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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
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:

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

July 16, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Your voices: Students talk about experiences with for-profit colleges

Ashley Kyle of Everett said she found her pharmacy-tech teacher lacking and taught herself. Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times.

Ashley Kyle of Everett said she found her pharmacy-tech teacher lacking and taught herself. Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times.

Corrected version

Education Lab recently asked readers to share their experiences — positive or negative — with for-profit colleges and universities.

The request was tied to news that Corinthian Colleges, which operates a handful of Washington schools under the name Everest College, was under investigation from the U.S. Department of Education.

Since then, the two parties have reached an agreement that calls for Corinthian to put 85 of its campuses, including schools in Everett, Seattle, Bremerton, Tacoma, Renton and Vancouver, up for sale.

Several current and former students wrote to us saying Everest had misrepresented their chances of finding a job after graduation. One Everest student, Ashley Kyle, wrote in to say the school did little to help her prepare for the national pharmacy-technician exam. “They took advantage of me being really naive,” said Kyle, who will be paying $300 a month in student loans for the next 10 years.

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Comments | More in Opinion, Your voices | Topics: for-profit colleges, higher ed

June 30, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Attend a for-profit college or university? Tell us about it

For-profit colleges and universities can an attractive option to students who want to pursue technical training in a specific field and are looking for the convenience of an online program or a campus that’s located close to home.

But for-profits, which include familiar brands such as the University of Phoenix and ITT Technical Institute, have also faced intense scrutiny over the high cost of tuition and the rate at which graduates default on their student loans.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Corinthian Colleges, for profit, higher ed

June 27, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Your voices: Dealing with dress codes

Last week, we posted a video report from BBC America featuring a group of New Jersey students and parents who are pushing for a change to their school dress code, saying the traditional rules unfairly target female students and promote stereotypes about gender and sexuality. 

Most of the readers who responded to our question “Is it time to rethink student dress codes?” felt differently. Here is a sampling of their responses (some have been edited for length or clarity):

Dress codes seem fine, but the rules should be the same regardless of gender, e.g. shirts shall have sleeves of at least 1 inch, bottoms may only be X inches above the knee (would cover shorts, skirts and dresses). No profanity, no racial or gender slurs — that sort of thing.


Kudos to these young ladies for their efforts.

 —Terri Latendresse, Renton

Schools that have adopted uniforms avoid a whole list of distractions — the least of which is sexuality. When all students wear simple slacks and tops (easily laundered and non-specific as to gender), students are free from the constant reminder of who has the money to wear expensive clothing and who doesn’t.

—Barbara Kroon, Vancouver

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Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: dress codes, your voices

June 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Your voices: Is it time to rethink student dress codes?

A group of New Jersey parents and students are pushing for a change to their school dress code, arguing rules about skirt length and tank tops unfairly target female students and promote stereotypes about gender and sexuality.

Echoing the sentiments of the #yesallwomen Twitter campaign, some are using the hashtag #iammorethanadistraction as a rallying point for those who feel that school dress codes are “normalizing the notion that girls’ bodies are a distraction.

“We begin to associate these ideas of girls: bad, need to cover up, (and) boys: animalistic, can’t control themselves,” student Sofia Petros, 16, says in a BBC America video report. The full video is posted here:

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: dress codes, your voices

June 14, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Your voices: What does STEM mean to you?

Armando Bravo

Armando Bravo


STEM for me is an opportunity for success.
What better way to experience the work field or major you would like to be in? Consider taking a STEM class — you won’t regret it.

Armando Bravo, Toppenish High School (Toppenish)

Daniel Doan

Daniel Doan

STEM is unity. It is that awareness of knowing who has what to offer — and everyone has something to offer. Simply put, it’s this idea of coming together as a whole to contribute that final product or that final play or that final grade.

—Daniel Doan, Cleveland High School (Seattle)

christinalindberg4

Christina Lindberg

STEM is the part of my education that is preparing me for the real world. As science expands, so should the material being taught in order to make kids ready for future jobs. It doesn’t help to teach the same curriculum they had 10 years ago because science has expanded since then, and so should the curriculum.

—Christina Lindberg, Inglemoor High School (Kenmore)

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: STEM, Toppenish High School, your voices

June 14, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Rewind: Chat about how schools are rethinking STEM

In Sunday’s paper, Education Lab reporter Claudia Rowe examines how one Eastern Washington high school has found success in rethinking its approach to STEM education.

But Toppenish isn’t the only Washington school that’s earned recognition for STEM. Join us at noon this Tuesday, June 17, for a discussion about what educators around the region are doing to make science, technology, engineering and math more relevant and engaging to today’s students.

Toppenish High School senior Armando Bravo displays the robot he and his robotic club team took to California earlier this year for an international competition. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Toppenish High School senior Armando Bravo displays the robot he and his robotic club team took to California earlier this year for an international competition. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Our live chat will be facilitated by Rowe and include the following panelists:

  • Armando Bravo, a recent graduate of Toppenish High School. Bravo, whose parents work at a nearby beef-processing plant, has participated in the school’s robotics club and will start at Central Washington University this fall as a construction management major.
  • Catherine Brown, academic dean at Cleveland High School in Seattle. At Cleveland, a new focus on science and technology projects has coincided with a 22-point increase in reading scores, a 15-point increase in the graduation rate and a 100-student surge in enrollment.
  • Danette Driscoll, principal at Riverpoint Academy in Spokane. At Riverpoint, students gather in an enormous hangar-like room each morning, before peeling off to work on team engineering projects all day.
  • Caroline King, Washington STEM’s Chief Policy Officer. King leads the organization’s advocacy efforts to build a robust and diverse movement in support of improving STEM education.
  • Shawn Myers, a former biology teacher who now teaches engineering design and biomedical intervention at Toppenish.
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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: live chat, STEM, Toppenish High School

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.

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

June 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Graduates: Tell us what’s on your mind and win $50 to Ray’s Café

Graduation season is here again, and young people throughout our region are celebrating major milestones and transitioning to new and exciting experiences. But amid all the Pomp and Circumstance, graduation can stir up a wide range of emotions. Are you graduating from high school or college this spring? If so, what’s the one word that would sum…

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

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