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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: Poll
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.


0 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.


0 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.


0 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.


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

December 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Poll: How much do you value college rankings?

A new ranking from U.S. News & World Report attempts to measure schools’ value and efficiency by weighing their overall score in the publication’s Best Colleges ranking against the amount of money they spend per student. The Best Colleges list often stirs up controversy, in part because the highest-ranked universities tend to have the highest price tags. Could…


0 Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: college rankings, higher ed

December 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Poll: Are tablets replacing books in your household?

Yesterday on the blog, we weighed the pros and cons of using technology as a learning tool for toddlers:

Not much is known about how such media experiences affect infant brains, according to Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Infant and Child Lab at Temple University, who spoke on a recent online panel sponsored by Child Trends, a nonprofit research group.

What they do know: Done well, digital experiences can enhance children’s knowledge and skills. Done poorly, they can hurt.

Also on Wednesday, The Atlantic published an article about children reading on electronic devices. The headline: “Tablets make it nearly impossible for kids to get lost in a story.”

The post went on to cite a study from the UK that found more children are now reading on screens than reading physical books. Learning-based apps, the author argued, are focused on interactivity, making it difficult for children to easily follow long narratives and “fall in love with reading.”


0 Comments | More in Poll | Topics: reading, technology

November 14, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Poll: Should children still learn cursive in school?

Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

The debate over Common Core has unearthed a new sticking point: cursive.

According to a story published today by the Associated Press, at least seven states (California, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Utah) have moved to include script-writing instruction in their Common Core standards.

Why? Cursive advocates say penmanship practice helps students develop a wide range of skills and personal qualities, from creative thinking and hand-eye coordination to the ability to read historic documents.

Critics, meanwhile, point to the proliferation of digital tools in modern classrooms and to the keyboard’s continuing rise as a preferred communication tool.


0 Comments | More in Poll | Topics: curriculum, cursive, handwriting

November 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM

UW doctors: Seattle’s high schools should start later

Teenagers aren’t lazy, they just need more sleep. That’s part of the argument made by Joanna E. Wrede and Vishesh K. Kapur on Friday’s opinion page. In a guest editorial, the two University of Washington doctors assert that teenagers aren’t biologically programmed to be early risers. Public high schools in Seattle currently start as early as 7:50…


0 Comments | More in Opinion, Poll | Topics: health, high school, Seattle Public Schools