education

A state panel will vote Thursday on Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s choice to oversee a dramatic shift in the way the state runs public education. The governor selected Rudy Crew after a nationwide search. Crew is the former head of public school districts in New York, Miami, Tacoma and elsewhere. The head of Oregon's largest teacher's union thinks it's a good choice.

Photo courtesy Oregon governor's office

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's pick for the state’s new education chief is so far winning praise from school leaders. But Rudy Crew’s lengthy career includes many clashes with local school officials. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports:

Kitzhaber wants Crew to be in charge of re-shaping the state's education system from pre-school through college. Crew has worked in some of the nation's largest school districts, such as New York, Miami and Tacoma. Crew says he knows he has a challenge ahead of him in Oregon.

Washington House of Representatives

Washington teachers are woefully underpaid. That’s the conclusion of a draft legislative task force report. Now a key Washington state lawmaker says teachers and other school employees deserve at least a cost of living pay raise next year.

Twelve years ago, Washington voters approved Initiative 732. It requires annual pay increases for K-12 employees. The initiative didn’t come with any funding. In recent years, because of the Great Recession the legislature has suspended those pay raises. But now state revenues are starting to recover. House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter says the state should make it a priority to ensure teacher pay keeps up with inflation.

Oregon Bans American Indian Sports Mascots In Schools

May 17, 2012
Photo Credit: Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Native American-themed sports mascots will no longer be allowed in Oregon public schools. That's the decision Thursday by the state Board of Education. The vote was 5 to 1.

Honorary Degree: What Is It Good For?

May 10, 2012
Photo credit: Helen Graham / Northwest News Network

At graduation ceremonies across the Northwest this spring, a handful of people will receive what are known as “honorary degrees.” Typically, they’re awarded to distinguished humanitarians, writers and entrepreneurs. But correspondent Jessica Robinson wanted to know what, if anything, you can actually do with an honorary degree.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

A group that's against logging on state owned forest lands drew a crowd of onlookers at the Oregon State Capitol Thursday morning. A member of Cascadia Forest Defenders climbed a flagpole and draped a large banner that read "Schools versus Trees? We want both!”

Photo credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Just in time for another anniversary of the catastrophic Mount St. Helens eruption, the U.S. Forest Service is reopening an architecturally striking visitor center. The Coldwater Ridge facility has been closed for the last four seasons. the center reopens next week with a new mission and purpose.

Graphic courtesy of Idaho State Board of Education

It didn’t take long for supporters of the University of Idaho to raise the flagship issue again at the meeting of the Idaho State Board of Education in Moscow Wednesday.

During Washington’s recent legislative session, lawmakers briefly considered a bill to bring back parole for prisoners. The measure failed to move out of committee. But supporters already plan to try again next year.

The sentence of ‘life without the possibility of parole’ is steadily on the rise in U.S. prisons. Here In Washington, nearly 600 prisoners are currently serving ‘life without’. Most of them will grow old and die behind bars. It’s a prospect that’s tough to fathom.

In this collaboration with the Seattle Times, we take a look at how some ‘lifers’ come to grips with this reality….and how they search for meaning in a situation most people see as hopeless. KUOW’s Liz Jones has our story from Monroe prison.

The job of recovering the largest ethics fine in Washington state history just got tougher. State officials have been unable to locate a former Evergreen State College professor who skipped out on his six-figure fine. Even though Jorge Gilbert's whereabouts are unknown, he managed to sell off his condominium in Olympia last week before the state could seize it.

Photo courtesy of KTEC / Northwest News Network

An over-enrolled technical high school opening for the first time this fall in north Idaho indicates an unmet hunger for practical job training. The mutli-district collaboration in Rathdrum doesn’t even have a roof yet, and enrollment already exceeds capacity. Now, the school is on the hunt for more instructors.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user Korribot / Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Teachers and Principals in Washington are going to get graded on a new four-tier evaluation system. That’s under a new law signed by Governor Chris Gregoire Thursday. It’ll judge teachers as unsatisfactory, basic, proficient or distinguished. The new rankings will replace the current pass/fail format. The change is estimated to cost $5.3 million , but Gregoire says it’s necessary.

Photo Source: Daily Evergreen

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that for the third year in a row there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of people taking part in militias and what it calls the American radical right. In a new report, the Center says the increase is linked to economic issues, conspiracy theories, and the election of Barak Obama as President.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation / U.S. Department of Transportation

Grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation will help fund ongoing studies looking at critical transportation issues in the Northwest.
Transportation issues affect all of us, whether it’s simply wondering why that red traffic light is blinking, or wondering why the commuter traffic is jammed up again.

Photo credit: Oregon Governors Office / Oregon Governors Office

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is keeping up the public pressure on lawmakers to pass some of his major policy proposals this session. For the second day in a row, the Democrat held a state capitol press conference to urge the legislature to pass bills that have been stuck in committee.

