Youth & Education | KNKX

Youth & Education

Stories and features about education in the Pacific Northwest. Including stories from Washington state and the United States. 

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The University of Washington ranks among the top universities in the country in international student enrollment. Now the university is working to inform its 8,900 international students about a recent policy change by the Trump administration with big potential consequences.

screenshot of ERDI web site

 (Updated at 10:55 am on Aug. 17, 2018, to clarify that the Kent School District has a policy requiring that employees inform their supervisors in writing of potential conflicts of interest.)

As fall approaches, families are starting to shop for school supplies including notebooks and markers. But increasingly, the work of school is done digitally – from online homework apps to web portals for accessing grades.

District superintendents play an important role in deciding what software to buy, and because of that, education technology companies look for ways to get their attention.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The long-running McCleary lawsuit is over now that the state Legislature approved big changes in how the state funds public education. But school districts and teachers’ unions across the state are now trying to figure out what that means for salaries.

Scott A. Miller / AP Images for National Council on Aging and Sanofi Pasteur

Across the state, school district officials are meeting at the bargaining table with teachers’ unions. In Seattle, teachers who work as substitutes said they’ve been largely shut out of the district’s health insurance plan and they’re pushing to have better health coverage included in the new contract.

Sy Bean for the Hechinger Report

Washington schools may get a boost in funding for career and technical education classes. That’s because Congress has voted to reauthorize the Perkins Act, which spells out gradual increases in federal dollars for vocational education through the year 2024. 

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has come out strongly against a proposed rule from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that addresses debt relief for students defrauded by colleges. Murray said it tilts too far in favor of schools, especially for-profit colleges, and would leave students in financial jeopardy.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The number of visas issued to international students who want to study in the United States has dropped for two straight years. That’s hurt colleges that have helped mitigate declines in domestic student enrollment by recruiting abroad, including some community colleges in the Puget Sound region.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Seattle is well known across the country for cancer treatment and research. For three weeks this summer, 24 secondary school science teachers from across the state are getting to tap into that expertise through a program called the Science Education Partnership at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  

Northwest Railway Museum

Museums are increasingly making accommodations for people with special needs, including children on the autism spectrum. Families with young train enthusiasts will want to take note that this Sunday in Snoqualmie, the Northwest Railway Museum will run a “sensory-friendly train” as part of its Day Out With Thomas event.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington lawmakers passed legislation two years ago to limit suspensions and expulsions in public education in response to data showing that some groups of students, including African-American and Native American children, are disciplined more frequently than others.

Now some advocates, including the ACLU of Washington, are raising concerns about the state superintendent’s timeline for implementing new discipline rules.

Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

The mission of public schools is to provide an education to all students, but in many cases they’ve also become a de facto social safety net.

The Seattle Times reported in a recent feature that schools in Vancouver, Washington, have become a model for providing help to students and families in need. In response to increasing poverty among its students, the district has created family-community resource centers in more than half its schools.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Across the state, teachers’ unions are trying to negotiate pay increases for their members. At the same time, a conservative group is telling teachers they can get that extra compensation without paying any union dues.

Teachers in the Puget Sound region have received mailings recently from the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation telling them they don’t have to financially support a union.

woodleywonderworks / Flickr

With kids out of school, summer can be a challenging time for parents. And if you’re facing tantrums or defiant behavior from your children, the author of a new book says you’re not alone.

The book is called The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever – And What To Do About It. Author Katherine Reynolds Lewis said there’s scientific research to show that kids nowadays are less capable of regulating their own behavior.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

School is out, but this is a busy time for school districts and educators at the bargaining table. The Washington Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, said this year is particularly active for negotiations because of additional funding from the state legislature to satisfy the McCleary school-funding lawsuit.

U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

The Washington legislature passed a law earlier this year to require universal screening of kids for the learning disability known as dyslexia. That screening requirement won’t kick in until fall of 2021, but the state is now seeking applicants for a dyslexia advisory council. The deadline to apply is Thursday.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

This week, a new superintendent took the helm of the Seattle school district. Denise Juneau has spelled out her plans for getting to know the district and meeting with everyone from city leaders to families to students.

She’s also met with former superintendent, Larry Nyland, who headed up the district for four years. He is now moving into what he calls “semi-retirement,” in which he’ll continue to do some educational consulting work.

Nyland took time during his last day as superintendent to speak with KNKX about an issue close to his heart: the need to help improve outcomes for kids of color and low-income students.

In the U.S., more than 4 out of 10 undergraduate college students are above the age of 25. When people talk about these adult students, you usually hear words like "job skills" and "quickest path to a degree."

But for more than four decades, a special program in Washington state has sought to offer much more than that.

photo courtesy of Sharon Curley

Graduating from high school is an accomplishment for everyone who receives a diploma. But some students face bigger hurdles making it to that milestone.

The graduation rate for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in Washington state in the 2016-17 school year was 60 percent compared with 79 percent for all kids.

Kids in foster care have an even lower graduation rate. In the 2014-15 school year, the most recent statistics available, only 43 percent of students living in foster care graduated in four years.

But one young woman from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe not only beat the odds – she graduated at the top of her class.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

A previous version of this story was inadvertently published early Wednesday. The text of that story, which contained a factual error, has been deleted. That story incorrectly said students at Denny International Middle School had been pulled out of social studies class for math tutoring. This story reflects the correction and adds comments from Denny's principal.

Representatives in the Seattle teachers’ union have voted to call for a two-year moratorium on standardized tests, building on a history in Seattle of protesting over this issue.

The Real Estreya / Flickr

Scientists have been trying to tease out what happens in the brain when a kid is learning something new. At the University of Washington, researchers have just published their findings on what happens to children with dyslexia when they get intensive help with reading.

What should a 21st century public school system look like? Washington’s superintendent of public instruction says it’s time to have that conversation now that the state’s decade-long school funding legal fight is over.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

There are few topics in our country as politically charged as guns. But one Seattle doctor has been visiting schools to educate students about gun safety as a public health issue instead of a political one.

Kyle Stokes / KNKX

It’s graduation season, and that means high school seniors have reached a significant milestone. But a new report says not enough of them in Washington state are going on to postsecondary education.

Courtesy of The Evergreen State College

This Friday, seniors at The Evergreen State College in Olympia will graduate. That’s of course a happy occasion, but the campus is also in the midst of sizeable budget cuts because of a projected drop in enrollment.



Jamie Valadez says Klallam is a living language. You understand what she means by the time you’ve spent just a few minutes with her.


Ashley Gross / KNKX

Kids in the Puget Sound region are counting down the days until summer vacation, but one middle school librarian in West Seattle has been working all year to try to get students to spend some of that time reading.

courtesy of Lowell Elementary PTA

The school year is winding down and this is the time when many parent teacher student associations are making their budgets for the fall. Some PTAs in Seattle are choosing to share some of the funds they raise with schools that have fewer resources.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

University of Washington teaching assistants and other academic student employees have approved a new contract and canceled plans for a strike.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Students who work at the University of Washington as teaching assistants, research assistants, readers, graders and tutors are planning to go on strike starting this Saturday, a move that threatens to disrupt final exams and delay grades.

King County has scored a win in U.S. District Court against the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The case revolves around the department’s decision to cut short a grant to King County to research the effectiveness of its sexual-education curriculum.