Education in Seattle

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Education in Seattle is an important part of many Seattleites' lives, particularly due to the high concentration of technology, engineering, and other jobs that require advanced degrees. Of the city's population over the age of 25, 53.8 percent (vs. a national average of 27.4 percent) hold a bachelor's degree or higher; 91.9 percent (vs. 84.5 percent nationally) have a high school diploma or equivalent.[1] In fact, the United States Census Bureau surveys indicate that Seattle has one of the highest rates of college graduates among major U.S. cities.[2] In addition to the obvious institutions of education, there are significant adult literacy programs and considerable homeschooling. Seattle is also the most literate city in the United States, based on a study done by Central Connecticut State University.[3]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Inside Suzzallo Library, University of Washington campus

Seattle is home to one of the nation's most respected public universities, the University of Washington. With over 40,000 under-graduates and post-graduates, UW is the largest school in the Pacific Northwest[4] and many of its departments are ranked in the top 10 for research universities in the United States according to the Chronicle of Higher Learning.[5] A study by Newsweek International in 2006 cited UW as the twenty-second best university in the world.[6] Additionally, the University of Washington was ranked 16th internationally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2008.[7]

The city's other prominent universities are Seattle University, a Jesuit university, and Seattle Pacific University, founded by the Free Methodists. There are also a handful of smaller schools, such as City University of Seattle, a private university; Antioch University Seattle and Argosy University/Seattle provide graduate and undergraduate degrees for working adults; and others mainly for fine arts, business and psychology. Cornish College of the Arts, The Art Institute of Seattle, Gage Academy of Art and the School of Visual Concepts offer bachelor's degrees in such disciplines as dance, music, and theatre. Seattle is also served by three colleges within the Seattle Colleges District system, comprising North, Central, and South. Time magazine chose Seattle Central College for best college of the year in 2001, stating the school "pushes diverse students to work together in small teams".[8]

Starting in 2013, Northeastern University is opening a satellite graduate campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood.[9]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Seattle Public Schools desegregated without a court order[10] but continue to struggle to achieve racial balance in a somewhat ethnically divided city (the south part of town having more ethnic minorities than the north).[11] In 2006, a challenge to Seattle's racial tie-breaking system made it to the United States Supreme Court.[12] Where the Supreme Court decided that race was not a legal criterion for desegregation, but left the door open for desegration formulas based on other indicators (e.g., income or socio-economic class).[13] And in 2002, West Seattle's West Seattle High School made headlines in the midst of protests of the school's "Indian" mascot. Despite bitter battles between SPS and Alumni Association President and Attorney Robert Zoffel, the school would later change its mascot to the "Wildcats".[14]

Public Schools[edit]

Most public schools in Seattle are part of the Seattle School District but a few in the southern portion of the city are part of the Renton School District.

Private Secondary Schools[edit]

Rally for Education Funding IN Seattle in 2017

The public school system is supplemented by a moderate number of private schools: five of the high schools are Catholic, one is Lutheran, and seven are secular.[15]

Weekend education[edit]

The Seattle Japanese School, a Japanese weekend supplementary school, holds its classes in nearby Bellevue.[16]


  1. ^ US Census Bureau (2008). "S1501. Education Attainment: Seattle City, Washington".
  2. ^ Stephen Buckner (2004-03-10). "Seattle Residents Among Nation's Most Educated". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
  3. ^ Mary Beth Marklein (2005-11-28). "Seattle reaches literacy peak". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  4. ^ "University of Washington". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  5. ^ "Top Research Universities in the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index: University of Washington". Chronicle of Higher Education. 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  6. ^ "The Complete List: The Top 100 Global Universities". Newsweek International Edition. 2006-08-13. Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
  7. ^ Top 500 World Universities (2008) Archived August 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  8. ^ Andrew Goldstein (2001-09-10). "Seattle Central". Time magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Parents involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 Et Al" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  11. ^ Cassandra Tate (2002-09-07). "Busing in Seattle: A Well-Intentioned Failure". HistoryLink. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  12. ^ "Supreme Court takes on K-12 schools racial mix". Associated Press via NBC News. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  13. ^ "High court rejects school integration plans". The Seattle Times. 2007-06-28. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  14. ^ Deborah Bach (2003-03-11). "School ban on tribal nicknames upheld". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  15. ^ "School Guide". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  16. ^ Home page. Seattle Japanese School. Retrieved on March 30, 2014. "住所 919 124th Ave.NE #207 Bellevue, WA 98005"