Photo courtesy University of Idaho

MOSCOW, Idaho -- University of Idaho President Duane Nellis says he’s disappointed in the decision made by the State Board of Education last week to remove the word ‘flagship’ from the university’s proposed mission statement. Northwest Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports.

Photo credit: Wikimedia User Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington State will apply for a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the state will ask to set its own standards for student achievement. From KUOW in Seattle, Ann Dornfeld reports.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington state senate has approved a new four-tier teacher evaluation system. The bill that passed Tuesday also creates a mechanism for firing under-performing teachers who don’t improve.

SEATTLE, Wash. - Many school districts are switching to electronic payment systems in their cafeterias. Parents can fund their kids’ accounts online, and even see what their kids are buying for lunch. But kids can also charge food when there’s no money in their accounts. Now Seattle Public Schools is trying to collect $12,000 in unpaid lunchroom debt. From KUOW in Seattle, Ann Dornfeld reports.

Photo by Wikimedia User Jay8g / Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – 41 states allow charter schools. But not Washington . Opponents in the legislature recently killed a bipartisan proposal to allow a limited number of under-performing schools to convert. But supporter of the idea haven’t given up. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

I Feel Better Now

Feb 7, 2012
Corinna Nicolaou / Northwest Public Radio

We all have our failures, the things we regret… and maybe don’t want anyone to know about. 

Northwest Public Radio commentator Corinna Nicolaou  talks about failing in her youth, and how that failure drove her to succeed.
 

You can read more of Corinna's commentary at her blog

Photo Source: University of Washington

This week, Washington state’s public university presidents met for a Seattle Town Hall discussion on the risks of continued cuts to higher education. The state now ranks 48th in per capita enrollment in public baccalaureate programs. Some say these cuts are permanently undermining our state economy and killing job creation.

Photo Source: Washington State University

Six college presidents from across Washington state met in Seattle Wednesday night to discuss funding higher education. Northwest Public Radio’s Bryan Buckalew has more.

University of Oregon faculty members are collecting signatures in an effort to establish a union. It would be comprised of all full and part time professors and instructors -- about 2,000 members. KLCC's Rachael McDonald has more.

The group United Academics of the University of Oregon has been gathering support for the union effort this month. But it's a process that began in the fall according to Michael Dreiling, an Associate Professor of Sociology.

Another Believer / Wikimedia Commons

University of Oregon faculty members are collecting signatures in an effort to establish a union. It would be comprised of all full and part time professors and instructors -- about 2,000 members. KLCC's Rachael McDonald has more.

The group United Academics of the University of Oregon has been gathering support for the union effort this month. But it's a process that began in the fall according to Michael Dreiling, an Associate Professor of Sociology.

Wash. Lawmakers Consider Budgeting Education First

Jan 30, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For years, Republicans in the Washington legislature have demanded that state lawmakers vote on the education budget first. Democrats have generally rejected that idea. But this week, for the first time, a “fund education first” proposal will get a public hearing. Azusa Uchikura has more from Olympia.

What’s fueling the decision to consider the education budget first is a ruling earlier this month by the Washington Supreme Court. In McCleary v. Washington, the justices said state lawmakers are not adequately funding education.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – For years, Republicans in the Washington legislature have demanded that state lawmakers vote on the education budget first. Democrats have generally rejected that idea. But this week, for the first time, a “fund education first” proposal will get a public hearing. Azusa Uchikura has more from Olympia.

What’s fueling the decision to consider the education budget first is a ruling earlier this month by the Washington Supreme Court. In McCleary v. Washington, the justices said state lawmakers are not adequately funding education.

Miners’ Prospects Reverse Of Economic Downturn

Jan 25, 2012
Wikimedia user: Plazak / Wikimedia Commons

SILVER VALLEY, Idaho - They say the days when you could go from high school to a high-paying, blue collar job are long gone. But there are places in the Northwest where those days still exist -- that is, if you’re willing to work a mile underground.

For gold and silver miners, it looks like boom times right now. Rising salaries, more job opportunities. Even a recent layoff in north Idaho doesn't look like other layoffs. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has this story on a job that's seeing the reverse side of the economic downturn.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Enough school districts have signed on, so Washington will submit an application for federal Race to the Top dollars. The governor made that announcement. All but 44 of Washington's 295 districts are on board. Race to the Top is President Obama's incentive program to spur education reform. The next question is whether Washington has a shot at winning the nationwide competition. Lisa Macfarlane  is with the non-profit League of Education Voters. She says Washington started out a dark horse in the race.

Eugene, Ore.- Representatives from the US Department of Agriculture will visit two Eugene, Oregon school districts next week. Bethel and 4J were chosen along with a dozen other districts across the nation as models for their farm to school programs.

Farm to School teaches students about local food. Megan Kemple is Farm to School Coordinator with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition. She says many children don't know where their food comes from.

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