Youth & Education

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

More than a thousand schools in Washington state are failing to make adequate progress under federal law. But a handful of others are beating the odds and improving enough to work their way off the growing list of failing schools.

Among Seattle Public Schools, the improved schools are Greenwood Elementary School, Middle College High School, Sacajawea Elementary School.

With school scheduled to start tomorrow, Tacoma teachers are still without a contract.

The teachers and the district bargained late into the night last night but couldn’t reach an agreement before their three-year contract expired at midnight.

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. 

Bill S / Flickr

Washington’s students have made some gains on math and science tests. More kids passed state exams in those subjects last year than the year before, according to the Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.

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.

Results from earlier this summer showed fewer Oregon students met federal benchmarks last year, than at any time since Congress passed the No Child Left Behind act.

Now, more detailed test results demonstrate what officials claimed at the time: that students were improving at Reading and Math – but that fewer students were passing because the required minimum score went up.

The new test results show double-digit gains on many measures, especially in high school.

EVERETT, Wash. — Police say no one's going to be arrested following a scuffle at an Everett School Board meeting this week, but misdemeanor charges are possible.

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.

The Environmental Protection Agency says hazardous contaminants that most schools have gotten rid of remain in more than 160 government-operated tribal schools. That includes six in the Northwest. A new settlement aims to bring schools in Native American communities up to standards.

EPA inspections of tribal schools between 2005 and 2008 found violations of seven environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Members of Oregon’s largest public workers' union have approved a new two-year contract. It's the first time state workers have agreed to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums.

Members of SEIU Local 503 voted to ratify the contract 77% to 23%. The agreement means that many state workers will pay around 5% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Employees will also have to take unpaid furlough days. They'll also get cost of living pay increases.

"No I’m not out of order, you’re not the boss of me here I’m sorry ..."

EVERETT, Wash. — A disagreement at an Everett School Board meeting got so heated, police were called to intervene.

(Video and partial transcription inside.)

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. 

Associated Press

Students are adding a high-tech touch to a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new Aviation High School at the Museum of Flight near Boeing Field at Seattle.

The new school year at Washington State University has brought with it a record class of freshmen in Pullman, with about 4,200 first-year students on campus.

"This class is highly competitive, this class represents the largest population of color than we’ve had in the history of our university, and we’ve been doing that at a time in which we’ve been more fiscally challenged than ever before," said WSU President Elson Floyd.

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.

Washington State University is finalizing its plans to cut $40 million in the current biennium budget.

Washington State University President Elson Floyd says he’s never seen anything like it in his years in higher education— he’s referring to the loss of 52% of the university’s net state appropriation in the past four years. And about forty million dollars needs to be cut in the current budget cycle through 2013.

To help achieve that reduction, the university will cut $3.2 million from Academic Affairs but Floyd says they’ll spare academic programs.

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.

Mary Levin / UW

What’s the coolest university in America? According to Sierra Magazine, it’s the University of Washington.

The official publication of the Sierra Club has named the University of Washington the top university in the country for its initiatives to operate sustainably and limit its contributions to global warming.

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.

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. 

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.

Shannan Muskopf / Flickr

Washington today became the latest state to align its education standards with a national movement. Forty-four states have now committed to what are dubbed  “common core standards” for Language Arts and Math in public schools.

John Yeager / World Vision

Teens from Seattle and Tacoma are meeting with lawmakers in Washington D.C. to advocate for an end to youth violence.

They are pushing for the passage of the Youth Promise Act, now stalled in congress. The act would provide communities with federal funding to develop local programs to keep kids off the street and busy, especially after school between the hours of three and six.

Alejandro Gordo / Flickr

“It’s as though they think that the good effects of drinking keep getting better …”

A new study with implications for alcohol intervention programs on college campuses around the country finds that many students believe the benefits of boozing it up outweigh the downsides.

Courtesy of WSU

The largest private collection of photographs taken during World War II at an internment camp for Japanese-Americans is being donated to Washington State University.

The more than 2,000 black and white photo negatives were taken by George Hirahara and his son Frank between 1943 and 1945 at the Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming. (More photos inside.)

ReUse / Flickr

A job training program in south Seattle is giving 130 people a ticket out of poverty with skills in the growing field of deconstruction or the carefully dismantling homes and buildings to preserve reusable materials.

Despite facing the steepest budget shortfall in the past 3 years, Seattle Public School officials say class sizes will not get any bigger next fall. The district's school board unanimously approved a plan last night to close a $45.5 million gap with considerable cuts to school supports and jobs, but teachers were largely spared.

Some high school students are expected to ditch the state’s popular Running Start program this fall.

The number of students who take advantage of the opportunity to earn college credit has grown every year since the program began in the early 90’s, but that progress could be coming to a halt.  

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

THE DALLES, Ore. – A fixer-upper is paying unexpected dividends for a couple in The Dalles, Oregon.

The back parking lot of the old building they bought as an investment is yielding artifacts that give rare insight into the lives of pioneer Chinese immigrants in the Northwest.

Associated Press

Ever since a University of Washington study published in a major medical journal in 2007 showed baby videos don't make infants smarter, the creators of the Baby Einstein series have been battling the university in court and in the media.

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