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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: round-up

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October 22, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Round-up: Report finds academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill, short tenure common for schools chiefs

Report reveals academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill (The New York Times): An internal investigation by the University of North Carolina has uncovered new details in an academic scandal that first came to light three years ago. According to the report, two faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill ran a “shadow curriculum” within the school’s African and Afro-American Studies department and awarded unearned grades to student athletes for nearly 20 years.

Role of curriculum is a sticking point on pre-K plans (KPLU): Curriculum is key to a “high-quality” pre-K program, say backers of Proposition 1B, the city-sponsored preschool proposal. Officials say play would have to be a central component of programs that receive city funding — but such a mandate rubs many existing preschool instructors the wrong way.

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October 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Round-up: Private tutors return to local districts, quality of words key to language skills

Federally-funded tutoring returns to Pierce County districts (The News-Tribune): Students at dozens of schools in Pierce County will qualify for free private tutoring following the loss of Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver. The programs are scheduled to being in November, and hundreds of families in Tacoma Public Schools have already signed up, although response has been slower in some suburban districts.

Quality of words key to kids’ language development (The New York Times): The quality of verbal interaction between parents and young children is more important than the quantity of words spoken, according to an academic study presented at the White House last week. UW researcher Patricia K. Kuhl, one of the study’s authors, says she is worried that messages like “close the word gap” could oversimplify what needs to be done to prevent poorer children from lagging behind their more affluent peers.

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October 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Round-up: Janitor says 9 had access to test booklets, magazine names ‘America’s worst colleges’

Janitor says 9 people had access to Beacon Hill tests: The saga of suspicious tests at Beacon Hill International School continues, with a janitor reporting that nine people had keys to a closet where the exam booklets were stored. Seattle Public Schools has not commented on issues surrounding access to the tests.

D.C. magazine picks ‘America’s worst colleges’ (NPR): Washington Monthly has taken a different approach to the traditional college rankings list. Taking into account rates for tuition, graduation and student debt, the magazine has assembled several different lists of schools it’s labeled the “worst” in the country.

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October 14, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Round-up: Poll shows I-1351 with 42-point lead, UW trustee dinner meetings draw criticism

New poll shows class-size initiative with 42-point lead: I-1351, the statewide initiative that would reduce K-12 class sizes, is favored by 66 percent of respondents in a Elway Poll of 500 registered voters. Education reporter John Higgins wrote about the initiative’s cost and other concerns over the weekend.

UW dinner meetings draw criticism: A lawsuit filed by a small animal-rights group has raised questions about the University of Washington’s practice of hosting trustee dinner meetings at the president’s residence two miles south of campus. Kirkland City Council member Toby Nixon, who serves as president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, says the meetings are “on the hairy edge of compliance” with the state’s Open Public Meetings Act.

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October 13, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Round-up: Most I-1351 jobs would not go to teachers, pre-K proposals square off on ballot

Most new jobs under I-1351 would not go to teachers: Initiative 1351 would lower class sizes in grades K-12 and add approximately 25,000 new jobs across the state. But only about 7,400 of those positions would go to classroom teachers, with the remainder reserved for principals, nurses, counselors and other support staff.

Pre-K proposals square off on November ballot: Seattle voters will choose between two early-learning measures this November. Proposition No. 1A is focused on improving the current preschool set-up, whereas Proposition No. 1B calls for a four-year property-tax levy to pay for a pilot program.

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October 9, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Round-up: U.S. News corrects ranking error, Seattle kids get to taste-test new lunch items

Survey finds most superintendents support Common Core (The Washington Post): A recent survey from the Center for Education Policy finds most school district leaders support Common Core, but a majority also said they are concerned about finding enough time and resources to properly implement the new standards. More than 200 superintendents participated in the survey.

Errors in data for U.S. News rankings (The Chronicle of Higher Education): Two colleges have advised U.S. News & World Report that they submitted incorrect figures for the 2015 “Best Colleges” ranking. One of the schools, Lindenwood University in Missouri, was added to the “unranked” category as a result of the inaccuracy.

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October 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Round-up: Settlement reached in Garfield field-trip case, teachers pay most of McCleary bill

Settlement reached in Garfield field-trip case: Seattle Public Schools today announced a $700,000 settlement between the district and parents of a girl who said she was raped on an overnight Garfield High School field trip in 2012. School officials did not admit any wrongdoing in the case but have revised their field-trip policies.

Teachers pay most of McCleary bill (AP): Thus far, the McCleary school-funding case has cost the plaintiffs about $4 million in attorney’s fees. A significant chunk of that money has come from the state teachers’ union.

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October 2, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Round-up: Portland considers penalizing low-diversity schools, Denver history debacle up for vote

Denver history changes could face vote at Thursday meeting (AP): Protests and walk-outs over a changed history curriculum at a school district outside Denver could culminate in a vote at a school board meeting tonight. The Jefferson County school board voted Sept. 19 to form a committee to examine whether the district would change its Advanced Placement history curriculum to exclude material that would “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Portland considers penalizing choice schools over lack of diversity (The Oregonian): An advisory committee tasked with balancing enrollment demographics at Portland’s neighborhood schools is examining how so-called focus option schools may be drawing more white children and contributing to lower enrollment at high-diversity schools. The group’s recommendations call for the school board to set diversity benchmarks for the choice schools and remove their focus programs if they fail to meet the targets.

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October 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Round-up: State withholds funds from Seattle special ed, feds issue new equity guidelines

State withholds federal funds from Seattle’s special-ed program:  The state’s special-education director, Doug Gill, has informed Seattle Public Schools it is now a “high risk” recipient of federal dollars and will receive less funding while it continues to face a host of management and compliance problems in its special-education program. The state is withholding about $3 million of the $10.6 million the district was supposed to receive for special ed this school year.

Feds to announce new guidelines on education equity (The New York Times): The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education has released a 37-page document intended to ensure racial minorities have access to strong teachers, advanced classes and quality extra-curricular activities. Federal data show two-thirds of black students attend a high school that offers calculus classes, compared to 81 percent of white students and 87 percent of Asian-American students.

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September 30, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Round-up: 2 more charter schools set for approval, Md. teachers ‘warehoused’ on paid leave

Two more charter schools set for approval next week (AP): A statewide commission is expected to OK two new charter schools at a meeting in Yakima. One is a high school and middle school located in Seattle; the other is an elementary school in Sunnyside.

Maryland teachers ‘warehoused’ during misconduct investigations (The Baltimore Sun): A Baltimore Sun investigation finds teachers in several counties are commonly sent to warehouses while they are on paid administrative leave. In addition to the accused teacher’s salary, taxpayers must also foot the bill for a substitute teacher while districts conduct misconduct investigations, which can take more than a year to complete.

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