Weekly News Brief 8/27-9/2 School Delayed as Washington Teachers Strike Over Salaries | The School Shootings That Weren't

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School Delayed as Washington Teachers Strike Over Salaries – By Alexa Lardieri, U.S. News and World Report

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF students in southwest Washington missed their first day of school this week as teachers across several districts began what labor leaders are calling an "unprecedented" strike after contract negotiations failed.

Teachers and school administrators in Clark County have been in talks over salary increases all summer long in an effort to avoid strikes. However, failure to come to any agreement as of Thursday left about 80,000 students with no classes to attend, according to the Washington Education Association

Teachers in seven districts, six of which are in Clark County, began striking on Wednesday. The districts include Vancouver, Evergreen, Ridgefield, Hockinson, Battle Ground, Washougal and Longview, which is in Cowlitz County.

The teachers aren't the first in the country to strike in demand of increased salaries. Walkouts have also been seen in OklahomaWest Virginia and Arizona.

The association said its teachers have gone on strike because "school district superintendents refuse to negotiate fair pay." However, community support for the striking faculty is reportedly strong, "forcing superintendents in Vancouver and Washington to back off initial threats of legal action against their teachers."

Female, minority students took AP computer science in record numbers – By Ryan Suppe, USA Today

Female, black and Latino students took Advanced Placement computer science courses in record numbers, and rural student participation surged this year, as the College Board attracted more students to an introductory course designed to expand who has access to sought-after tech skills. 

This year, 135,992 students took advanced placement (AP) computer science exams, a 31 percent increase from last year, according to data from the College Board, the organization that administers standardized tests that help determine college entrances as well as AP courses

Females and under-represented minorities were among the fastest growing groups. African-American students taking AP computer science courses rose 44 percent to 7,301, Hispanic and Latino participation gained 41 percent to 20,954 and female participation rose 39 percent to 38,195, said Code.org, a nonprofit that advocates for implementing computer science programs in every American school.

Rural student participation also spiked. The number of rural students taking AP computer science exams jumped 42 percent to 14,184. 

 

Cities, towns across RI seek to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for school repairs – By Don McGowan and Walt Buteau, WPRI.com

Every voter in Rhode Island will be asked this November if they want to allow the state to borrow $250 million to assist with infrastructure improvements in schools across the state.

But voters in eight communities – Cumberland, East Providence, Jamestown, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield and Warwick – will see a second school bond question on the ballot as part of their local plans to fix up their crumbling buildings.

All told, those cities and towns are seeking to borrow more than $770 million, from $40 million in Warwick up to $220 million in Pawtucket. When combined with the statewide bond question, voters will consider more than $1 billion in school-related borrowing on Nov. 6.

“The state of our school buildings is Rhode Island is so bad that it is going to take many years before we are on a statewide basis giving our kids and our teachers the kind of schools they deserve, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner told Eyewitness News in a recent interview.

The plan the state came up with involves borrowing $500 million over 10 years on the state level, continuing a practice of reimbursing cities and towns between $80 million and $100 million a year for repairs they’ve already made, and asking communities to cover the rest of the cost.  

The state already covers between 35% and 97% of all school construction costs depending on the district, but a plan approved by the General Assembly would create a bonus system to incentivizes communities to move quickly to make repairs. The state typically requires communities to pay for projects up front and then be reimbursed over time, but Magaziner said he’s hopeful the $250-million bond will support pay-as-you-go projects.