No strike talk in Seattle. Rainier Beach is part of a trend. New study on speed of learning English.

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TEACHER TALKS

Seattle teachers and administrators are deep into negotiations over a new teacher contract, with the existing one set to expire at the end of the month.  Two years ago, teachers were already talking about a possible strike.   This year, no such rumblings.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues.  From what little the district and the union have said publicly (and they usually don’t say much publicly), here’s some of what’s under discussion:

Racial disparities in discipline and improving special education services. And, of course, salary.

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The union also wants at least 45 minutes of recess for elementary school kids, and doesn’t want test scores used in any way in teacher evaluations.   In its one public missive, the district didn’t chime in supporting those two.

The union has scheduled an Aug. 24 meeting, saying it hopes teachers (and other school employees) can vote on contract proposals then.

Seattle is one of seven districts in King County where negotiations are underway, including Shoreline, where teachers have already voted to authorize a strike if they can’t reach an agreement with their district.

In Pasco, teachers are talking strike, too.

IB AT BEACH IS PART OF NATIONAL TREND

The number of high-poverty schools offering the rigorous International Baccalaureate program is growing.  Education Week says 46 percent of all IB schools have low-income populations of 40 percent or more.  Seattle’s Rainier Beach High is one of them.

But there’s one caveat:   Most students who take IB exams at those schools aren’t from low-income families.  Only about a third, Ed Week says.

That’s one aspect of the trend Rainier Beach is working to avoid.

SPEAKING OF RIGOR

Washington state will receive $500,292 from the feds to help low-income students pay for taking Advanced Placement exams.  The department announced Wednesday it is giving out $28 million in all, divvying it based on how many low-income students are expected to take the tests in each state.

HOW FAST CAN STUDENTS LEARN ENGLISH?

It takes 3.8 years, on average, according to a new study of 17,733 students in Seattle and six South King County school districts.  The Road Map Project requested the study to help educators understand how much time is needed for students to reach English proficiency – which generally means they can go to regular classes without extra support. Other studies have estimated that proficiency takes anywhere from three to seven years, the report said.

THIS AND THAT

Finally, comment of the week from Education Lab reader whysignup, responding to those who say schools should only offer instruction in English:

“It’s naive to expect that new immigrants will immediately and completely discard their native language and culture and take up the culture and language of the people already living here. Our European ancestors most certainly did not. It takes time for people to adapt, and there’s a constant flow of new immigrants, so there will always be a need for these types of services.”

Send ideas and thoughts to lshaw@seattletimes.com.  On Twitter: LShawST or @educationlab