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In the last several years, our show has covered stories about bullying in public schools. It's an ongoing problem and not easy to solve. But Shaver Elementary school in NE Portland is one of about 60 schools in Oregon that are experimenting with a program called Playworks, which research suggests reduces bullying significantly. It's a relatively simple concept: paid coaches play with kids during recess and during some classes. Kids learn how to play a variety of different types of games and resolve conflicts using the "roshambo" or "rock-paper-scissors" method. 5th grader Lamonte Dascomb is a "Junior Coach," which means he plays with the younger kids at recess and helps resolve conflicts when they come up. He remembers a time just a few years ago before his school used Playworks. He says kids used to cheat and act out often, and now he sees a huge difference in how the kids at his school behave — both in and out of recess.
Segmentarticle - May 21, 2013
Public schools in Oregon are currently allowed to charge tuition for students who live outside of their district and want to attend their schools. For the Riverdale School District, this additional funding has increased arts programs and kept class sizes small. But some believe it is unfair for a public school (especially a wealthy school like Riverdale) to charge tuition and receive federal and state funds. There is a bill (HB 2748) moving through the legislature that would continue to allow Oregon's public schools to charge tuition except for low-income students, kids in foster care and wards of the state.
Segmentarticle - April 11, 2013
Update Friday, April 12: University of Oregon president, Michael Gottfredson, testified before the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development yesterday that the University of Oregon (and its foundation) do support the idea of faculty members being on the governing board. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow Oregon universities to create their own independent governing boards, rather than answering to the State Board of Higher Education. University of Oregon and Portland State University have already said they're eager to try this new model, but others in the system are happy with the current form of governance. The bill still has a long way to go before it becomes law. Negotiations recently got more complicated due to some opposition from the University of Oregon Foundation. The UO's fundraising arm doesn't want independent governing boards to include faculty and staff.
Segmentarticle - April 12, 2013
After 17-year-old Grant Alan Acord was arrested for allegedly planning to plant bombs at his high school, his mother released a statement to CNN through her lawyer. She said, "My heart goes out to everyone affected by Grant's struggle with PANDAS, a rare form of OCD." PANDAS is an acronym for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, The children [who suffer from PANDAS] usually have dramatic, 'overnight' onset of symptoms, including motor or vocal tics, obsessions, and/or compulsions. In addition to these symptoms, children may also become moody, irritable or show concerns about separating from parents or loved ones. This abrupt onset is generally preceded by a Strep throat infection.
Segmentarticle - May 29, 2013
Our co-production between KUOW's The Conversation and Think Out Loud begins with a look at two stories from our region: Washington state Senator Don Benton was recently on Think Out Loud, talking about his absolute opposition to the Columbia River Crossing. His surprise appointment to Clark County's Environmental Services Division is making waves. In Seattle, there's been a new development in the controversy over standardized testing. A panel assigned to study the issue has recommended making the MAP test (Measure of Academic Progress) optional rather than mandatory at the high school level.
Segmentarticle - May 3, 2013
What do you do with a child that is out of control at school and may pose a risk to other students or a teacher? That question is being pondered by Oregon lawmakers as they consider whether to ban the use of certain types of rooms used to put students in seclusion when they act out. Some special education experts say that isolating a student who may be a threat to others nearby is a necessary (pdf) option, but critics say the rooms are used more often than they should be.
