Youth & Education

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

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Unemployed workers are facing yet another obstacle as they try to get back on their feet. A lot of community colleges have run out of money to retrain them for in-demand jobs. 

It’s hard enough for most people to find work right now, let alone those whose fields have been pummeled by the recession. Changes in the job market have driven more workers than ever to take advantage of grants for retraining. So many, that even though the state spent $17.6 million to train an extra 3,784 people this year, it hasn’t been enough.

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature are working to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But they're not likely to implement a change the State Auditor says could save $180 million over the two-year budget cycle, as the idea runs afoul of the powerful teacher's union.

ErikaJSchultz / Twitpic

Seattle's school board fired Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Don Kennedy, the district's chief financial officer, Wednesday evening, as was widely anticipated. The votes were unanimous.

The action was swift retribution following revelations of a financial scandal that drew the anger of board members and the public. The board then voted 6-1 to appoint Susan Enfield as interim superintendent.

Governor Chris Gregoire is making another push to create a cabinet-level Department of Education. The idea appears to be faltering in the Washington legislature.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, which received $595,000 from Seattle Public Schools, insists taxpayers got their money's worth despite a state audit report calling the payments of questionable value.

Gary Davis / KPLU

A financial scandal will likely force an abrupt end to the tenure of Seattle Public Schools superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. The school board will vote Wednesday evening on a motion to terminate her contract.

A proposal to base teacher layoffs on performance - and not seniority - has died in the Washington legislature. The bill's demise is a victory for the state’s teacher's union, but a frustrating defeat for some lawmakers. 

Currently, when school districts reduce staff newer more junior teachers typically lose their jobs first. A bipartisan proposal in the Washington legislature would have changed that.

If you’ve ever wondered if one vote really makes a difference, consider a school bond measure in Snoqualmie. The proposal to build a new middle school in the rapidly-growing city was recently defeated by a single ballot. That doesn’t mean it’s dead. A parent decided the vote was too close to concede.

A majority of Snoqualmie residents supported the new school, almost 60-percent. Trouble is, when it comes to King County elections, almost doesn’t cut it.  

Gary Davis / KPLU

New details emerged today over allegations of internal fraud and management 'failures' within Seattle Public Schools, and they may cost Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson her job. Her firing is one of the options the school board is considering in the wake of reports delving into financial mismanagement of a district contracting program.  

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

More than 3,100 Washington students might not get into the state’s largest universities in the next couple of years. Hundreds of faculty and staff could lose their jobs. That’s what university presidents say will happen if the legislature slashes higher education funding beyond what the governor has already proposed.

Gary Davis / KPLU

The Seattle School Board could soon decide whether some district employees should lose their jobs over alleged fraud within the school system. This week, the board expects to receive the results of an investigation into $1.8 million dollars in contracts for services that might have never been completed, or even started. 

Washington State PTA (WSPTA)

Hundreds of families will rally in Olympia today to send a message to the legislature. Despite budget challenges facing the state – they say lawmakers need to keep their hands off school funding. 

The recession is forcing Washington families to make tough decisions about their children’s education. As incomes have dwindled, so has attendance at private schools. In the past few years, the schools have lost nearly 3,000 kids, according to data reported to the state. 

Elaine Thompson / AP

As schools across the state grapple with huge budget issues, administrators in Seattle say they need to cut elementary counselors, programs for struggling students and full-day kindergarten classes. Those are some of their final recommendations after months of pouring over options.  

Administrators did manage to shave more than $1.7 million from the budget gap, but they still face a nearly $35 million shortfall.   

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Advocates for Washington's universities are presenting a more unified front in Olympia this year. They hope the closer coordination will help them make a stronger case for higher-ed funding. A coalition of groups gathered on the steps of the state capitol Thursday.

Save our home: Henry Foss High School facebook page

Foss High School students, parents and community supporters will line the streets around the school today in an effort to save it from temporary closure.

The superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools has proposed mothballing Foss and some small elementary schools for at least three years to reduce the district’s budget deficit. He says closing the high school could save $2 Million next year. 

Christine Gregoire says she had an "aha moment" last summer about why Washington's education system isn't getting any better.

The governor made a rare appearance before a legislative committee Wednesday to talk about her proposal to create a new cabinet-level Department of Education that would oversee all the state's education efforts, committees and boards, from early learning to college.

Some talented staff at West Seattle's Denny International Middle School have a hit, of sorts, on their hands.  Students are giving them high marks for their work in a video that's getting some viral tread: some 7,500 hits this past month.

"Teach Me How To Study," is a rap video parody of the popular "Teach Me How to Dougie" by the group Cali Swag District.

Eric Gay / AP Photo

Seattle Public Schools' latest plan to shore up its budget deficit could mean some students won't have bus service next year and most will have to get up earlier. Families can get more details and voice concerns on these changes and more at a series of meetings starting tonight:

Nearly a third of children in Washington don’t appear to be ready for kindergarten.  And more than half aren’t likely to have necessary language skills.  The findings come from the state’s first attempt to assess some of its youngest students. 

The assessment, called WaKIDS, includes evaluations of four domains:

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.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Updated Jan. 27, 2011 to correct projected Seattle Public Schools projected deficit for 2011-12 as $36.6 million, rather than $50 million. KPLU regrets the error.

As the Seattle School District deals with a giant deficit, district officials say they’re going to get tough when it comes to collecting money from families.

Parents have to pay $207 a month to send a child to full day kindergarten. But the district is waiting for hundreds of checks to arrive in the mail.

Kim Trick / Hyla Middle School

Not all kids are enjoying a day off thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.  Teachers and administrators at Hyla Middle School on Bainbridge Island see it as the perfect time to give students a new perspective on the civil rights leader.  

Charla Bear / KPLU

Seniors who graduate from Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle have a new price for their first year of college – free.  The president of South Seattle Community College says it’ll give one-year tuition scholarships to any student who gets a diploma and fills out a couple of forms. 

Via Tacoma Public Schools website

Half of Tacoma's middle schools now rank among the lowest-performing in the state. Baker Middle School is the fifth to land the dubious distinction.

The bright side? Low-scoring schools become eligible for federal grants intended to help turn things around. 

The News Tribune's Debbie Cafazzo reports Baker's student scores may reflect their challenges at home:

Courtesy of Holly Wolfe

As people remember the earthquake that devastated Haiti last year, some Washington residents will get an up close look at the hardships survivors still face.  Today, anyone who walks through the middle of the UW Tacoma campus can see a refugee camp like those many Haitians live in.  

Washington voters elected him state superintendent of public schools. Now Governor Chris Gregoire wants to takeover his portfolio. Randy Dorn is fuming over the Governor’s proposal to create a cabinet-level Department of Education.

Seattle Office for Education

Now that Seattle schoolchildren have settled in to the new student assignment plan, some changes are on the way.  The effort to place kids at neighborhood schools this year has hit a few bumps. 

Governor Chris Gregoire says she has a plan to make higher ed funding more stable and boost the number of students who earn degrees, but it could be a long shot.

The governor's plan would let schools decide when to increase tuition and by how much.  She says colleges and universities know best what they’re worth. 

Kids read at a preschool program in Seattle
Seattle Office for Education

A new project just launched at the University of Washington could give Head Start teachers a boost.  The effort aims to redesign how instructors for the federal early learning program are trained.

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