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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
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 18, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How much learning happens on field trips? A lot, a new study says

A field trip group from St. George School on Beacon Hill tours the area around the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2008.

A field trip group from St. George School on Beacon Hill tours the area around the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2008.

There’s something special about stepping onto a bus, leaving school and walking into a theater that grabs students’ attention more than popping a DVD into a television set.

Much like babies who learn more by watching real people than by looking at two-dimensional screens, teenagers learn better from real humans, too.

But students don’t just enjoy field trips because they’re fun — they can often learn more than they do in the classroom, according to a new study from the University of Arkansas.

To measure just how much students learn from culturally enriching field trips, researchers from the University of Arkansas gave hundreds of high school-aged kids tickets to see one of two plays: Hamlet and A Christmas Carol. Another 340 students who signed up for the trial were randomly chosen to not see the play, but still be in the experiment. Some were assigned to read the play or watch a movie version in class, some were not.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Field trips, Jay Greene

December 17, 2014 at 6:02 PM

UW, WWU rank as best college values by national magazine

The University of Washington and Western Washington University have once again made it on the list of 100 top public schools that offer the most value for the money. The ranking of colleges and universities is done annually by Kiplinger’s Magazine.

The UW ranks 11th in value for in-state students. WWU ranks 91st. They’re the only two Washington public schools that made the list, ranking in the top 100 best values for both in-state and out-of-state students.

On a separate Kiplinger’s ranking that compared private universities, two Spokane schools make the top 100: Gonzaga University, 36th, and Whitworth University, 45th. And among liberal arts colleges, Whitman College in Walla Walla ranks 29th.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, University of Washington, Western Washington University

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 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Students need more help with college costs, state council says

A state council that’s responsible for charting the future of  Washington’s higher education system recommends a big increase in college financial aid programs.

That was one of the recommendations the council recently made to Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature, saying more aid would help more Washington students get the training needed to fill jobs in the future.

Inslee followed some of the panel’s recommendations when he released his education budget highlights Monday, but not all of them.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education

December 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

UW panel: Triple the UW medical school program in Spokane

A University of Washington panel headed by former Gov. Dan Evans believes the best way to quickly increase the number of doctors working in rural Washington is for the UW to expand its medical school program in Spokane.

The panel also recommends creating more residencies in rural areas, particularly Eastern Washington.

It did not weigh in on what’s become a sore point between UW and Washington State University:  whether it’s also necessary for WSU to build its own, separate medical school in Spokane to alleviate the physician shortage. The panel’s report notes that it was not given the task of determining “if a separately accredited medical school is necessary or should be pursued by WSU.”

The UW and WSU, which used to work together to provide medical training at WSU’s Spokane campus, split earlier this year over how best to increase the number of doctors in Washington’s rural areas. There is a shortage of primary care doctors in those areas today, a problem that’s expected to get worse as baby boom-era doctors retire.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, University of Washington, Washington State University

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 16, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Using discipline to help kids feel better about school, not worse

Nicholas Bradford, founder, Restorative Justice Center of the Northwest

Nicholas Bradford, founder of the Restorative Justice Center of the Northwest. Courtesy photo.

Schools nationwide are facing the hard-to-refute fact that using suspension to discipline students doesn’t do much to improve their behavior — and may make it worse.

But what if there was a way to nudge kids who disrupt classrooms or bully peers to atone for those violations by confronting them?

What if the atonement itself actually strengthened the relationship between students and their schools?

Nicholas Bradford, a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, says such a technique exists, and it’s called Restorative Justice. Maybe that sounds a bit kumbaya, but the approach has been used successfully in tough Oakland schools and in some prisons.

Bradford spoke with Education Lab about this practice, and its implications for students here.

Q: What exactly is Restorative Justice, and why do you think it’s a smart way to approach school discipline?

A: It’s an approach to conflict that holds a youth accountable for harm, while simultaneously building relationships. The usual way — suspending kids — just pushes them out and further damages the relationship between student and teacher.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: discipline, Nicholas Bradford, race

December 15, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Seattle charter school plan to be public Tuesday

A Seattle charter school’s plan to fix a slew of problems will be made public Tuesday, according to the head of the state commission governing charter schools.

Joshua Halsey, the commission’s executive director, initially said the plan and the commission’s response to it would be available to the public Monday. He said Monday the documents will be published Tuesday.

On Thursday, the commission rejected the school’s corrective action plan, saying it was deficient and submitted late.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: charter schools, First Place Scholars Charter School, Joshua Halsey

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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