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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: your voices

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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

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


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:


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)


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)


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

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…


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

May 17, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Tell us: How did you figure out which career was right for you?

Many students begin college not knowing what sort of career they’d like to pursue after graduation. Many schools, meanwhile, lack the resources to help them figure it out or direct them to the appropriate coursework.

To combat low degree completion rates, Walla Walla Community college, the focus of our front-page Sunday story, has implemented a system that helps students zero in on their interests and stick to a strict academic schedule so they can quickly earn the credentials they need.

Our question this week: How did you figure out which career you wanted to pursue, and how to get the necessary training? Was college a pivotal point for this decision making, or did the process continue after you graduated? If you did not attend college, how did you end up with the job that you have?


Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: Community colleges, higher ed, Walla Walla

May 15, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Your voices: Readers share views on direct instruction and Gildo Rey

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Thanks to the many readers who shared their thoughts about Auburn’s Gildo Rey Elementary, featured in an Education Lab story a few weeks ago, and the school’s use of a teaching technique known as direct or explicit instruction.

Many expressed strong support for direct instruction, and a number backed using a variety of techniques, which is really what Gildo Rey does.

Commenter Dorboln is one who expressed the latter:

The big issue in education, math in particular, is that everyone thinks you need to go 100% traditional or 100% inquiry, or believe the two are mutually exclusive, which they are not. You need to blend the two.

Blue N Green agreed:

It’s tempting to look at education as a single problem in search of one assembly-line solution, but it simply isn’t and never will be. Kudos to these teachers for finding the approach that works FOR THEIR KIDS. This does not mean it works everywhere, always.


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: direct instruction, Gildo Rey Elementary, Jack Schneider

March 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Your voices: An hour or less of homework? Yeah, right!

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

An hour or less. A new report from the Brown Center on Education Policy has concluded that’s the amount of time the typical student spends on homework each night.

Many local parents would beg to differ. When we asked them how much homework typically goes on in their household each night, most said the amount was far greater. Here are some excerpts:

My daughter is a junior in the IB program at Inglemoor High School. She has four hours each night of homework and typically spends at least 12 hours over a weekend on school.

My son is a seventh grader and has about one hour each night of math, plus about 30 minutes in his other classes.

—Kelly Richards, Bothell


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

January 16, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Your voices: Readers on why they would — or wouldn’t — hire a high school droput

Our latest Question of the Week stemmed from Claudia Rowe’s Monday story about a Kent-based dropout re-engagement program called iGrad. We asked: “Would you hire a high school dropout?” and gave readers three options “yes,” “no” or “only if he or she had earned a GED or other equivalency.” We also required respondents to provide a reason for their answers.

Here is a sampling of the responses (some have been edited for length):

Everyone has different abilities and motivations. A high school diploma does not indicate either of these attributes. If an individual shows they can do the required tasks or can be trained to do so, then a diploma is moot.

—Dana Briggs, Kirkland

School is EASY. If they cannot finish school, they won’t make it in the real world.

—Warren Trout, Seattle


Comments | More in Opinion, Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: dropouts, igrad, your voices

December 2, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Your voices: Readers define ‘family engagement’

“Engagement” is a word that gets tossed around frequently in discussions surrounding K-12 education. But what exactly does it mean?

The National PTA recently highlighted the need for a common definition to the term on its website. We decided to pose the same question to Education Lab readers, but with an added challenge: Limit the definitions to no more than one full sentence. A selection of responses follows:

It would start with documented communication between the school and the parent.

—Charles R. Hoff, Kent

Family engagement simply means that families are active participants in their children’s education.

—Kezia Willingham, Seattle

An ongoing and purposeful, two-way, culturally appropriate relationship between schools and families resulting in positive academic, as well as peripheral effects for students.

—Joel Domingo, Seattle


Comments | More in Opinion, Your voices | Topics: parent engagement, question of the week, your voices

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