Despite signs that the state economy is improving, finding money to send children to college is still becoming more difficult.

More students received financial aid last year, but even more families aren't getting the help they need, according to a new report from the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Education researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have a message for the citizens of Washington state. They want them to know that the state government is failing to meet its responsibility to provide enough opportunities for a college education in Washington.

BlueTurf / Flickr

Boise State University’s football program joins the Big East in 2013. That’s the official word from league and university officials today .

Nearly 70,000 people in Idaho don’t have jobs. That’s according to estimates from the Idaho Department of Labor. That figure doesn’t take into account the thousands of people who are underemployed or who’ve given up the search.

Justy Thomas was 34 years old then, and like so many in her situation, was at a crossroads. When Thomas lost her job four years ago she decided to college.

Thomas: "I wanted to do a reset. I wanted to change my career"

She says going to college also seemed like a necessity.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Most people can remember a favorite teacher – the one who got you love a certain book or made science class exciting. But you may also remember that bad teacher – the one who made your life miserable. And according to the studies, those teachers may have had just as big an impact on your education.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. - An old proverb goes like this: "Each one, teach one." It means that everyone is responsible for passing along knowledge to the next generation. That's true in many professions. A senior surgeon will demonstrate a high-stakes operation to a young medical student. A veteran fire-fighter will show the ropes to a fresh-faced rookie.

The Environmental Protection Agency says hazardous contaminants that most schools have gotten rid of remain in more than 160 government-operated tribal schools. That includes six in the Northwest. A new settlement aims to bring schools in Native American communities up to standards.

EPA inspections of tribal schools between 2005 and 2008 found violations of seven environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Members of Oregon’s largest public workers' union have approved a new two-year contract. It's the first time state workers have agreed to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums.

Members of SEIU Local 503 voted to ratify the contract 77% to 23%. The agreement means that many state workers will pay around 5% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Employees will also have to take unpaid furlough days. They'll also get cost of living pay increases.

Associated Press

Ever since a University of Washington study published in a major medical journal in 2007 showed baby videos don't make infants smarter, the creators of the Baby Einstein series have been battling the university in court and in the media.


The Washington State Board for Community and Technical colleges voted Thursday to raise tuition by an average of 12 percent next year. That's the maximum the Legislature allowed in the state budget.

Washington high school students continue to do well on statewide tests in reading and writing, but only about half are passing the science assessment.

Of this year's tenth graders, more than 81 percent passed the reading test on their first try and nearly 84 percent passed the writing test. Results from math tests will be released in August. The passage rates are above 90 percent for this year's seniors, who have had multiple chances to pass.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It's a day of disappointment in the northwest for fans of US space exploration. 

Seattle's Museum of Flight got official word this morning that it will not be home to one of the three space shuttles NASA is retiring.  And it won't get the prototype Enterprise (which was only used for test flights and never reached space) either.

The shuttles are going to:

Graphic courtesy of Museum of Flight.

The odds are about one in seven.  That's the skinny on Seattle's bid to become a host site for one of NASA's retiring space shuttles. 

Seattle Times writer Jack Broom sums up the situation nicely in that paper's latest story on the question. Broom notes the Museum of Flight's chances were diminished slightly last week:

Washington voters elected him state superintendent of public schools. Now Governor Chris Gregoire wants to takeover his portfolio. Randy Dorn is fuming over the Governor’s proposal to create a cabinet-level Department of Education.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The State Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the state’s formula for calculating how much money school districts get for special education classes.

Washington's lawmakers will meet in special session on Saturday to start chopping away at a billion-dollar budget shortfall. The governor and legislative leaders emerged from a closed door meeting yesterday with a budget deal. 

The plan is for a one-day special session. Legislative leaders from both parties and Governor Chris Gregoire have agreed to an immediate round of fresh cuts. The goal is to reduce the current $1.1 billion budget shortfall by about half. 

The number of poor children on the waitlist for preschool in Washington has tripled over the past three years. And now the problem may get worse. Governor Chris Gregoire’s across-the-board budget reductions threaten to cut more than 100 kids who are already enrolled.