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Education Lab Blog

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

Topic: higher ed

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November 30, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Guest: Why diversity matters in tech and engineering

Susannah Malarkey

Susannah Malarkey

Diversity in our technology and engineering workforce is a hot topic, and with good reason. Washington has the highest concentration of science, tech, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs in the country, but the lack of women and people of color in this sector is glaringly obvious.

It isn’t enough to simply complain. We must tackle the root causes of this issue, not only for the good of individuals who will find livelihoods in this sector, but for our innovation-based industries as well.

Pursuing a career in STEM is a smart move for many students. These professions offer above-average pay and a range of fulfilling job opportunities. So why isn’t there more diversity? According to a study by the U.S. Census Department last year, African Americans hold only 6 percent of the jobs in these fields, and Hispanics only 7 percent — numbers far below their representation in the overall workforce. Women hold only 26 percent of these jobs.

In order to grow our technical workforce, the talent pool from which STEM companies find their employees must grow much more diverse. As someone who works with leaders in the tech industry, I can report that CEOs believe that diversifying their workforces is not only the right thing to do, it is also seen as a business imperative.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion, Your voices | Topics: higher ed, STEM, Technology Alliance

November 28, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Seattle schools to consider delay on new graduation requirements

Seattle school leaders might soon delay new graduation requirements that would increase the number of credits a student needs to finish high school.

The Seattle school board plans to vote Wednesday on whether to tell the state they need two more years to meet the new requirements, passed by Washington lawmakers earlier this year.  Those requirements are supposed to go into effect starting with next fall’s incoming freshman class, and require students to earn 24 credits to graduate instead of 20.

Seattle can’t meet that mark by then, school board President Sharon Peaslee said in an interview Friday.

Many Seattle high schools operate on a six-period class schedule, she said, making 24 credits roughly the maximum amount a Seattle student can earn in his or her high school career. That means failing or dropping out of even one class would cause a student to not graduate on time, she said.

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Comments | Topics: graduation, graduation requirements, high school

October 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Tell a story about how you got into college at our Nov. 15 Storytellers event

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Do you have an interesting story to share about getting into college? Education Lab is recruiting current students and recent grads to share short, inspirational tales about how they made a successful transition to higher education.

Selected speakers will get coaching and appear at our Nov. 15 event, Storytellers: How I Got Into College, at the University of Washington.

To send us your pitch, call 206-464-2057 and tell us about an obstacle you overcame to get into college. Your recording should be no more than two minutes and include your full name, phone number and email address.

The deadline to call in your pitch is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3. We will follow up with you by Thursday, Nov. 6, if we are interested in your story.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

October 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

How I Got Into College: Students will share stories Nov. 15

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

Are you a student dreaming of a degree but wondering how to get there? A parent wondering how to help your child get into college?

Education Lab is partnering with the University of Washington’s Dream Project to present Storytellers: How I Got Into College. The event is a revival of an inspiring Storytellers program we hosted last spring at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

This time around, the event will take place Saturday, Nov. 15, in Mary Gates Hall auditorium on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Current students and recent grads will deliver powerful individual stories on the theme: “How I overcame an obstacle to get into college.”

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

October 7, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Common Core tests now a ticket out of college remedial classes

A new agreement among the state’s public colleges will raise the value of a couple of Washington’s high-school exams.

The new math and reading exams, which are called Smarter Balanced and will be given to all Washington 11th-graders this spring, will factor not just into whether students graduate, but whether they need to take remedial classes in college.

The new tests are designed to measure whether 11th graders are on track to meeting the new Common Core state standards  a set of learning goals that most states are starting to use. Students who score at the top two levels will be placed directly into college-level math and English when they enter any Washington public two- or four-year college.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: common core, higher ed, Smarter Balanced

October 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

College kids now: socially liberal gamers stressing about bucks

William L. Brown / Op Art

William L. Brown / Op Art

Millennials get a lot of grief  “self-involved” and “entitled” are among the adjectives frequently used  so it’s interesting to see how they view the rest of the world.

Since 1966, pollsters at UCLA have been recording the attitudes of incoming college freshmen across the country on a variety of topics, and last year’s crop revealed themselves to be more fiscally focused and socially liberal than their predecessors.

Nearly half of the 166,000 students surveyed said financial aid offers were “very important” in deciding where to enroll, the highest rate ever reported in The American Freshman.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: college, higher ed, millennials

September 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tacoma university offers more financial help to local students

A generation ago, the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma was the kind of liberal-arts college that attracted mostly local, home-grown students. But as it built a national reputation  and as the price of tuition rose  the school’s enrollment increasingly came from out of state. Today, 80 percent of UPS students come from outside Washington.

Now, UPS is looking to change that.

The university is making a new push into Tacoma public schools, whose students account for only about 2 percent of the university’s enrollment. UPS is promising that if they are admitted, the university will meet their financial need through a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work study.

UPS President Ron Thomas said the community has the perception that the college is difficult to get into, and too expensive. He said UPS has always tried to meet the financial need of students who couldn’t afford full tuition, so the campaign is in part an effort to make people more aware of financial aid resources.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, private colleges, Tacoma

September 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Sticker relief: First thoughts of a new public college parent

“Here’s the bill for Western,” I told my husband this summer, waving a piece of paper in the air. “Tuition and fees are going to be $8,965.”

“Per quarter?” he asked.

“No! We’re in the state school system now. That’s for a whole year.”

I’ve been covering higher education in Washington since 2011, and I’ve also experienced college as a parent through the filter of my daughter, who’s been at an out-of-state private college for the past three years. But this fall, my son becomes a freshman at Western Washington University, and for the first time I’m the parent of a student in the system I’ve been writing about.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Annals of a college parent, higher ed, Western Washington University

September 9, 2014 at 9:48 AM

U.S. News: UW ranks 14th among public national universities

Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2008.

Aerial view of the UW campus in Seattle. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times 2008.

The University of Washington went up a few places in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best colleges and universities in the country, reaching 48th place among all national universities. Among public national universities, it ranked 14th.

Last year, the UW was ranked 52nd among national universities.

Washington State University, which was ranked 128th last year, fell 10 places, to 138th.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: college rankings, higher ed, UW

September 8, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Excellent Sheep? Author says higher education system is broken

A new book questioning whether an education at one of the country’s elite colleges prepares students to find true meaning in their lives is getting a lot of buzz in education circles this fall.

“Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life,” by William Deresiewicz, argues that the nation’s elite colleges don’t promote intellectual curiosity, and leave students without a sense of purpose, unwilling to take a chance on pursuing their passions and largely all pursuing the same high-paying but soul-sucking jobs  in finance, or as a consultant.

A Hungarian shepherd drives a herd of sheep near Hortobagy, a village 183 kilometers east of Budapest. Photo by Zsolt Czegledi/European Press Association.

A shepherd drives a herd of sheep near Hortobagy, Hungary. Photo by Zsolt Czegledi/European Press Association.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: college, excellent sheep, higher ed

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