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University is receiving its largest gift ever. The $27 million donation announced Tuesday is aimed spurring tree fruit research at WSU stations in Prosser and Wenatchee.

A University of Washington faculty member has been awarded one of 22 "genius grants" from the Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

TACOMA, Wash. — With Tacoma schools closed by a teachers' strike, district food service workers gave perishable produce to a food bank.

Teachers will remain off the job for the sixth day (with schools closed as well) on Tuesday in Tacoma, where a strike has idled about 28,000 public school students. Negotiations have been continuing late into the night since the strike began.

However, despite the comments of a judge involved in the strike, the Tacoma school district says there is no plan afoot to hire replacement workers for the teachers who remain on strike.

The author of the 2009 bestseller, “The Big Burn,” says the famous 1910 fire that scored millions of acres in the Northwest still holds relevance for us today.

There weren’t always public lands in America, and there was a time when the Forest Service was on the chopping block in Congress. The future of both was impacted by the famous 1910 fire in north Idaho, western Montana, and eastern Washington.

TACOMA, Wash. — A Pierce County Superior Court judge says he's considering giving the Tacoma school district the option to hire replacement teachers for those on the picket line.

TACOMA, Wash. — Schools are closed Monday for another day in Tacoma as negotiations continue between the school district and striking teachers.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Tacoma schools will be closed again Friday after teachers voted on Thursday to stay out on strike. Friday will be their fourth day on the picket lines, despite a court order to return to their classrooms.

The teachers say that without a resolution to the basic contractual issues in the conflict, returning to class now would only prolong the turmoil, possibly for years.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Teachers in Washington state's third-largest school district have voted overwhelmingly to remain on strike, in defiance of a judge's order that they return to work.

Some 93 percent of the nearly 1,600 Tacoma School District teachers meeting in the Tacoma Dome arena today said they wanted to continue picketing. The teachers walked out Tuesday.

SALEM, Ore. – Negotiators have averted a potential strike at Oregon's seven public universities, at least for now. The Oregon University System and the union representing nearly 4,000 front-line employees agreed on a tentative two-year settlement early Thursday morning.

As the clock ticked past midnight, SEIU lead negotiator Marc Nisenfeld says it was clear the momentum was there for an agreement. So the bargaining team did everything they could to stay awake.

(Go here for the latest developments of this story.)

Tacoma's striking teachers have decided to go back to the picket lines this morning rather than directly to their classes to decide on their next action, a union official clarified last night. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated the teachers were rejecting the judge's orders. It's still unclear whether they will return to class or not.)

Tacoma Education Association (TEA) "certificated members should meet at their regular picket line locations as scheduled Thursday morning, as you heard from your picket captains," TEA president Andy Coons said in an email to union members.

Leaders of the Tacoma teachers’ union say they will leave it up to the striking teachers to decide what to do with a judge’s order to return to the classroom tomorrow morning.

Andy Coons, president of the union, told teachers at a rally this afternoon that he would be contacting them possibly later today with options for them to decide on.

Krug6 / Flickr

Washington students appear to be acing one test, the SAT test. 

Average scores were the highest in the nation among states where more than 50 percent of eligible students take the college-entrance exam.

Associated Press

More than 28,000 kids are still locked out of their classrooms today, while school district officials head to court to force teachers back to work.

(Twitter feed at bottom of story.)

TACOMA, Wash. — Teachers in Washington state's third-largest school district have begun picketing, hours after they overwhelmingly voted to walk away from the classroom.

The strike keeps 28,000 students at home.

Tacoma Education Association

"It really had to come down to a strike ..." 

Tacoma schools will be closed to students tomorrow. Teachers voted to go on strike at their union meeting tonight. They expect to start picketing first at Lincoln High School at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. 

“I’m so proud of our teachers – 87 percent of our teaching membership voted to strike. It’s that important to them to have a fair contract,” said Adrienne Dale, VP of Tacoma Education Association. “It’s very difficult for teachers to leave their classrooms because they’re in it for kids. So, it was a very powerful moment when the numbers came back.”

SALEM, Ore. - Workers at Oregon’s seven state universities are nearing a possible strike authorization vote on Thursday. The union representing nearly four thousand higher ed workers issued a report Monday blasting the state's university system.

The SEIU accuses the Oregon University System of being top-heavy with administrators. The union also says the schools have gone on a building spree that means money that could fund services is now going to pay off construction debt.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Federal Way's attempt to push kids to the next level may have had some impact. Recent results of exams in advanced courses, the school district says, shows more kids did take the tests without lowering the percentage of passing scores.

Bottom line: More kids in advanced classes + more kids taking the exams and passing = more students who can handle harder classes than they might have taken on their own.

The district hopes that also means more kids will go to college.

Erin Hennessey

Seattle writer Tim Haywood of Reflections of a shallow pond fame has the jitters. His youngest daughter is about to start middle school.  That brings up  memories of his own journey, 35 years ago, from elementary school to junior high. 

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Most people can remember a favorite teacher – the one who got you love a certain book or made science class exciting. But you may also remember that bad teacher – the one who made your life miserable. And according to the studies, those teachers may have had just as big an impact on your education.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - An old proverb goes like this: "Each one, teach one." It means that everyone is responsible for passing along knowledge to the next generation. That's true in many professions. A senior surgeon will demonstrate a high-stakes operation to a young medical student. A veteran fire-fighter will show the ropes to a fresh-faced rookie.

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