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Black Families Navigating the School System

Emijah Smith assists Black families in the region navigating the school systems.  Smith shares her own experiences in advocating for her loved ones and what led her on this path. (more…)

Betsy DeVos Visits Bellevue and Attracts Protesters

On October 13th, 2017, protesters gathered in downtown Bellevue to protest Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. DeVos was in town to speak at the Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. Meanwhile, about a dozen counter protesters gathered nearby in support of DeVos. KBCS’s Ruth Bly and Devin Williams spoke with individuals from both protests. In addition to the audio stream bellow, KBCS also captured this video footage of the event.


Candidates Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal: Superintendent of Public Instruction

Erin Jones and State Representative Chris Reykdal are running for the job of Superintendent of Public Instruction, a position that oversees the state’s K-12 education. This office provides funding and resources for public schools, administers basic education programs, and implements education reform.

KBCS News Director Yuko Kodama has more. The KBCS 2016 Election Series was produced by Jennie Cecil Moore and Angie Voyles Askham.

Oregon Teachers Ready For New Federal Education Law

It takes only a moment to sign a major bill into law. It will take years to implement the new education policy outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Obama signed last December. The ESSA requires states to develop their own rules, and Oregon educators are looking forward to the possible impacts.

Nature Deficit Disorder

It’s no surprise that the natural environment affects our nervous system and bodies in positive ways, yet kids today spend more than seven hours a day in front of entertainment media and an average of a half an hour outside. We highlight the power and benefits of nature on us this week.

Episode 1: Hilarie Cash is the Co-Founder of Restart Life Internet Addiction Recovery Center in Redmond, Washington. Cash and Ellen Krumm, a psychotherapist who specializes in problematic use of technology speak to how nature is one of the most powerful tools in healing internet addiction.

Episode 2 – 5: Wilderness Awareness School, Executive Director, Warren Moon describes how to make the most of the practice of spending time in nature.

Producer: Yuko Kodama

Music: Kevin MacLeod “AcidJazz”

Photo: Travis Swan “splash”

Eastside Schools

Tens of thousands of students of kids go back to school this fall in the tech corridor of the east side. We highlight Issaquah, Bellevue and Riverview school districts activities and programs.

Episode 1 & 2: Issaquah School District Superintendent, Ron Thiele shares his struggles in providing the infrastructure for the growing number of students in his east-side school district area.

Episode 3: The Riverview School District highlights a parent partnership program, more commonly referred to as PARADE, where homeschool families work with school district teachers to supplement their curriculum. PARADE Teacher, Connie Schutte, Student Sasha Charboneau Teece and Parent Nealy White share their experience with the program.

Episode 4 & 5: The Bellevue School District rolls out a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for all of its elementary schools this year with plans to expand to all grades soon. Curriculum Developer, Greg Bianchi describes the new STEM programming in Day 4, and Curriculum Developer Wendy Powell describes the SEL program in Day 5.

Producer: Yuko Kodama

Music: Kevin MacLeod “AcidJazz”

Photo: woodleywonderworks


Today’s Native Activism

Our region’s Native community is vibrant, and a force to be reckoned with.  From art and education, to  social services and political advocacy, we feature some of the leaders empowering the Native experience.

Episode 1 – Last October, local Lakota activist, and Co-founder of the blog, Last Real Indians Matt Remle made a breakthrough in Seattle with the replacement of Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s Day. The event made national and international headlines. Remle discusses the importance of recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day.

Episode 2 – This year, all Washington public schools are  mandated to teach Native American history and governance in the curriculum.   Mike Vendiola is a Swinomish member and Washington State’s Native Education Program Supervisor for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He explains the need for the legislation.

Episode 3 – Pahnee Tribal Member and Chief Seattle Club Executive Director, Colleen Echohawk explains one of the core reasons why there’s a disproportionate number of Native Americans on the street and without a home.

Episode 4 & 5 – Louie Gong is a Nooksack member, arts entrepreneur and educator who founded Eighth Generation.  He breaks down cultural appropriation and the impact on the native community.

Image – Courtesy of artist, Louie Gong “Modern Day Warrior”

Music – Rushus “crimson turtles”, “05-29”

Producers – Ruth Bly and Yuko Kodama

The Man Behind ‘Essence’, the Black Women’s Magazine

Essence is a well-known monthly African American women’s magazine.  What may not be as well-known is the successful black women’s lifestyle publication was founded by four African American men including Edward Lewis.  Edward Lewis was in our studios to share his perspective and experience in starting up, Essence.

Episode 1 – Co-Founder of Essence Magazine,  Edward Lewis talks about the women who influenced him

Episode 2 – Edward Lewis speaks about the power of black women in our society.

Episode 3 – Edward Lewis recounts the challenges he faced in starting up this now successful monthly.

Episode 4 – Edward Lewis, explains how he helped kickstart Latina Magazine with Christy Haubegger. Lewis also talks about the importance of a woman’s magazine that covers all topics including those sometimes considered controversial.


