Wikimedia User: lecroitg / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon’s scores on the SAT college entrance exam continue to outpace the national average. More Oregon students are taking the SAT college entrance exam, and scores continue to outpace the national average. The context for Tuesday's scores is complicated.

Alberto G. / Flickr

Parents in Washington state may notice another measurement along with their students’ state test scores. The student growth percentile (SGP) is meant to compare a child’s learning to their peers, but critics say it may not work.

It’s back to school time. It was also back to court Wednesday for lawyers in an ongoing school funding lawsuit in Washington state.

Just as the school year begins, the Washington state Supreme Court will get an update Wednesday on school funding efforts in the state legislature. Tuesday, a panel of lawmakers got an earful.

Now that an initiative that aims to increase Oregon's high school graduation rate has qualified for the ballot, backers are rolling out details of their campaign.

Alberto G. / FLICKR


Public comment opens this week on federal education rules that could affect everything from money for Oregon schools to the role of standardized tests.

Students and parents with kids soon heading to a state college or university have reason to pay attention to the Washington and Idaho legislatures this coming month.

If you want to go to college to learn how to design, build, fly or fix a drone, your time has come. Many institutions of higher learning around the Northwest are recognizing that unmanned aircraft could become a key technology of the future.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

Many Washington students are graduating high school with little to no idea about how to handle their money. Experts say that could lead students down a path of debt and stress. That’s why some people are trying to teach high school students better ways to deal with personal finances now.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr

The State Supreme Court is ratcheting up pressure on the legislature to fix problems with how the state funds public schools.  Justices have announced they’ll fine the state $100,000 a day until lawmakers lay out a complete plan to close the McCleary school funding case. 

Lawmakers in Olympia are in a special session to finalize the Washington state budget. Some teachers’ unions have decided to walk out for a day to appeal for more money in the K-12 budget.

Credit Franz Jantzen / Supreme Court Website


Washington lawmakers are already days into a special session, but they still need to deal with a court mandate to fund basic education.

Lawmakers met today to discuss options. They’re torn between competing plans to give more funding to schools.

In the McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature was not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to fully fund education.Lawmakers need to find a way to do that before 2019. 

Republican Senator Bruce Dammeier says lawmakers have unfairly burdened school districts.

Benjamin Chun / Flickr

The top education official in Washington State said teachers could face investigation and schools could lose funding - if the number of students refusing standardized tests keeps rising. 

Washington superintendent Randy Dorn doesn't like the phrase "opt-out."

"It's really a refusal to take an assessment that's required by the federal government," Dorn said.

He said low participation rates could cost schools federal money.

Idaho Governor Signs Bill To Boost Teacher Pay

Apr 2, 2015

Idaho teachers could start seeing raises as soon as next fall after Governor Butch Otter signed a pay plan known as the “career ladder” into law Thursday.

Idaho school districts say the state needs to offer better pay if it’s going to attract qualified teachers -- or keep the ones it has.

Wikimedia Commons

Idaho parents who don’t want their child to have to pass the state’s standardized test for graduation would be able to opt-out under a bill in the state Senate.

Students would instead be allowed to go through an alternative assessment developed by districts.

Republican Senator Steven Thayne is sponsoring the bill.

“There are some parents that are very concerned by more and more testing. And one reason we’re bringing this bill forward is we’re trying to give a voice to those parents who have concerns,” Thayne said.

albertogp123 / Flickr

Oregon's House Education Committee heard testimony Monday on high-stakes exams. A work group of teachers and administrators has recommended less emphasis on end-of-year state exams and more focus on classroom-level assessments.

One House bill would delay using the new "Smarter Balanced" exam results to judge schools and teachers. Another would make it easier to opt out of the tests. Portland parent and teacher Elizabeth Thiel argued that bill should go further - and prohibit sanctions against schools like hers, where students are opting out.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Starting salary for Idaho teachers is lower than in Washington, Oregon, and three other surrounding states. Superintendents in Idaho border towns say that’s left them with shortages. Idaho lawmakers in both parties want to raise teacher salaries during the legislative session.

The Graduate Teaching Fellows at the University of Oregon called off their strike today after reaching a tentative agreement with administration. Bargaining teams worked through the night. the GTFs were on strike for 8 days.

Rick Obst / Flickr

It's finals week at the University of Oregon and Graduate Teaching Fellows are in their second week of a labor strike.

University of Oregon spokeswoman Julie Brown said with Graduate Teaching Fellows on strike the school is giving faculty options for administering finals and giving grades.

"In some cases, finals are continuing as have been planned all term. In other situations, students may have the option to be able to take the grade earned on coursework to date," Brown said.

HBarrison / Flickr

The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday regarding the constitutionality of the voter-approved charter school law.

The primary issue in the case is whether certain tax dollars can go to the privately-run but publicly-funded schools.

State law dictates that certain funding is only for so-called “common schools” - traditionally, K-12 public schools.

Last year, a King County Superior Court judge ruled that funding charters with money that’s restricted for common schools was unconstitutional.

Adam850 / Wikimedia

The Graduate Teaching Fellows at the University of Oregon have issued a strike notice. Both parties must submit their final contract offers to the state mediator Monday.

The main sticking point is paid leave.

The strike notice places the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, or GTFF, and the University at an impasse, a 30 day cooling off period.

If a strike does take place, it would be a huge work stoppage at the University of Oregon. Joe Henry is a Graduate Student in Anthropology and the President of the GTFF, which has 1,500 members.

Christopher Sessums / Flickr

Wednesday night, the Spokane Public Schools board authorized a second charter school for the district: Spokane International Academy. The board approved its first charter school Pride Prep in January.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It’s a showdown between the state of Washington’s legislative and judicial branches. The Supreme Court will consider Wednesday whether to penalize the state for not complying with a 2012 ruling on school funding. 

U.S. Army RDECOM / Flickr

Most of the public schools in Washington state have to send letters home to families notifying them that their children’s school is failing to meet state standards.

Rob Manning / EarthFix

It's three weeks until school starts in Oregon. It can't come too soon for parents who are struggling to keep their kids fed, supervised, and learning, over the summer.

OPB has been following a cohort of Oregon kids in the Class of 2025. They'll be in second grade soon. Rob Manning will visit with a few of those kids - as part of a broader look at what summer means for students in Oregon.

biologycorner / Flickr

This summer in Oregon, education leaders brought together teaching professors and school officials to improve teacher training. The June institute followed a national report, critical of training programs. And new teachers will soon be asked to pass a new standardized test. Think of it as a Common Core for teachers in training. Rob Manning has more.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

This is the season for summer concert lineups. But there’s another lineup coming this fall - the one on your ballot. Thursday is the deadline for initiative sponsors in Washington and Oregon to submit their petitions to qualify for the November election. Pot legalization and GMO-labeling are among the issues likely to make the ballot in Oregon. In Washington, it’s guns, money and class-size.

Michael Clapp / OPB

It's summer vacation for students - and teachers - across the country. Administrators often use the summer to take a bigger look at how schools are doing, and that can mean a critical look at teachers. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning looks at evaluations for current teachers - and the role of student test scores in those evaluations.

dcJohn / Flickr

About 30 high school freshmen and sophomores who attended a charter school in eastern Idaho may have to repeat classes, or even an entire grade, next year. A state commission found their fledgling school failed to measure up.