Segmentarticle - March 21, 2013
Oregon has a complicated relationship with gambling. On the one hand, lottery dollars go towards funding basic state services education, public safety and parks. On the other hand, some of that money comes from the roughly 74,000 Oregonians who have been identified as problem gamblers. Currently, one percent of lottery proceeds go towards mitigating gambling addiction. Some lawmakers want to create additional safeguards. One proposal would require servers and bartenders to be on the lookout for gambling addiction the way they currently watch out for excessive alcohol consumption. Another calls for the lottery commission to hire someone specifically to advise the commission and lottery director on mental health and addiction issues.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 15, 2013
There's a debate among high school education specialists over what students should be reading. The conversation has become particularly heated due to the Common Core standards — education guidelines that 46 states (including Oregon) and the District of Columbia have adopted. The guidelines read (pdf) in part: The Standards demand that a significant amount of reading of informational texts take place in and outside the ELA [English Language Arts] classroom. That passage has generated extensive discussions about just how much of the new "informational text" requirements have to be integrated into English class. Opponents say English teachers will have to reduce fiction texts, and advocates say most instructional texts will be left to teachers in other disciplines. Even if there is confusion over just how much English classrooms will have to change, it is clear the new standards emphasize an effort to integrate more non-ficiton in students' reading lists.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 18, 2013
Editor's Note: This show will be broadcast live on OPB Plus as well as OPB Radio. It will be rebroadcast at 8pm the same day on OPB TV and OPB Radio. By the time he was 14 years old, Javon Jackson knew he wanted to play in Art Blakey's band. Jackson joined the Jazz Messengers in 1987 and played saxophone with the band until Blakey's death in 1990. Jackson says he considers joining Blakey's band to be a pivotal point in his career. Since then, he has appeared on over 125 recordings and toured all over the world with his own band. Art Blakey played with a host of jazz musicans over the course of his long career. The New York Times called him "an extraordinary drummer" and a "one-man university for young musicians." Pianist George Cables also benefited from an education with the Jazz Messengers. Cables was originally trained as a classical musician. Cables played with Blakey in 1969 and he says the opportunity to be on stage with someone who was "bigger than life" had a lasting effect on him. According to JazzTimes, Cables went on to help define modern jazz piano.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 22, 2013
Members of the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Student Union and the Portland Student Union are urging their fellow students to opt out of the annual Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test. The students have tapped in to a heated debate going on in many cities, including Seattle, about the merits of standardized tests. The PPS students say the OAKS test doesn't accurately reflect what they've learned. The OAKS test is a standardized test given in every Oregon school to students in third grade through eighth grade as well as eleventh grade. The test is used to assess schools as "satisfactory", "outstanding" or "in need of improvement." The Oregon Department of Education looks at both the results of the OAKS tests as well as how many students participate. A school must be able to demonstrate at least 95 percent participation in order to avoid an automatic "in need of improvement" score on its state report card. Alecia Garcia, one of the student organizers behind the boycott, is very aware of that number. She says hopes the campaign will get at least five percent of all PPS high school students to opt out of the OAKS test. If they do opt out, eleventh graders will have to choose an alternative assessment to demonstrate their "essential skills" in order to graduate.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 11, 2013
Jadin Bell, a gay teenager from La Grande, died this past Sunday after attempting to hang himself Jan. 19. A family friend said that while his family was accepting of him, Bell was bullied at school for being gay. Syndicated advice columnist Dan Savage created the It Gets Better Project as a way to reach out to bullied teens. In response to Jadin Bell's suicide, Savage reiterated his call for parents of bullied children to consider home schooling or relocation: Err on the side of overreacting. Err on the side of doing something drastic. Err on the side of turning your own life upside down. Because you don't want to find out the abuse was more than your kid could bear when it's too...late to do anything about it. While bullying can put undue stress on high schoolers, the American Psychological Association says mental illness is still the biggest risk factor for teen suicide. Whether or not they are driven to self-harm, bullying can make life miserable for kids who are perceived as different in any number of ways.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 5, 2013
More than six decades ago Mahatma Gandhi led a peaceful revolution against British rule of his native India. He pioneered the principles of nonviolence that have influenced social movements around the world since — from the civil rights movement in the U.S. to the recent Arab Spring in the middle east. Arun Gandhi went to live with his grandfather when he was 12 years old, and the elder Gandhi was assassinated less than two years later. Arun Gandhi is continuing his grandfather's work with the M.K. Institute for Nonviolence, which promotes peace, and the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, which focuses on eradicating child poverty. He's been in Oregon for the last week or so and we'll talk to him in our Portland studios before his evening appearance at Marylhurst University. He's giving a free lecture at Pacific University later in the week.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 25, 2013
Changing demographics, enrollment and other factors mean that Portland Public Schools must make changes to some of its schools. In North and Northeast Portland, specifically around Jefferson High School where the community is more low-income than some others, past closures have been controversial. And over the last few months several different schools have faced closure under proposals from Superintendent Carole Smith, including Chief Joseph and Woodlawn. Now the school board is expected to vote on revised recommendations. We'll ask OPB education reporter Rob Manning about the ramifications of these changes and what the future might hold for other parts of the district where enrollment is also in flux.
