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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran is the community engagement editor for Education Lab. She joined The Seattle Times staff in September 2013 after three years running hyperlocal news websites at Patch. Contact Caitlin to find out how you can contribute to the local conversation surrounding education.

December 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Feds plan to rate colleges based on costs, accessibility, results

University of Washington. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times 2013.

University of Washington. Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times 2013.

A new college rating system introduced by the Department of Education on Friday would group schools into three categories based on cost, accessibility and results such as graduation and job placement rates.

Officials created the ratings because they want to help students get a valuable education, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release.

“With the guidance of thousands of wise voices, we can develop a useful ratings system that will help more Americans realize the dream of a degree that unleashes their potential and opens doors to a better life,” Duncan said.

The ratings system will deem colleges as high-performing, low-performing, and one category in the middle. At no point will schools be ranked against one another, officials emphasized.

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December 19, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Roundup: SPS probe finds special ed director violated policy; Garfield staffing fight continues

Former special-ed director violated policies, SPS says: An investigation by Seattle Public Schools has concluded that Zakkiyah McWilliams broke district rules by sending out competing bids for a $150,000 contract the district negotiated with a consulting firm earlier this year. McWilliams resigned earlier this month after spending several months on paid leave.

Garfield High shifts schedules to keep teacher at school (KPLU): Staff and administrators at Garfield High School have proposed sending five teachers out of the building for one class period each in an effort to keep a teacher from being forced out of the school. The district is still decided whether to accept the plan.

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December 18, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Roundup: Inslee budget wouldn’t fully fund I-1351; Edmonds adopts transgender student policy

Inslee budget wouldn’t fully fund class-size initiative: The $39 billion, two-year budget plan outlined by Gov. Jay Inslee this week includes $2.3 billion for K-12 education, but that amount falls short of the projected $2 billion needed in the next biennium for I-1351. Representatives from the state teacher’s union have criticized Inslee’s budget for failing to fully fund the voter-approved initiative.

Issaquah school remains closed over threats: Pacific Cascade Middle School in Issaquah remained closed for a second day Thursday after a threatening note was found on campus. Officials have yet to decide whether the school will re-open Friday.

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December 17, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Roundup: Edmonds superintendent reprimanded; threats close Issaquah school

Edmonds superintendent reprimanded by school board: The Edmonds School Board reprimanded Superintendent Nick Brossoit earlier this year over two incidents in which he crossed boundaries with district staff. In one case, Brossoit asked an assistant superintendent about the details of a letter of reference she wrote for Brossoit’s wife.

Issaquah school closed after threatening note found on campus: Pacific Cascade Middle School in Issaquah canceled classes Wednesday after a threatening note was found outside a teacher’s classroom. The letter threatened violence against four staff members, the district said.

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December 16, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Roundup: Inslee budget includes all-day kindergarten; district investigates Garfield field trip

Inslee’s budget calls for all-day kindergarten, teacher raises: Gov. Jay Inslee released highlights from his proposed education budget on Monday, calling for reduced class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, all-day public kindergarten, and cost-of-living raises for teachers. Inslee hailed his $2.3 billion proposal as “the biggest increase in basic education in a quarter-century.”

School district to investigate Garfield High field trip: Seattle Public Schools says it will investigate a recent Garfield High School overnight field trip during which male and female students shared sleeping areas while camping. Principal Ted Howard said the school has not received any reports of inappropriate activity.

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December 15, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Round-up: Handwriting expert will examine Beacon Hill tests, Shanghai tops homework list

Handwriting expert to examine Seattle test booklets: Seattle Public Schools plans to hire a handwriting expert to examine test booklets from Beacon Hill International School, whose scores were tossed out by state officials earlier this fall. Many wrong answers on Beacon Hill’s exams were erased and changed from incorrect to correct answers, officials say.

Four injured in shooting at Portland alternative school (The Oregonian): Extra police and counseling personnel were on hand Monday at a Portland school where four students were injured in a shooting on Friday. Police have said the shooting was gang-related; there were no fatalities.

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December 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Round-up: College presidents face scrutiny for joining protests, study finds fewer students held back

PA college presidents face scrutiny for joining protests (The Inquirer): The presidents of Penn State University and the University of Pennsylvania have been criticized after participating in student protests against recent grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson, Mo. University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann lay on the floor with protesters staging a “die in” at her holiday party on Tuesday, prompting sharp criticism from the leader of the university’s police officers’ union.

Former Tahoma basketball coach investigated for inappropriate behavior: Brian Davis resigned from coaching the boys’ basketball team at Tahoma High School after being accused of having inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old female student. The state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is investigating the allegations.

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December 12, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: What should top Nyland’s to-do list for Seattle schools?

Larry Nyland

Larry Nyland

If there’s one thing Larry Nyland has, it’s experience.

The new leader of Seattle Public Schools, offered the permanent job on Wednesday, started his first superintendency in 1982, in Pasco. He’s also held administrative positions in Alaska, Shoreline and Highline, before becoming Marysville superintendent in 2004.

Seattle School Board member Sharon Peaslee said Nyland’s ability to lead districts through tough times is one of the key reasons she recommended the board extend his contract through June 2017. The motion was approved with a 5-2 vote on Wednesday.

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December 11, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Round-up: UVA seeks to curb excessive drinking, discipline issues affects girls as well as boys

UVA renegotiates contract with fraternities (NPR): The University of Virginia is brainstorming strategies to curb underage and excessive drinking in the aftermath of a Rolling Stone story about an alleged rape at a fraternity party. Among the ideas: Sober fraternity brothers serving as party bouncers and imposing higher alcohol taxes to curb off-campus consumption.

Thurston County bus driver resigns after kindergartner left on bus (The Olympian): A school bus driver for North Thurston Public Schools near Olympia resigned Wednesday after a 6-year-old boy with special needs was left alone on a bus for seven hours. The driver acknowledged the mistake and said he failed to do a walk-through after parking in the district’s transportation lot.

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December 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Round-up: State’s first charter at risk of closing, Obama announces $1 billion for early ed

State’s first charter school at risk of closing: Washington’s charter-schools commission has ordered First Place Scholars in Seattle to explain how it will address more than a dozen issues that could jeopardize the school’s ability to stay open. The problems are mostly administrative and reflect high turnover in the school’s first four months of operation.

Obama announces $1 billion for early education (AP): The White House announced plans Wednesday to devote $1 billion in public-private funding toward early learning. The money includes an initial $250 million to create or expand high-quality preschool programs in 18 states.

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