Photo:  Courtesy of Essence Magazine

Music: Rushus – modal blues

Producers:  Sonya Green and Ruth Bly

Class size initiative poses tough questions for legislators

By John Stang

You can add Initiative 1351 to the long list of budget items that Washington’s House Democrats and Senate Republicans will fight about as they negotiate the state’s 2015-2017 operating budget.
The Senate Majority Coalition of 25 Republicans and one Democrat wants to send I-1351 back to the voters in November for a do-over. The House Democrats believe that approach is not feasible — and fraught with pitfalls.

Approved by state voters in November, I-1351 calls for dramatically reduced teacher-student ratios in public schools all the way from kindergarten through high school. Overall, it would add roughly $2 billion in education expenses in 2015-2017. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and legislators from both parties have cringed at that obligation, because no revenue source has been identified to raise the money.
The Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate’s budget proposals both want to mesh meeting I-1351’s obligations for Grades K-3 with their efforts to comply with a 2012 Washington Supreme Court ruling that requires improvements in teacher-student ratios in those grades. Both sides, however, want to essentially put off I-1351’s obligations for Grades 4-12 in 2015-2017, because no money is available.

On Monday, the Senate voted 27-22 along caucus lines to send I-1351 back to the voters, hoping an official campaign against the $2 billion-per-biennium price tag will convince the voters to rescind the initiative. That bill is going to the House, where it will likely stall.
The only possible way that the House Democrats might agree to that approach is as part of some grand budget bargain at the end of the legislative session.
The Senate Republicans are putting their faith in a do-over vote this fall largely because last November’s passage of 1-1351 was so narrow. The measure passed by a 50.96 percent to 49.04 percent split — 1,052,519 to 1,012,958.

“It won by a whisker,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on Tuesday. Schoesler also noted I-1351 faced no organized opposition in 2104.
While Gov. Jay Inslee privately opposed I-1351, he did not voice that opposition publicly until the votes were counted. Schoesler speculated that Inslee’s involvement in opposing I-1351 this year might lead to its revocation next November.

However, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina and one of the House Democratic budget writers, believes a November do-over of I-1351 is a bad idea. Lots of legal pitfalls exist trying to write a ballot measure that tackles linked but different issues — reducing teacher-student ratios in classrooms and deciding on $2 billion-per-biennium in extra spending, he said. Hunter said a possible referendum scenario could end up with the state’s voters clearly adding the $2 billion spending burden without saying where that money will come from.
On Feb. 17, the staff attorneys for the Senate Ways & Means Committee and House Appropriations Committee filed a joint memo outlining scenarios to tackle the I-1351 budget dilemma, both with and without bringing a referendum before voters.

The bottom lines in several scenarios boiled down to two choices. Legislators could struggle to get a two-thirds vote in each of the House and Senate to change I-1351. The advantage is that the legislators could tailor the changes in very specific ways. The drawback is it that it is extremely difficulty to get two-thirds of each chamber to agree on almost anything complicated.

Alternatively, the legislators could send the issue back to voters in November. But the attorneys’ various scenarios indicated that writing a legally valid measure will be tough. And the voters would essentially face a yes or no choice, because a ballot measure like this cannot legally give voters multiple choices and rankings in their order of preference. The advantage to this approach is that a bill to put I-1351 back before voters would require only simple majority votes in the House and Senate, along with the governor’s signature. There would still be potential drawbacks, perhaps most importantly the uncertainty of the election outcome.

Hunter prefers going with the two-thirds Senate-and-House approach. Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee and GOP caucus leader, said the Senate Republicans have not ruled out going the two-thirds majority route.

There’s one longshot that could conceivably rescue the legislators and Inslee from making decisions about how to proceed. The Seattle Times reported on March 31 that a man filed a legal challenge to I-1351’s passage on technical grounds in Kittitas County Superior Court, trying get the initiative overturned. The plaintiff is represented by a former state Supreme Court justice, Phil Talmadge.

Distributed by Crosscut Public Media

Click here for more 2015 Olympia coverage.


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Perspectives on Parenting

Parenting and being a caregiver of a child can bring about the biggest joys and some of the most difficult challenges of our day to day lives. This series offers some perspectives on parenting today.
Episode 1 – Local child safety expert Kim Estes  on kids and the media today

Episode 2 –  Seattle based child safety expert, Kim Estes describes culture entitlement parenting.

Episode 3 –  Simplicity Parenting is an international movement toward simplifying life to benefit the entire family. It’s informed by the book, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and is in response to maxed out family schedules and stressed out child behavior.  Simplicity Parenting coach, Briana Bennitt reflects on modern day parenting challenges.

Episode 4 – Simplicity Parenting Coach, Briana Bennitt shares her perspective on managing kids’ “stuff” in the home.

Episode 5 –  Local Simplicity Parenting coach, Briana Bennitt shares her perspective on offering a filter on the adult world for the younger kids.

music by Rushus  song –  “crimson turtles”

photo courtesy of Buck Daddy

Producers – Yuko Kodama and Ruth Bly


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