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What Good Preschool Looks Like: Snapshots From 4 States

NPR – Cory Turner

“A new report, out today, provides 186 pages of answers to one of the toughest questions in education: What does it take to get preschool right? Parents and politicians alike want to know. States are spending roughly $7 billion this year on early childhood education, despite the fact that there are more cautionary tales — like this one from Tennessee — than success stories. Today’s release from The Learning Policy Institute, “The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States,” helps balance the preschool debate by highlighting a handful of states that appear to be getting pre-K right: Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.”(more)

1 in 6 Washington Students Chronically Absent, Late, Data Shows

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Recently released data from the Superintendent of Public Instruction suggest that 16% of all students in Washington state are chronically absent from school, having missed at least 18 days of instruction, or 10% of the school year, in 2015. Chronic absenteeism is one of the key factors when it comes to whether a child will learn to read on time or graduate from high school. The new data finds one out of every six students in the state was chronically absent last year.”(more)

NASA-funded consortium to support science education in Washington, Oregon and Montana

University of Washington Today – Hannah Hickey

“A new program based at the University of Washington will bring together educational institutions, K-12 teachers and informal education organizations to inspire, teach and recruit the next generation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics…“The goal is to create a virtual NASA hub in the Northwest to provide excellence in the teaching of STEM disciplines, from middle school to high school, and provide a conduit for students from across the region, including from underserved and underrepresented groups, to move into STEM careers,” said principal investigator Robert Winglee, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences.”(more)

The Fate of Their Schools Uncertain, Washington Charter Families Weather an Anxious Holiday

The 74 Million – Kate Stringer

“Most students with winter break homework spend as long as possible ignoring it. But during the first week of her December vacation, Victoria Johnson, a ninth-grader at Summit Sierra in Seattle, was already locked in her room crafting a stock market portfolio for class. “She loves where she is,” Victoria’s mother, Natalie Johnson, said of Summit Sierra. “Who says that? ‘God mom, I wish Christmas (break) was only one week.’” Victoria returns to the classroom Tuesday. But unlike traditional public school students, the high school freshman and her roughly 1,300 peers in Washington state charter schools don’t know how long they’ll get to stay there. During the holidays and midpoint of the school year, this uncertainty has incubated a range of reactions from families: frustration, advocacy, educational opportunities and caution. After a September state Supreme Court decision ruled Washington’s charter schools unconstitutional, students and parents have been thrown into limbo land. Some 400 young people, parents and educators met with legislators and rallied in Olympia in late November, but the court declined to reconsider the case.”(more)

Into the woods: When preschoolers spend every class outdoors

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Mongeau

“Three-year-old Desi Sorrelgreen’s favorite thing about his preschool is “running up hills.” His classmate Stelyn Carter, 5, likes to “be quiet and listen to birds—crows, owls and chickadees,” as she put it. And for Joshua Doctorow, 4, the best thing about preschool just might be the hat (black and fuzzy, with flaps that come down over his ears) he loves to wear to class. All three children are students at Fiddleheads Forest School, where they spend four hours a day, rain or shine, in adjacent cedar grove “classrooms” nestled among the towering trees of the University of Washington Botanical Gardens. In its third year, the program is located less than seven miles from Microsoft, which means while some parents sit in front of computers all day inventing the digital future, the Fiddleheads kids are making letters out of sticks or carting rocks around in wheelbarrows.”(more)

Washington partners with U. of Texas to improve college math

The Seattle Times – Katherine Long

“Practically every week, Bill Moore reads another article that examines what amount, and type, of math that college students really need in order to get a degree. That’s why Moore, director of K-12 partnerships for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), is pleased that Washington recently became one of five new states to join a partnership with the University of Texas’s Dana Center to improve the state’s college math pathways. At the heart of that partnership is making sure college students are getting the type of math they need to be successful in their chosen major. The Dana Center’s New Mathways Project provides students with choices among several different courses, or course sequences, depending on their majors. Each path offers students rigorous mathematics relevant to their fields of study.”(more)