Youth & Education

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

Florangela Davila

Students at Seattle's John Muir Elementary School are trying to answer life's big questions. Along with reading and math, the school's curriculum includes philosophy. 

Why philosophy? Kids start asking all sorts of "why" questions starting in preschool, says philosopher Jana Mohr Lone: "Why is the sky blue? Why are some things in color and some things aren’t? Can you be happy and sad at the same time?"

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

A school district in Sweet Home, Oregon is considering whether to pull a book by Northwest author Sherman Alexie from junior high classrooms.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is frequently targeted for removal from school reading lists for its language and depictions of violence and sexuality.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The union that represents school bus drivers in Seattle says there’s a “serious possibility”  that the drivers could go out on strike.

Six months have passed since the drivers voted to unionize, and they’re still working without a contract, having failed to negotiate one with First Student, a company headquartered in Cincinnati.

Wenmei Hill / Courttesey of Northwest Center

Northwest Center Kids in Queen Anne has rented the same building from Seattle Public Schools for decades. But the district says it’s short on space and needs the facility back in the next six months.

The program's location is hard to spot from the street. It’s tucked in near a city park on the downhill slope of north Queen Anne. Inside, toddlers with Down syndrome and preschoolers with feeding tubes play side by side with typically developing children.

Inclusion was the goal of the program’s founders back in 1965. They had kids with special needs, and instead of institutionalizing them, they started their own school.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee is making another push for lawmakers to close tax exemptions to fund education. The Democrat made his pitch Tuesday, but there’s no indication the mostly Republican majority in the Washington Senate can be persuaded.

The money would pay for the reforms the Legislature has already approved, including a 1.3 percent salary increase for teachers and staff. The governor said the money will include sending $130 million to K-12 public schools to pay for textbooks, computers and curriculum updates.

cdsessums / Flickr

The first charter school in Washington state will open in Spokane next year. 

Pride Prep was chosen from a pool of three applicants by the board of Spokane Public Schools on Wednesday. Brenda McDonald, a former middle school principal, will run the school for sixth through 12th graders. The school will focus on math and science, and have both a longer school day — eight hours instead of six — as well as a longer school year.

Alex Garland

The president of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish has resigned in the wake of the students' protest over the school's decision to force out a gay vice principal who married his partner.

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees on Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents, staff and others on Tuesday evening, the school said a search for her replacement will begin soon.

Design in Public

What can be done to improve the school lunch experience? That’s the question behind a new ideas competition in Seattle aimed at fighting child obesity and diabetes.

The Redesigning the School Lunch Experience competition offers a range of practical and playful solutions to inspire kids to make healthier food choices.

"Children spend an hour a day every weekday in their lives in a cafeteria," said Katherine Wimble, associate director of Design in Public, a nonprofit group with the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects. "This is about seeing what innovative ideas could transform the whole experience so they can make healthier choices."   

Those wanting to open up a charter school in the Seattle and Tacoma areas will be making public presentations over the next week and a half.

The state’s Charter School Commission is holding six public forums, which will help the commission decide which schools will open over the next two years.

 

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to submit a complete plan by the end of April to detail how the state will fully pay for basic education.

The 8-1 ruling said that while the state made progress in last year's budget to increase funding for K-12 education, it was "not on target" to hit the constitutionally required funding level by the 2017-18 school year.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The Obama administration has issued new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are disciplined for breaking school rules.

Government civil rights data show that black students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as whites to be expelled or suspended. Critics say that creates a "school-to-prison" pipeline because many students enter the criminal justice system for violations.

Denis Poroy / Associated Press

Washington state has the largest number of new National Board-certified teachers in the country.

A total of 516 new board-certified teachers have joined the state’s ranks. Washington now has more than 7,000 certified teachers, which puts the state in fourth place nationwide.

dalexeenko / Flickr

A new state audit has found Washington university credit cards were used to make more than $225,000 in purchases not allowed by state policies.

Most of the purchases were for alcohol or gifts. And the majority were made by people associated with the University of Washington.

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