Follow us:

Education Lab Blog

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

Category: Poll
November 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: Did you study abroad? Why or why not?

Michele Salzman, history professor at University of California at Riverside, leads her students around Rome’s Pantheon earlier this fall. AP photo.

Michele Salzman, history professor at University of California at Riverside, leads her students around Rome’s Pantheon earlier this fall. AP photo.

The Institute of International Education published a report today which showed that, while the number of international students studying in Washington state colleges and universities is skyrocketing, the same can’t be said for Washington students going abroad to study.

Fewer U.S. students enrolled in Washington institutions are studying abroad than they did four years ago. Of the 127,000 students enrolled in four-year public and private universities in Washington, only about 6,200 students studied abroad in 2012-13.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: higher education

October 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Poll: Should student test scores be tied to principal pay?

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

A Seattle Times investigation has uncovered more details about the testing controversy at Seattle’s Beacon Hill International School.

Student testing booklets had been stored in a janitor’s closet for several weeks, a practice that is common in Seattle schools but recently drew concerns from an internal auditor. Five staff members at Beacon Hill — the principal, Po-yuk Tang, an assistant principal, a family-support worker and two custodians — had access to the closet where the test booklets were scored.

State officials announced Tuesday they had invalidated the school’s test scores after finding a large number of wrong answers had been erased and changed to the correct response.

In Seattle, principals can earn up to $7,500 extra each year based on student test scores and a number of other performance indicators. The Association of Washington School Principals says it is not aware of any other district in the state that incorporates test scores into principal pay.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: Beacon Hill, test scores

October 8, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Poll: Should parents be able to pay for teachers’ salaries?

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

Parents at Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle are scrambling to raise $90,000 to prevent one of the school’s teachers from being transferred to nearby Fairmount Park Elementary, which reopened this fall.

A group of parents calling itself Friends of Gatewood had collected about $52,000 as of Tuesday. Seattle Public Schools gave organizers a fundraising deadline for Wednesday, Oct. 8, but the school has asked for an extension.

The fundraising effort began after an official headcount of students on Oct. 1 revealed the school had fallen short of its enrollment projections, and Fairmount Park ended up with more students than expected.

More

Comments | More in News, Poll, Your voices | Topics: Fairmount Park Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, school funding

June 10, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Poll: Do you support teacher-tenure laws?

A Los Angeles judge has struck down California’s tenure laws for K-12 teachers, saying such protections are disadvantageous to minority and low-income students.

From the Associated Press:

In a landmark decision that could influence the gathering debate over tenure across the country, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that students have a fundamental right to equal education.

Siding with the nine students who brought the lawsuit, he ruled that California laws on the hiring and firing of teachers have resulted in “a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.”

He agreed, too, that a disproportionate share of these teachers are in schools that have mostly minority and low-income students.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: teacher tenure

May 12, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Poll: Would you support a four-day school week?

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Two school districts in North Dakota are taking an unusual step to cut costs and provide teachers with more days for professional development. Starting this fall, the Dunseith and East Fairview school systems will shift to four-day school weeks.

The Associated Press reports classes at Dunseith will be held Monday-Thursday, and that Fridays will be reserved for teacher training and to allow students to come in for extra help. Each class will be lengthened by 10 minutes.

A dramatic drop in federal funding is one reason Dunseith officials decided to pursue the schedule change. Officials hope the switch will save the district, which includes 425 students, about $250,000 annually in energy costs and other expenses such as running school cafeterias.

More

Comments | More in News, Poll

April 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Poll: Will you opt your child out of Common Core testing?

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

This spring, thousands of students across Washington are testing out the new Common Core exams. Common Core is a set of federal standards that stipulate what students should learn at each grade level.

Next year, the official Common Core tests will officially be administered throughout the state.

In the Tri-Cities area, where 30 schools are participating in this year’s trial run, some teachers are encouraging parents to opt out of the tests, saying the field tests “are putting an unnecessary burden on students, who sometimes break down in the classroom because of the stress.”

More

Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: common core

April 2, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Senior projects: Worthwhile or a waste of time?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Gov. Jay Inslee is set to sign a bill next week that would change a state law requiring high-school students to complete senior projects prior to graduation.

The measure originated after lobbying from Yakima-area state Rep. David Taylor and his 17-year-old stepdaughter Tiffany Stewart, who decided to do her senior project on the topic of ending senior projects.

The change was passed as an amendment inside another bill. It would make senior projects an optional graduation requirement for school districts.

Stewart argued senior projects take up a lot of class time and that some students do the bare minimum, baking cupcakes or making quilts to meet the requirement.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: graduation, high school, senior project

March 17, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Poll: New names for Seattle’s community colleges — what do you think?

The three schools collectively known as Seattle Community Colleges are about to get new names that officials say will better reflect the schools’ range of degree offerings.

The word “community” will be stripped from the schools’ titles sometime before this fall, the colleges announced Friday. From then on, the institutions will be known as North Seattle College, Seattle Central College and South Seattle College.

Readers who commented on the Friday story left mixed reviews of the name change:

I don’t think the name change is necessary, but it’s not my decision. I say just make sure that you keep the education affordable and practical, regardless of the name.

More

Comments | More in Poll

January 30, 2014 at 4:18 PM

State Senate introduces REAL Hope Act — what’s your reaction?

Speaking Thursday at a news conference in Olympia, Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor) WA Sen. Barbara Bailey says the GOP's REAL Hope Act will "make college a reality" for more students. (Photo by Brian M. Rosenthal / The Seattle Times)

Speaking Thursday at a news conference in Olympia, Sen. Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor) WA Sen. Barbara Bailey says the GOP’s REAL Hope Act will “make college a reality” for more students. (Photo by Brian M. Rosenthal / The Seattle Times)

State Senate leaders made a surprising shift Thursday afternoon by announcing they had reached agreement on Washington’s version of the “Dream Act.”

Called the “REAL (Real Educational Access, Changing Lives) Hope Act,” Senate Bill 6523 is nearly identical to House Bill 1817, which the Democrat-controlled House voted to approve on the first day of the 2014 session.

The measure would require applicants to have lived in Washington state for at least three years before receiving their high school diploma and to fall under the federal requirements for deferred action.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: Dream Act, financial aid, higher ed

January 24, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Poll: Is it worthwhile to major in the liberal arts?

Liberal arts majors aren’t destined to a lifetime of low earnings, according to a new report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

Researchers looked at Census data and found that workers who studied the humanities or social sciences as undergraduates make about $2,000 more per year during their peak earning ages — defined as between 56 and 60 years old — than their peers who majored in professional or pre-professional fields.

More

Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: higher ed, liberal arts

Next Page »