Youth & Education

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

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.