Wikipedia Commons

"You go say you're sorry to Bobby."  Phrases like that have been heard for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. 

And what do kids actually learn from the experience?  That's a question being considered in the Phoenix-Talent School District, which wants to move beyond punishment and into "restorative justice." 

That is a concept embraced by Resolve (formerly Mediation Works), which teamed up with the district on a project to introduce restorative justice to Phoenix High School. 


High school students may want safe schools free of bullying and violence, but they're often reluctant to take concerns directly to school authorities. 

But maybe if a smartphone app made the process easier, things would change. 

That's the general approach outlined in Project SOAR, Student Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility, now in development at Eugene-based Iris Educational Media

The project is backed by a federal grant, and includes plans for testing at high schools in Illinois and Springfield, Oregon. 

Just when people think manners may be in decline, along comes a helper.  A proven one, at that. 

25 years ago, author and screenwriter Delia Ephron published Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia's Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups

The charming, soft-but-firm approach of the book helps kids learn and gives adults a few chuckles and smiles. 

National Archives

Eugene School District is building a replacement for Roosevelt Middle School, and at least one of its teachers thinks the name could be replaced as well. 

Theodore Roosevelt is just one of many white men for whom schools are named. 

RMS history teacher Jenoge Khatter says plenty of women and people from minority groups are worthy of such recognition. 

He's even constructed an online petition to take input. 

Penguin Books

Any parent waiting for a great teacher to come forward for their child is waiting too long. 

Parents are the first teachers, educators point out. 

And the Thirty Million Words initiative is meant to give parents the tools to help build good brains in their kids, through the frequent and judicious use of language. 

The approach is detailed in a new book. 


Lagging student performance in public schools often focuses on minority students. 

Often--not always--the darker the skin, the lower the grades.  More minority teachers could help, and that's where Kelly Ramirez comes in. 

The Grants Pass resident is a senior at Southern Oregon University, the first in her family to attend college. 

And she plans on teaching when she graduates. 


Depending on how you measure it, Oregon's high school graduation rate is either the worst in the country, or just near the bottom. 

Neither version provides any solace for educational leaders, who clearly have some work to do. 

Nancy Golden is Oregon's Chief Education Officer, responsible for a system now aimed at education from birth to career.

Don Crossfield retired from teaching full-time three years ago. 

And people still can't stop thanking him for his work, and rewarding it. 

The former Roseburg High School math teacher (he still subs) recently picked up an award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics for his years of making his subject matter crystal-clear to students. 


We can't seem to go a week without some news about standardized testing.

It's the accepted way to measure the progress of students. 

But when student progress is extrapolated to measure teacher quality, that's when the National Education Association and its state affiliates get their backs up. 

The national Representative Assembly this week includes Oregon Education Association President Hanna Vaandering. 

Nebraska's legislature ended the death penalty in the state three weeks ago, touching off another debate about the use and value of executing criminals. 

We want to know what you think about the subject, and about another subject: letting parents excuse their children from taking the standardized "smarter balanced" tests in school. 

Our weekly VENTSday segment puts listeners front and center.

We throw a pair of topics on the table, and let callers and emailers vent--politely--on those topics. Topics range from the global to the hyper-local, and all responsible opinions are welcome.

There's only so much anyone can learn in a classroom.  Learning about things like the environment get a lot easier IN the environment. 

That's the basic premise of the Fall in the Field program offered by Southern Oregon University. 

Graduate students in environmental education set up courses for kids in the 4th grade and up at several locations around the region. 


Oregon and California are both brimming with natural wonders.  And kids do learn about the many natural features in school, but often in classrooms. 

Outdoor School For All wants to fling open the classroom doors in Oregon, so students get education ABOUT the outdoors IN the outdoors. 

The movement got bills introduced in both houses of the Oregon legislature to provide a week of outdoor education or its equivalent for all fifth and sixth graders. 

Twisting The "Short Bus" Into A Positive

Apr 16, 2015

Jonathan Mooney took a derogatory term and turned it on its head.

He rode "the short bus" to school once he was diagnosed with learning disabilities and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (LD/ADHD).

After his graduation from an Ivy League university, he took a real short bus on the road, meeting people who defied the constraints of "normal."

Mooney is part of a conference on "reframing" LD/ADHD next week in Medford.

Teachers And Technology At Ed Tech Summit

Apr 15, 2015
Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

In theory, the process of learning is usually the same: teachers teach, and students learn. 

But then throw technology into the mix, and all bets are off, especially in a world where so many people carry powerful computers in their hands. 

The Ed Tech Summit this week (Friday, April 17th) at Southern Oregon University brings educators and gadgets together, so the former can get up to speed on the latter. 

Missing Out On Quality Preschool

Apr 9, 2015

The federal Department of Education and the White House are big on "high-quality preschool"... pre-kindergarten programs that get kids ready for school.

And a recent DOE report shows that many American students are not enrolled in such programs.

The percentages are even higher in California and Oregon.

Celebrating Early College Programs

Mar 16, 2015

The determined high school student can leave high school with a diploma in one hand, and college credits in the other. 

Early college programs abound, and in fact are celebrated during Early College Week, next week (March 22-28). 

Rogue Community College is one of the many institutions that offers early college. 

Wikipedia Commons

Education has come a long way in this country. 

We're very far from the days of memorization and rote learning... but also far from satisfying ourselves that we're doing a good job teaching our kids, and students of all ages.

Now throw "competency-based learning" into the mix.  It further de-emphasizes the connection between student and classroom seat, and--in theory--lets students learn at their own rate. 

Southern Oregon University's Innovation and Leadership program is competency-based; it gives older students credit for what they've learned in life, though outside the classroom. 

Making A Case For More School Money In Oregon

Jan 20, 2015

Oregon's state government income is rising so fast, taxpayers might get refund checks under the state's "kicker" law this year. 

But education advocates want to see some of the increased revenue going to schools, to reduce class sizes and make other improvements. 

The Oregon School Boards Association--OSBA--demonstrates school successes with its "Promise of Oregon" campaign. 

Structural Changes For Medford Schools

Jan 16, 2015

The Medford School District hired a new boss last year with an eye to making changes. 

Now Superintendent Brian Shumate proposes big ones. 

Shumate wants to change the organization at the top of the school district, and the school board just voted to back him in the restructuring. 

Collaborating On Early Learning In Medford

Dec 23, 2014

The formula is well-known, but not always easily applied: strengthen families, and you strengthen children as students. 

This is the basic premise of the West Medford Early Learning Collaborative, which includes a number of organizations in the neighborhood of Medford's Jackson Elementary School. 

An Oregon Community Foundation grant helped the collaborative get started.