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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: Your voices
September 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Tell us: Do you support universal pre-K? Would you sign up?

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project's Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project’s Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

This fall, Seattle voters will consider two ballot measures that seek to improve early education programs in the city, and make them affordable to all families.

One measure sponsored by the mayor and city council would focus on 3- and 4-year-olds, and include free tuition for families who earn less than 300 percent of federal poverty level. A competing plan, backed by two child-care unions, would cover children from infancy through age 5.


Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: early education, pre-K, preschool

September 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Video chat: What does ‘high quality’ preschool look like?

The proposals to expand and improve early education in Seattle raise many questions about what effective preschool looks like. And what does “high quality” mean, anyway?

Join the Education Lab team and a panel of experts for a Google+ hangout on all things early education this Tuesday, Sept. 23. The discussion will start at 7 p.m. and will be facilitated by reporter John Higgins.


Comments | More in Video, Your voices | Topics: early education, early learning, pre-K

September 5, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Last chance: Tell us what you think about Education Lab

educationlab_facebookWhat do you think about The Seattle Times’ education coverage?

As we near the one-year mark for Education Lab, we’re taking a moment to collect your feedback on the project so far.

Go here to take the survey. We appreciate your opinion and will enter your name into a drawing for a $100 gift card.

Responses must be entered by 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, to qualify for the drawing.


| More in About Education Lab, Your voices | Topics: survey

September 2, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Court hears arguments in McCleary school-funding case; watch coverage replay

Update 3:25 p.m.: The state Supreme Court turned the Temple of Justice into the proverbial woodshed Wednesday afternoon, demanding that state lawmakers explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for failing in the last session to come up with a complete plan to fully fund public education by 2018.

“It’s been said that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” Justice Charles Wiggins said to the attorney representing the state. “Why should we think that you’re going to do something different?”

The unusual hearing was the latest clash between the Legislature and the high court arising out of the court’s landmark 2012 McCleary decision declaring Washington’s school funding system unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas Ahearne, has argued that the Supreme Court risks becoming an irrelevant branch of government if it fails to hold the Legislature accountable for failing to carry out the court’s order to submit the funding plan by April — or at least the end of 2014.


Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: live chat, McCleary

September 1, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Your voices: Local teachers on their ideal first day of school

With the start of the new school year just around the corner, we asked local teachers for their thoughts on what a perfect first day would be like. The following are their responses.

What does your ideal first day of school look like?

I am able to get everything done in 51 minutes. There is laughter and focus. Students leave looking forward to returning.

Ellen Simonis, Trout Lake School, Trout Lake

My ideal first day would be one where all of the students in my classes come to school properly fed, clothed, sheltered, and without any damaging stress caused by living in poverty.

—Bill Foster, Cheney Middle School, Cheney

Students with schedules already established, going to classes wherein they find the teachers contracted for the year. All the books/supplies for the quarter are already in place, and students and teachers can start learning about each other. No first day placement tests. No excessive hall wandering. Lots of smiling.

Tom O’Kelley, Oakland High School, Tacoma

A class that is reasonable in size so I can reach out to every student every day, necessary supplies that I don’t have to buy out of my own pocket (approx. $500 a year, or more) and a clean, safe classroom.

—Corie Jones, Elk Plain School of Choice, Spanaway


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: first day, teachers

August 30, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Rewind: Watch a replay of live chat on special education in Seattle

Education Lab hosted a live chat on special education in Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 11.

The discussion was based off our earlier story about Seattle Public Schools’ long-troubled special-education program and a related report on how San Diego school officials fixed the communication problems in their own special-ed department. Reporter John Higgins facilitated the discussion.

Joining him was Stacy Gillett, a former special-education teacher who directs the governor’s education ombudsman’s office; Phyllis Campano, vice-president of the Seattle Education Association; and Mary Griffin, the mother of a child with disabilities and the immediate past president of the Seattle Special Ed PTSA.


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: live chat, special education

August 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Back to school: Your photos from the first day

Update: The submission period for first-day photos has ended. Thanks to everyone who uploaded a photo!

Original post: Back-to-school season is here, and kids (and parents) across our region are busy picking out first-day outfits and making sure all their pencils, notebooks and colored markers are in order.

Does your family line up for photos on the front stoop? Got any throwback photos from your own first days of school?

Whether you’re a parent who is currently shuffling the kids out the door, or someone whose time prepping for the back-to-school rush has (thankfully) passed, we want to see your first day of school photos. Awkward family poses and old-school fashions will get an extra gold star.


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: first day of school

August 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Tell us: Is hazing a problem at your school?

edulab_icon_perspectivesA year after seven students were suspended in a freshman hazing incident, Garfield High School in Seattle has set up a mentoring program to help new students feel welcome and supported by their peers.

Are you a student, parent or educator? Do you have any experience with hazing? If you were in charge, how would you help ninth-graders make the transition to high school?


Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: hazing

August 11, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: What’s the most vexing education jargon you’ve heard?

With summer in full swing, it’s time to have little fun on the Ed Lab blog. As an education blog, we offer a bit of educational fun.

All you have to do is help us define education jargon in plain English.

Submit a term you don’t understand — or don’t fully understand — by typing it into the form below. We’re looking for terms that frustrate, exasperate or confuse you — or all three. Terms that you would like to ban forever. Terms that might as well be written in Martian — if they were Greek, they would be easier to understand.

Here are a few possibilities: Authentic assessment, child-centered, competency-based, alignment, critical thinking, differentiated instruction, mastery learning, constructivist, inquiry, direct instruction, developmentally appropriate, benchmarks, criterion-reference test, formative assessment, phonemic awareness, rubric, teacher leadership, research-based, best practices, stakeholders.


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: jargon, your voices

July 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

5-minute recap: Video chat on what’s working in math education

Last Thursday, the Education Lab team hosted a Google+ Hangout about elementary math education and the successful strategies used at Lakeridge Elementary in the Renton School District. The discussion stemmed from our July 15 story about how the school’s use of cognitively guided instruction and ongoing teacher training has led to a turnaround in student math scores.

Miss the live video chat? The five-minute recap below shows some of the highlights. What you’ll see:


Comments | More in Math and science, Video, Your voices | Topics: Google Hangout, instruction, Lakeridge

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