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Education Lab Blog

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

Category: News
July 24, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Round-up: Tacoma district eyes downtown building, Sequim grapples with transgender policies

Tacoma district considers buying downtown building for school (The News Tribune): Seattle isn’t the only local school district contemplating major real estate acquisitions. The Tacoma School Board plans to vote Friday on whether to pay $7.6 million for a downtown building and parking garage that would allow for an expansion of the popular Tacoma School of the Arts.

Judge rules against public disclosure of LA teacher performance (Los Angeles Times): Three California appellate judges have ruled the public does not have a right to know the names of teachers in relation to their job performance ratings. The decision overturns an earlier ruling ordering disclosure.

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July 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Uncool in middle school? That might be a good thing

Remember the cool kids in middle school? The ones classmates admired and longed to befriend? The ones whose rejections sent many of us into a funk?

If you’re still not over it, take heart. Turns out, as adults, the popular kids tend to slip to the other end of the social spectrum.

In a study published in Child Development, researchers from the University of Virginia found that by the time they reach their early 20s, many popular seventh-and eighth-graders are often viewed as socially inept.

The researchers tracked 184 students from 13 to 23. As young teens, they were all in the popular crowd, judged by interviews with peers and the students themselves.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Child Development, middle school, popularity

July 23, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Round-up: Sharp jump in teen use of growth hormone, UW and WWU named great places to work

Survey finds sharp jump in teen use of growth hormone (AP): The percentage of U.S. high school students who report using synthetic HGH at least once has more than doubled to 11 percent in the latest survey released by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The substance is commonly sought after by young people who want to improve their athletic performance or enhance their looks.

UW, WWU make national list of top colleges to work forThe University of Washington and Western Washington University were included on the most recent “Great Colleges to Work For” list published by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The list was based on a survey of 43,000 college employees.

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July 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How are the kids? Improving in some areas, suffering in others

Housing starts and employment reports give us one picture of the state of our economy, and our nation.

But what about the state of our children and the indicators of their well-being — the percent without health insurance, for example, or the percent of families without even one securely employed adult?

For 25 years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has tracked such numbers, which it argues are just as important to the nation’s future as our minute-by-minute watch of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

“Far more attention should be paid to child well-being indicators because everyone else’s future is wrapped up in theirs,” said Lori Pfingst, of the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, one of the groups that works with the foundation to collect data in Washington state.

So how are the nation’s 74 million kids doing?

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Annie E. Casey Foundation, child well-being, Kids Count

July 22, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Round-up: WWU reports more grads finding jobs, men credited with saving school from wildfire

WWU reports more grads finding jobs (Skagit Valley Herald): A survey compiled by Western Washington University finds 82 percent of graduates who earned degrees in 2012-13 found employment within six months, up from a low of 68.7 percent during the recession. The average starting salary for respondents was down about 4 percent from last year, however.

Men credited with saving Pateros school from wildfire (NBC News): Augustine Morales and a friend used a hose system on their truck to fight back flames approaching the Pateros K-12 school. The building has been used as a relief center after the massive blaze destroyed more than 150 of the town’s homes.

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July 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Even the feds screw up FAFSA: Online glitch affects thousands

About 200,000 would-be college students, most of them low-income, may have received incorrect financial aid offers because of a recently-discovered glitch on the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, better known as the FAFSA.

The problem came to light earlier this month after colleges and universities began noticing lots of applicants with questionable salaries entered in the box marked “Income Earned from Work”. That is, salaries that looked puzzlingly high for students seeking financial aid.

Turns out that thousands of students — apparently trying to respond to the FAFSA with utmost accuracy — entered summer-job or after-school incomes down to the penny. But the form was supposed to accept only whole-dollar amounts.

The result? Incomes of $5,000.19 showed up as $500,019 — an enormous difference, and one that would almost certainly affect eligibility for financial aid.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: FAFSA, financial aid, higher ed

July 21, 2014 at 5:03 PM

No go: Feds deny state request to reinstate part of No Child waiver

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn (Photo by Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Randy Dorn

As we reported earlier today on the Today File blog, the U.S. Department of Education has denied Washington state’s request to reinstate one piece of the state’s former No Child Left Behind waiver.

As a result, most schools in the state will be required to send letters to parents before school starts this fall, telling them their schools are falling short of the federal test-score requirements. By 2014, the No Child law had required a 100 percent passage rates on state tests in reading and math in grades 3-8 and 10.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn had asked that schools be spared the need to send those letters, but the U.S. Department of Education said no.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: No Child Left Behind, Randy Dorn, waiver

July 21, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Round-up: Seattle selects interim schools chief, Obama expands program for black and Latino boys

Seattle board names Larry Nyland as interim superintendent: Nyland, a longtime local educator who retired as superintendent of the Marysville School District last year, is set to take over as chief of Seattle Public Schools on Aug. 1. The Seattle School Board is expected to begin searching for a permanent superintendent in September and make a decision next spring.

Obama to expand initiative for black and Latino boys (The New York Times): Sixty of the country’s largest school districts will join an education initiative called My Brother’s Keeper, the White House will announce today. The effort targets black and Latino boys and calls for expanded preschool access, data-based interventions and better representation in AP and other advanced programs.

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July 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Liberal-arts consortium knits together 5 small colleges

This summer, three small Northwest liberal arts colleges are teaching a course together as part of a five-college collaboration that could eventually help the schools deliver education more efficiently and provide stronger class offerings to their students.

It’s a move that reflects a growing national trend  among colleges to pool talent and resources.

The schools — including the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and  Whitman College in Walla Walla — established the consortium three years ago, and this summer will offer their first class, in local food systems.

The project is called the Northwest Five Consortium, and it also includes Lewis & Clark College and Reed College, both in Portland, and Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

The Whitman College campus in Walla Walla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2009.

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July 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Round-up: Banda’s replacement will be named today, UW draws women into computer science

Announcement expected today on interim Seattle superintendent: The Seattle School Board will meet this afternoon to select a temporary replacement for outgoing chief José Banda. The Sacramento City Unified School District officially hired Banda as its new superintendent during a Thursday board meeting. Seattle’s interim superintendent will start work immediately and continue through at least June 2015.

UW finds success drawing women into computer science (The New York Times): The University of Washington is one of a few colleges leading the way in an effort to get more female students interested in studying computer science. Along with programs aimed at high-school students, a revamped introductory course is causing women who had not planned on being computer science majors to switch to the field.

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