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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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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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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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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 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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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?

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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

November 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Your voices: Readers weigh pros and cons of letting kids skip school

We received many thoughtful responses to our Question of the Week regarding attendance and whether it’s OK for kids to occasionally miss school, even if they’re not ill. The question was tied to Thursday’s story about how two Seattle middle schools are emphasizing attendance in an effort to improve student performance.

Many respondents were quick to point out that some absences could be just as enriching as spending the day in school. Richard Stowell of Kenmore writes:

A good student should be allowed to take a break from school if he/she makes up classwork ahead and has school permission. Oftentimes students can learn valuable lessons from travel or other such activities.

Here is a selection of other responses. Some have been edited for length.

I allow my daughter, who is in ninth grade, to have one day per quarter to use at her discretion. It is her mental health day. With the amount of responsibilities she has in school and in out-of-school activities, I want to instill in her the value of taking care of herself and knowing that sometimes you just need a break. She is learning to identify for herself how to balance commitment and recognize her capacity.

—Petaki Cobell, Seattle

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: attendance, question of the week, your voices

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