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    Daily Troll: The Seahawks are coming. State's first charter school opens. Ed Murray's new education department.

    Plus, another mega yacht pulls into port.

    The Seahawks are coming. The Seahawks are coming.

    If the current state of Pioneer Square is any indication, Seattleites are, um, excited about the Seahawks opener. Kickoff for the Green Bay game is at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Starting today and through tomorrow, the “NFL Gameday Village” is occupying the entirety of Occidental Park (from Washington Street to CenturyLink Field’s north lot), which will be brimming with autographing Seahawks, ball pits, game simulators and oh so much more. If that’s not enough to lure you, there's also Thursday's free concert at the Clink — at 4:30 p.m. — with Pharrell Williams and the Soundgarden. (Gates open at 2:30 p.m.)

    Yes, we're all panicking about the imminent onslaught down here in the Square. According to MyNorthwest.com, Seattle police recommended giving yourself an extra hour to get around the downtown area and warned that cell networks may be slowed by all the texting and tweeting. Good luck, Seahawks! And more importantly, good luck to all us Seattle commuters and residents. We’re the ones who'll need it. — K.H.

    NFL Gameday Village ball pits

    Murray announces new city education department

    On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Murray shared his plan to create a cabinet level education department to “close achievement gaps in Seattle Public Schools.” KUOW’s Ruby De Luna said the city’s new “Department of Education and Early Learning” will coordinate with the school district and other local organizations to create and oversee various programs. Murray isn't interested in “mayoral control” of schools, according to Seattle Times reporter Daniel Beekman. He just wants to close Seattle's achievement gap. “Ninety percent of white fourth graders read at grade level, compared to 56 percent of African-American students,” said mayor Murray. “And when you open up those numbers by gender, they actually get worse.”  — K.H.

    A day of firsts for education 

    There’s a new kid on the block in Seattle’s public school system this year: First Place Scholars is switching from private to public ownership starting Wednesday. The change makes First Place the first charter school in Washington State. Converting to a public model gives the K-5 school access to $720,000 in additional federal and state funding, bringing its annual budget up to $2.56 million, according to Real Change News. Enrollment at First Place, which has never charged its low-income students tuition, has gone from 45 to 98 children as a result.

    But First Place Scholars and other would-be charter schools could face future setbacks if charter school opponents have their way. The 2012 ballot measure which opened the way for charters to receive public funding is currently being challenged in court by The League of Women Voters, the Washington Education Association and El Centro de la Raza, according to The Seattle Times. The State Supreme Court will hear arguments on October 28. — M.L.

    McCleary education case heats up

    As Washington students head back to school this week, the State Supreme Court heard arguments from state lawmakers Wednesday in the ongoing McCleary education case. The 2012 court decision requires the Legislature to expand funding for K-12 public schools by 2018. Legislators haven’t made much progress in the endeavor though, prompting the Supreme Court to order the Legislature to appear in court to explain why. Crosscut's John Stang will have a full report on the education showdown later today. — M.L.


    Fear not: Another yacht

    If you were having trouble coping with the recent departure of "A," one of the world’s largest yachts, you’ll be relieved to hear that Seattle is welcoming another giant, luxurious, gas-guzzling boat. (This boat comes with seven staterooms, dance floor, movie theater, full gym and swimming pool). Super yacht #2 is goes by the name of Kogo, is a more modest 235 feet long. It's owner, French/Saudi Arabian billionaire Mansour Ojjeh, is happy to charter Kogo — for only $551,000 a week — or about what it costs to fill the gas tank of A. What are you waiting for? — K.H.

    Kate Harloe is a Crosscut editorial intern and a recent college graduate from upstate NY. A full-fledged Seattleite now, Kate's love for writing, politics and the Pacific Northwest have brought her to Crosscut. When not in the office, she can be found hiking in the mountains and/or eating awesome food.

    Marissa Luck is a Tacoma-based writer and editorial intern at Crosscut. She has previously reported on issues of activism, homelessness, and Olympia city news for Works in Progress and Olympia Power & Light. She graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2011, with a BA focused in political economy and international studies. Marissa can be reached on Twitter marissa.luck@crosscut.com.

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