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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U-Hi teacher named award finalist

In Mike Conklin’s pre-calculus class Wednesday, students were learning about piecewise functions – a way of calculating energy use in a building, the rate of water filling a bathtub or the altitude of an airplane using multiple formulas and graphs. “It’s a very new concept for them,” Conklin said. It’s a relatively early class, but the students are all paying attention.

AP-NORC Poll: Parents back high-stakes testing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Often criticized as too prescriptive and all-consuming, standardized tests have support among parents, who view them as a useful way to measure both students' and schools' performances, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. Most parents also say their own children are given about the right number of standardized tests, according to the AP-NORC poll.

Union calls for teacher certification exam

WASHINGTON (AP) — Schoolteachers should have to pass a stringent exam — much like the bar exam for lawyers — before being allowed to enter the profession, one of the nation's largest teachers unions said Monday. The American Federation of Teachers called for a tough new written test to be complimented by stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs, such as a minimum grade point average.

5 states to increase class time in some schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states announced Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

5 states to increase class time in some schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states were to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

It’s something new

Kindergartner Kimora Estrada said her favorite part of her school lunch is “when I eat pineapple.” In fact, there was a large scoop of pineapple chunks on her tray Wednesday. At another table, some kindergartners were trying kiwis for the first time.

Huge grant brings university students to Holmes Elementary

A $500,000 state grant will benefit those studying to become teachers at Whitworth and Gonzaga universities, as well as teachers and students at Holmes Elementary School in West Central. Spokane Public Schools staff developed the grant proposal together with education faculty at Gonzaga and Whitworth. It’s the first time a Collaborative Schools for Innovation and Success grant has been awarded to a Spokane school.

A public law school faces trial over liberal bias

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Praised by colleagues as smart, friendly and passionate about the law, Teresa Wagner was a leading candidate when two jobs came open to teach writing at the University of Iowa law school. An alumnus, she was already working part-time at its writing center and received positive reviews from students and a key committee. But after she interviewed with the faculty in 2007, one job went to someone without teaching experience and the other wasn't filled. She was passed over for other jobs in the coming years. She now says she was blackballed because of her legal work against abortion rights and will take her complaint to a jury this week in a case that is being closely watched in higher education because of longstanding allegations of political bias at left-leaning law schools.

Chicago schools CEO replaced after 17 months

CHICAGO (AP) — Just three weeks after the resolution of Chicago's first teachers' strike in a quarter-century, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to improve schools face more upheaval with the resignation of the public school system's CEO. Emanuel and Jean-Claude Brizard — who announced he was stepping down Thursday after just 17 months in charge of Chicago Public Schools — said the decision was mutual and arose after questions about Brizard's management became a distraction from school reform.

Chicago schools CEO replaced after 17 months

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard stepped down Thursday after a little more than a year in the post and just three weeks after the school district endured its first strike by teachers in 25 years. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who named Brizard to the post 17 months ago, said the resignation was a mutual decision that arose after questions about Brizard's management became a distraction to efforts to improve the schools. Emanuel said the decision was made during "two to three separate conversations" in recent days.

Chicago teachers vote to approve 3-year contract

CHICAGO (AP) — Members of the Chicago Teachers Union overwhelmingly have approved a new three-year contract that includes pay increases and a new evaluation system, union officials announced late Wednesday. Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said the contract was ratified by 79 percent of the union's membership. The contact was ratified by a vote Tuesday of 16,428 to 4,337. The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet later this month.

School strike first of many challenges for Emanuel

CHICAGO (AP) — The grueling teachers strike is over. Now comes the hard part for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As he pushes ahead on his promise to reform the city's underperforming classrooms, he faces several daunting tasks: slashing an estimated $1 billion budget deficit, confronting a woefully underfunded employee pension system and finding money for the pay raises that settled the first teacher walkout in a generation. He hasn't ruled out school closings and tax increases, both of which would be hugely unpopular.

After teachers strike, doubts about implications

CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel secured an extension of Chicago's school day and empowered principals to hire the teachers they want. Teachers were able to soften a new evaluation process and win some job protections. As students returned to the classroom Wednesday after a seven-day teachers strike, both sides found reasons to celebrate victory. But neither the school-reform movement nor organized labor achieved the decisive breakthrough it had sought. And whether the implications extend beyond Chicago may depend on the next case having a similar cast of characters and political pressures.

Chicago students return to class as strike ends

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago children returned to school Wednesday, less than a day after teachers ended a seven-day strike that disrupted the daily routines of thousands of families and made the city a flashpoint in the debate over union rights and efforts to overhaul the nation's public education system. For Erica Weiss, the resumption of classes spared her from having to take her 6-year-old daughter to work.

Chicago students returning to class as strike ends

CHICAGO (AP) — Students prepared to return to class Wednesday after Chicago teachers voted to suspend their first strike in a quarter century, shutting 350,000 children out of school, disrupting the daily routines of thousands of families and making the city's schoolyards a flashpoint for union rights and public school reforms across the country. Union delegates voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to suspend the walkout after discussing a proposed contract settlement with the nation's third largest school district. They said the contract wasn't perfect but included enough concessions — including on new teacher evaluations, recall rights for laid-off teachers and classroom conditions — to go back to work while they prepare to put it to a vote by more than 26,000 teachers and support staff in coming weeks.

Union head: Chicago students in class Wednesday

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's teachers union leader says hundreds of thousands of students will return to classrooms Wednesday after delegates overwhelmingly voted to suspend a seven-day teachers strike. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told a Tuesday evening news conference that the union's House of Delegates voted about 98 percent in favor of ending the strike after hearing details of a tentative contract agreement. She says some members remained unhappy with some of the economic terms of the proposal.

Chicago teachers vote to return to classroom

CHICAGO (AP) — Teachers agreed Tuesday to return to the classroom after more than a week on the picket lines in Chicago, ending a combative stalemate with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over evaluations and job security, two issues at the heart of efforts to reform the nation's public schools. Union delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike after discussing a proposed contract settlement that had been on the table for days. Classes were to resume Wednesday.