A school designed for math prodigies. No new teacher contract yet in Seattle. And eight states now require high-school students to pass civics test to graduate.

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That’s what the small town of Baldwin, Mich., decided to do for all its high school graduates.  It’s a modest version of the Kalamazoo Promise, which offers to cover all college tuition and fees for graduates of Kalamazoo high schools. According to a report in The Atlantic, the Baldwin Promise offers just $5,000 a year, but even at that lower amount, the program reportedly has changed the way that town’s residents think about college.  Baldwin has a population of about 1,200.

“Kids started to want to go to college and the teachers knew that and then the kids started to realize, ‘We have to learn that to be ready for the harder classes in college,’ ” one student was quoted.   “That’s the biggest change here.”

In this state, there’s a similar program for students from low-income families. Called College Bound, the Washington program provides eligible students with enough money to cover tuition and some fees, and offers a small book allowance.

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This fall, a middle/high school devoted to serving mathematically gifted students will open in San Francisco, according to a report in Mind/Shift.  It’s a private school, called the Proof School,  and the curriculum sounds intense:  number theory at the university math-major level, for example.  The students will learn English and history and science, too, but math will be the focus. There are a few similar schools in the nation, Mind/Shift says, but not many.


Seattle teachers picketed on freeway overpasses Thursday morning, alerting the public that all is not well in contract talks with the school district.  As of Thursday evening, the two sides were still talking, saying they made some progress during the day.  In recent days, the union has said the points of contention include:  Length of teachers’ official work days.  Use of student test scores in evaluating teachers.  Pay.  Recess.

Next step:  More talks.  And the planned union membership meeting Monday still stands.

A strike authorization vote is possible.


Eight new charter schools are opening in Washington state this fall, including three in the Seattle area.  Only one opened last year, so this will be the first big group of the publicly funded, but privately run schools here.

— The Supreme Court made good on its threat to sanction lawmakers if they didn’t come up with a detailed plan on how to increase school funding a lot more than they have to date.  Lawmakers are supposed to put $100,000 a day into a special fund devoted to, of course, schools.

— The state released results from the new Smarter Balanced exams, based on the Common Core learning standards.

— The Seattle School Board postponed its vote on whether to place a moratorium on suspensions for elementary-school students.  The members said they wanted more time to consider a “complicated issue.”


— Eight states now require high school students to pass a civics test to graduate.

See something interesting that we missed?  Share it with Education Lab Editor Linda Shaw at lshaw@seattletimes.com or on Twitter at @LShawST