Segmentarticle - Feb. 25, 2013
Portland Business Journal editor Rob Smith will be in studio for our regular business update. Here are some of the topics we'll be looking at: The complex economics of online learning What mandatory paid sick leave could mean for businesses An effort to revive the sit-lie ordinance Portland's surprisingly strong connection to Qatar
Segmentarticle - Feb. 26, 2013
Governor Kitzhaber has made education a priority. Last year, the legislature passed a bill making the governor the state superintendent of schools. It was a leadership role he was happy to take on, with the help of Oregon's first chief education officer, Rudy Crew. Kitzhaber's 2013-2015 budget proposal includes increased funding for several education initiatives. He's advocating for a bill that he says would streamline education bureaucracy by consolidating several government organizations under one Department of Post-Secondary Education. He's also set an ambitious goal of a 100 percent graduation rate for the class of 2025. The budget proposals released by both Democratic and Republican legislators last week are also heavily focused on money for schools. But, of course, that money has to come from somewhere. Kitzhaber says the changes to the Oregon Health Plan will free up some state and federal money. He is also urging lawmakers to consider changes to mandatory sentencing laws to reduce the state's prison budget. Kitzhaber is encouraging the continuing conversation about how to reform the public employee retirement system (PERS). Though they have a common goal, lawmakers differ with the governor on how to change PERS. Follow along and participate in our live blog of the interview with the Governor: &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=c8cdcfcab0" data-mce-href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=c8cdcfcab0"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;TOL talks with Governor Kitzhaber at Portland City Club&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Segmentarticle - March 15, 2013
Booth Gardner served as the governor of Washington State from 1985 to 1993. He passed away over the weekend from complications of Parkinson's disease. Having only served as state senator and Pierce County executive before running for governor, he was known for a campaign slogan that winkingly acknowledged his relative statewide anonymity: "Booth Who?" But he overcame his lack of name recognition to become a two-term governor that brought changes to education, healthcare, and land use. After leaving office, he lived a quiet life, until reemerging into political view to advocate for Washington's Death with Dignity Act.
Segmentarticle - March 19, 2013
Tom McCall, Oregon's 30th governor, is inexorably linked with Oregon's land use planning system, protecting agricultural land and public access to beaches. He was focused on "smart growth" before it became a catch phrase. He is well known for his "vist, but don't stay" speech — a clear message that a permanent move to the state was not encouraged. This week marks the 100th anniversary of his birth, we'll talk with McCall biographer, Brent Walth, and get a bit of sneak peak into the Oregon Experience documentary airing tonight at 8 pm.
Segmentarticle - March 19, 2013
The legislative session officially kicked off in January but now is the time when the legislative session really gets going. On Monday, the co-chairs of the Ways & Means committee released the first draft (pdf) of the state budget, laying out their financial priorities for the next two years. The budget framework revealed on Monday would increase spending for Oregon schools by almost $1 billion over the last biennium. That's also more than Governor Kitzhaber allocated for schools in his budget proposal. In order to make those funds available, lawmakers propose reforming public employee retirement benefits as well as sentencing laws. The Ways & Means budget proposal reflects the priorities of Democratic lawmakers. Republicans countered with their own ideas (pdf) about how the state should spend and save money over the next two years. The Republicans also want to see a significant increase in money for education, but they criticized Democrats' approach to taxes.
