L.A.'s troubles with new forms of discipline. Bilingual education as jobs plan. Replacing substitutes with independent study. Test alternatives.

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PRESIDENTIAL PAY:  Ana Mari Cauce, the University of Washington’s newly appointed president, will make $910,000 a year, under a contract approved Thursday by the UW Regents.  She reportedly plans to donate $100,000 of that to student programs and scholarships.

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF COLLEGE:  That’s what a group of students from Pacific Lutheran University learned from crisscrossing the country to make a film on the college experience.  Tip 1:  Your most important experiences may lie in your extracurriculars.

UNSOLVED MYSTERY:  After two years and more than $25,000, Seattle Public Schools still can’t figure out who got ahold of student test booklets at Seattle’s Beacon Hill International School, and changed wrong answers to right ones.

NEW WAY TO PAY:  The UW Board of Regents also voted this week to use student tuition to construct a new, badly needed Life Sciences building on campus.  It’s just the second time, in recent memory at least,  that the university has tapped tuition for construction costs.


NO BACKUP: Los Angeles schools have been getting praise for banning suspensions for defiance and using other strategies for dealing with student misbehavior.  But the effort’s not without its problems.  The Los Angeles Times reports that many say the district has failed to give teachers and other staff the support they need for the new methods to succeed.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines, relatively new to the district’s top job, agreed with the complaints, saying it’s not OK to make a political statement and not “have the wherewithal to back it up.”

NI HAO, UTAH: A few weeks ago, we reported that Utah is one of the states with a big growth in bilingual education.  Now, The Atlantic adds some interesting details, saying the “fairly racially and ethnically homogeneous” state has invested millions in dual-language programs for economic reasons.

“We’re going to have a generation of kids to come that will really put Utah on the map and bring businesses here because it really is about (our) future economic survival,” the Gregg Roberts of the state’s dual-language initiative.

The governor has boasted that a third of all the Mandarin language classes in the U.S. are taught in his state.

NO SUB, NO PROBLEM: When a teacher is sick, some Minnesota high schools are sending their students to the library or the school commons rather than hire a substitute teacher.  They’re given online assignments to complete, just like on snow days. Officials say the students are supervised as they study, and the schools save a lot of money.

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION HAS ARRIVED:  In Medium, Clay Shirky says more undergraduates take online classes than attend a college with varsity football, or live on their colleges’ campuses.    That means, he says, that online classes are no longer “the future” but “a perfectly routine way to learn.”

ALTERNATIVES TO STANDARDIZED TESTS ARE HERE, TOO:  In New Hampshire, with the federal government’s blessing, eight districts are replacing bubble tests with assignments – albeit standardized ones.  Teachers grade student performance on the tasks.  One big question: Is it too much work?  (Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High have been working on similar alternatives.)

MATH ANXIETY CAN BE GOOD:  A new study suggests that a moderate amount of anxiety helps math performance for motivated students. From our new “Between the Ears” feature by reporter John Higgins, who knows a lot about brain science.

PLAY ON:  In a new book, author Greg Toppo explains why we should encourage our kids to play some types of computer games — even at school.


Wednesday, Nov. 18 – The Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote on starting most middle- and high-schools later in the day, and most elementary schools earlier.  They also may give Superintendent Larry Nyland a raise.  Meeting starts at 4:15 p.m. at John Stanford Center, 2445 Third Avenue S., Seattle.

Monday, Nov. 30 – A meeting of the state’s new Social Emotional Learning work group, established by the Legislature in 2014.  9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Renton Technical College, Room H-102, Business Technology building, 3000 N.E. Fourth St., Renton.

Tuesday, Dec. 1 – Screening of “Beyond Measure,” a documentary that asks viewers to reconsider the purpose of education.  It is the last in a four-film series sponsored by UW’s Master’s in Education Policy program.  Discussion follows film.  6-8 p.m., Kane Hall 120, UW.

Saturday, Dec 12 – Screening of “Paper Tigers,” a documentary that focuses on an approach to school discipline that views misbehavior not as a personal attack but as fallout from traumatic experiences.  Hosted by Education Lab, the Road Map Project and Seattle Jobs Initiative.  10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Foster High School, 4242 S. 144th St., Tukwila.