Education

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the timeline of when Microsoft opened its Nevada office and when the state lowered its royalty tax. The updated version also adds that Microsoft declined to say how much state royalty tax the company has paid.

Courtesy of Washington Sea Grant

Garfield High School students will put their smarts to the test to defend their title at the annual Orca Bowl at the University of Washington this weekend.

In a competition that slightly resembles the TV game show “Jeopardy,” 20 teams from around the state will try to answer multiple-choice questions about marine sciences, many of them specifically geared toward this year's theme of ocean acidification. Then finalists from Ocean Science Bowls around the country will meet again in May to vie for the national title. This year, it's taking place for the first time in Seattle.

Washington state students rank in the top 10 for math and science when compared with their counterparts in other countries, according to a new batch of test scores.

Washington's eighth graders tested better than the national average in both subjects. And scores here are higher than those in Ontario, Canada; Hungary, and Australia.

This weekened, Seattle's Convention Center is getting overrun by thousands of women and girls gathered for the annual GeekGirlCon event. But the convention is not just about gaming.

Associated Press

More Washington kids are living in poverty today than before the recession, but they are better educated and their health has improved, according to a new report released Monday.

The annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the number of Washington children living in poverty has increased to 18 percent, but poverty in the state is still well below the national average.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A single shiny red apple sat atop each desk on the Washington Senate floor Wednesday to represent a day full of voting on education issues. Senators deliberated and passed multiple measures. One would rank schools with A through F grades. Another would make it easier for principals to get rid of ineffective teachers.

But Democrats like Sen. David Frockt point out that lawmakers have not yet responded to a state Supreme Court ruling known as the McCleary decision. It requires more funding for schools.

Idaho is starting to see the education gap narrow for Latino students. That's according to the state's Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Latinos are the fastest growing segment of Idaho’s school system.

The commission's director Margie Gonzalez told a legislative panel the days of double digit drop-out rates for Hispanic kids are gone. More Latinos are enrolling in college. And last month, a national assessment of vocabulary showed huge gains among Hispanic students in Idaho.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Dozens of visually impaired people with white canes and guide dogs protested outside Amazon.com’s headquarters in Seattle today. They say Amazon’s Kindle e-readers aren’t fully accessible to the blind

thekellyscope

Update: An Amazon.com spokeswoman did return my call after this story aired, but declined to comment.

Blind people – including former New York Governor David Paterson – are planning to protest at Amazon.com today. They want the company to make its Kindle device and apps more accessible to the visually impaired, especially kids as e-readers start to be used in schools. 

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is asking state lawmakers to cap cost of living pay increases for public sector retirees. 

MOSCOW, Idaho - The "world's most comprehensive collection" of opium smoking paraphernalia has a new home; it's at the University of Idaho. A writer and collector, originally from San Diego, donated the exquisite antiques.

It's taking weeks to carefully unpack and catalogue all the opium smoking implements and accessories. Collector Steven Martin estimates he donated at least 1,000 pieces... ceramic opium pipe bowls, ornamented heating lamps, traveling kits, scrapers, old photographs and mug shots.

A school district in southwest Idaho says the book “Like Water for Chocolate” is inappropriate for high school sophomores. It’s banning the book from the curriculum.

The 1989 book by Mexican author Laura Esquivel includes vivid descriptions of sexual arousal. Nampa School District spokeswoman Allison Westfall says over the weekend, administrators reviewed the passages after receiving complaints.

The latest community college enrollment numbers may hold a clue to what’s happening in the Northwest’s economy. Some two-year institutions in the region are seeing the first decline in class registration since the recession.

At the bookstore at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, the piles of textbooks students buy are kind of like a bar graph for the local unemployment rate.

The principal of rural Toppenish High School, south of Yakima, has been named national high school principal of the year and will be honored in Washington, D.C. in a few weeks.

It's tempting to make a "fight club" reference (and some news outlets have), but the outrageous nature of the allegations seems to call for a more straight-forward approach:

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