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NORTHWEST NEWS

PCC Cascade Expands its Food Pantry for Students

The majority of PCC students are food insecure, with up to 15% homeless

Controversial Washington Lawmaker Spreads Views Across West

Republican Rep. Matt Shea was suspended from the Republican caucus in the wake of a December report that found he was involved in anti-government activities and several lawmakers have called on him to resign, something he says he will not do

2020 Census Begins in Remote Toksook Bay, Alaska

Census takers begin counting remainder of 220 remote Alaska villages as part of national headcount

St. Andrew Parish Presents 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The awards are given to people whose service embodies the values of Dr. King, who used nonviolence, civil disobedience, and Christian teaching to advance the cause of civil rights in America

NEWS BRIEFS

Labor Commissioner, Senator Announce Bill to Fully Enforce Housing Discrimination

A survey found that more than one in four prospective Portland renters were discriminated against because of race, national origin or...

Washington State Bill to Increase School Staff is Introduced in the Legislature

The bill includes recommendations from a workgroup of K–12 education stakeholders ...

Giant Sea-life Sculptures Wash Ashore at Oregon Zoo

Traveling art exhibit aims to raise plastics awareness for healthy oceans ...

States Sue Trump Administration Over New 3D-Printed Gun Rule

The administration’s latest rule allows 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet ...

Shari's Restaurants Celebrate National Pie Day

Receive a free slice of pie with any entrée purchase at participating Shari's locations from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan....

Grand jury: Officer acted in self-defense in fatal shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County grand jury has found no criminal wrongdoing in the Portland police fatal police shooting of 51-year-old Koben Henriksen who was seen waving knives at passing cars in early December.The grand jury determined that Officer Justin Raphael lawfully acted...

Man who stabbed ex-girlfriend sentenced to 15 years

WALTON, Ore. (AP) — A man who stabbed an ex-girlfriend west of Eugene was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison.David Lucius pleaded guilty in court last week to first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and stalking, KEZI-TV reported.He will also complete three years of post-prison...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Zealand's Ardern seeking reelection in Sept. 19 vote

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may be lauded around the world as a liberal icon but whether she can translate that into a reelection victory in September remains uncertain.Ardern on Tuesday announced the general elections would be held on Sept. 19. She is...

Photo cropping mistake leads to AP soul-searching on race

NEW YORK (AP) — A “terrible mistake” in cropping an African climate activist out of a photo sent to customers of The Associated Press prompted soul-searching and some tense staff conversations over issues of racism and inclusion Monday at the news organization.The AP...

Racist graffiti on college campus; group wants investigation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Name tags for three students at the University of Richmond students were defaced, and a Muslim advocacy group on Monday called for a hate crime investigation into one of the instances.The Council on American Islamic Relations said in an email that it asked the school to...

ENTERTAINMENT

At Sundance, Clinton warns of voter suppression in election

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Since losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has released a memoir about that defeat, launched a political action committee and penned another book about “gutsy women” with her daughter, Chelsea. But Clinton’s most prominent...

Billie Eilish, a voice of the youth, tops the Grammy Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer Billie Eilish, who gave voice to young people struggling with depression on a do-it-yourself album she made at home with her older brother, is atop the music world.The 18-year-old made history at the Grammy Awards Sunday. Not only did she become the youngest person to...

DiCaprio, Zellweger and more Oscar hopefuls attend luncheon

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Renée Zellweger, Al Pacino and dozens of other Academy Award nominees bowed their heads in a moment of silence Monday for Kobe Bryant to open the annual Oscars luncheon, a somber moment in an otherwise sunny annual affair that serves as a meet-and-greet, celebration...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'I'm being raped': Weinstein accuser details alleged assault

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi testified Monday that weeks after arriving in New York...

What to know for year two of the Trump tax plan

It’s that time again. The IRS began accepting and processing tax returns for individuals on Monday. Last...

Bloomberg creates a parallel presidential race. Can he win?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — When the leading Democratic presidential candidates marked Martin Luther King Jr....

Turkish rescuers find last quake victims; death toll hits 41

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish emergency teams on Monday recovered the bodies of the last two missing quake...

Britain's EU Journey: When Brexit won the battle of Europe

LONDON (AP) — Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday after a debilitating political period...

Irish leader says EU to have stronger hand in UK trade talks

LONDON (AP) — Ireland’s prime minister warned Britain on Monday that Brexit is far from finished --...

McMenamins
Kimberly Hefling AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Decrying the state of American education, President Barack Obama on Friday said states will get unprecedented freedom to waive basic elements of the sweeping Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, calling it an admirable but flawed effort that has hurt students instead of helping them.

Obama's announcement could fundamentally affect the education of tens of millions of children. It will allow states to scrap the requirement that all children must show they are proficient in reading and math by 2014 - a cornerstone of the law - if states meet conditions designed to better prepare and test students.

And the president took a shot at Congress, saying his executive action was needed only because lawmakers have not stepped in to improve the law for years.

"Congress hasn't been able to do it. So I will," Obama said. "Our kids only get one shot at a decent education."

Under the plan Obama outlined, states can ask the Education Department to be exempted from some of the law's requirements if they meet certain conditions, such as imposing standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.

Despite allowing states to do away with the approaching 2014 deadline, Obama insisted he was not weakening the law, but rather helping states set higher standards. He said that the current law was forcing educators to teach to the test, give short shrift to subjects such as history and science, and lower standards as a way of avoiding penalties and stigmas.

The law is a signature legacy of President George W. Bush's administration and was approved with strong bipartisan support nearly a decade ago. But its popularity tanked as the years went on, as disputes over money divided Congress, schools said they were being labeled "failures," and questions soared over the testing and teacher-quality provisions.

"The goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable, and President Bush deserves credit for that," Obama said during a statement from the White House.

"Higher standards are the right goal. Accountability is the right goal. Closing the achievement gap is the right goal. And we've got to stay focused on those goals," Obama said. "But experience has taught us that in its implementation, No Child Left Behind had some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them."

Obama said better education was at the heart of a solid American economy of middle-class jobs, and that compared with other nations, the United States was slipping.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House Education Committee, has questioned whether the Education Department has the authority to offer waivers in exchange for changes it supports. He's said Obama has allowed "an arbitrary timeline" to dictate when Congress should get the law rewritten and that the committee needs more time to develop its proposals.

Kline on Thursday called the administration's plan a political move and said he could not support a process that sets a precedent by granting the education secretary "sweeping authority to handpick winners and losers."

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., the ranking member on the Senate committee that oversees education, said the president's plan would undermine the policymaking authority of Congress.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said the plan would not undermine efforts in Congress because the waivers could serve as a bridge until Congress acts.

In Obama's plan, states granted waivers would have more control over how troubled schools are handled, although to qualify for a waiver they would have to show they had a plan to help low-performing schools. A majority of states are expected to apply for waivers, which will be given to qualified states early next year.

Critics say the law placed too much emphasis on standardized tests, raising the stakes so high for school districts that it may have driven some school officials to cheat. In particular, the requirement that all students be on grade level in math and reading by 2014 has been hugely unpopular.

Duncan has warned that 82 percent of schools next year could fail to reach proficiency requirements and thus be labeled "failures," although some experts questioned the figure.

The law has been due for a rewrite since 2007. Obama and Duncan had asked Congress to overhaul it by the start of this school year but a growing ideological divide in Congress has complicated efforts to do so.

The GOP-led House Education Committee has forwarded three bills that would revamp aspects of the law but has yet to fully tackle some of the more contentious issues such as teacher effectiveness and accountability.

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Associated Press writers Ben Feller and Julie Pace contributed to this story.

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