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

Topic: Obama

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July 4, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Mrs. Obama: School counselor among country’s toughest jobs

First Lady Michelle Obama addresses members of the American School Counselor Association during their annual conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday. AP photo.

First Lady Michelle Obama addresses members of the American School Counselor Association during their annual conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday. Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / The Associated Press.

School counselors — that oft-maligned group expected to perform emotional triage, academic guidance and college advising for millions of students every year — are attracting increased attention from some pretty high-profile folks.

First Lady Michelle Obama noted earlier this month:

While we talk a great deal about the role of teachers and principals and parents in preparing kids for higher education, often, engaged school counselors … are the deciding factor in whether young people attend college or not.

She reeled off a typical counselor’s day: Perhaps ministering to a girl who’s been bullied, then dealing with “the kid who’s been kicked out of every class.” Later, meeting with a distrustful parent and finally, trying to convince a promising student who refuses to apply to college, that “she has what it takes to succeed in life.”


Comments | More in News | Topics: counselors, Michelle Obama, Obama

January 28, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Education highlights from Obama’s State of the Union address

Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images

Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images

The following are some education-related highlights from Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, delivered Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol. The excerpts are from a full text version of the president’s prepared remarks, as distributed by the Associated Press.


Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working.


Comments | More in News | Topics: early ed, higher ed, Obama

January 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM

State college presidents offer up ideas at White House summit

The Obama administration put the spotlight Thursday on helping more low-income students go to college, and three Washington state college presidents were among the invited guests who shared lessons from their campuses.

Amy Goings

Amy Goings

Amy Goings, president of Kirkland’s Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT), discussed the way the college — one of the state’s 34 public community and technical colleges — has redesigned developmental courses to make them more relevant to students, based on the career path they’re pursuing.

Developmental courses are sometimes called remedial courses because they are taken by students who don’t have the skills yet to do college-level work

An example of how LWIT has redesigned a course to make it more relevant: In the auto repair technician program, a math instructor teaches math skills by using problems drawn right from the shop floor — the kinds that students will have to solve routinely as auto technicians. “He (the instructor) even shies away from the term ‘math,'” she said.


Comments | More in News | Topics: higher ed, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Obama