Segmentarticle - March 6, 2013
In response to the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary, we're looking into some of the potential ways to prevent such tragedies. First up, we'll look at how the security measures taken in schools, malls, and other public spaces can be improved. UPDATE 01/02/2012: On December 21, Dave Miller interviewed Mick Hoffman, the director of safety, security and athletics for Vancouver Public Schools, on OPB TV during the PBS special "After Newton." You can watch it here.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 19, 2012
Editor's Note: We will carry Governor Kitzhaber's State of the State address live on air before our show. He is expected to speak at about 11:30am. The 2013 legislative session officially begins on Monday, Jan. 14. It's shaping up to be a lively few months in Salem. Lawmakers started debating the controversial issue of gun control even before the session got underway. And the governor is already clashing with union leaders over how to reform the pension system for state workers. Education is sure to be a hot topic along with public safety. Business leaders in the state have also have a lot on their legislative agenda. Because it's an odd-numbered year, the session can go as long as 160 days. That's four and half times as long as the 2012 session, which was limited to 35 days.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 14, 2013
What if you could enroll in college without having to take out student loans to pay the tuition? That's exactly what a group of Portland State University students is proposing to a legislative panel convening on campus on Monday. The "Pay It Forward" proposal (also advocated by the Working Families Party of Oregon) would allow students here to enroll at a university without paying tuition. Instead, students would agree to pay a percentage of their income for 20 years: one and a half percent for community college, and three percent for a four year college. The push came out of unique class at PSU focused on the social and economic ramifications of student debt. Students are hoping lawmakers will take up the proposal in the 2013 legislative session that begins January 14.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 3, 2012
A jury ruled last week in favor of a school district in a lawsuit filed by the parent of a child who was bullied. The suit was filed by the mother of a boy with Tourette's syndrome, who was a middle school student in the Harrisburg School District in 2010. The student's name does not appear in the suit and the media has not named his mother in order to protect his identity. The lawsuit claimed the district failed to protect the boy from harassment and bullying. According to The Register-Guard, Portland lawyer Karen Vickers said of her clients, who are administrators in the school district, They want kids to have a positive experience, to get an education — they don’t want kids to push each other and shove each other and mistreat each other … but let’s be honest here. Even if they want kids to treat each other kindly, that doesn’t always happen. This is not the first case of its kind. In 2010, a Michigan school district was ordered to pay $800,000 to a student who had been bullied.
Segmentarticle - Dec. 11, 2012
Neither Washington nor Oregon won federal grant money through the original Race to the Top competitions. In fact, each state declined to apply in one of the years they were eligible. But the federal Department of Education is now offering grants to individual districts in states that missed out on funds. The Department announced its finalists this week. Of the Oregon applicants, only McMinnville made the cut. Three districts from Washington were selected. Of the 61 finalists, up to 25 will receive a cut of the $400 million pot. Districts had to win the endorsement of their unions in order to apply, which led Portland Public Schools and other districts to refrain from applying.
Segmentarticle - Nov. 28, 2012
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has come up with new recommendations for HIV screening which say everyone between the ages of 15 and 65 should be tested. They're basing this recommendation on a scientific study authored by a team led Roger Chou, a professor of medicine right here at OHSU. Chou led a similar study back in 2005 in which they did not recommend wide-spread testing. He told OPB a few things have changed since then to alter their scientific perspective. First, the evidence now shows that treatment is much more effective than they understood back then. Also, he says the fastest growing incidents of HIV are among heterosexuals and adolescents — different from a few years ago when it was understood to be primarily gay men and IV drug users. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a similar recommendation a few years ago based on the understanding that a fifth of people who have HIV don't know it. The Task Force emphasizes that it is not saying testing should be mandatory — simply that it should be recommended.
Segmentarticle - Nov. 26, 2012
Segmentarticle - March 13, 2014