If you want to go to college to learn how to design, build, fly or fix a drone, your time has come. Many institutions of higher learning around the Northwest are recognizing that unmanned aircraft could become a key technology of the future.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

Many Washington students are graduating high school with little to no idea about how to handle their money. Experts say that could lead students down a path of debt and stress. That’s why some people are trying to teach high school students better ways to deal with personal finances now.

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The State Supreme Court is ratcheting up pressure on the legislature to fix problems with how the state funds public schools.  Justices have announced they’ll fine the state $100,000 a day until lawmakers lay out a complete plan to close the McCleary school funding case. 

Lawmakers in Olympia are in a special session to finalize the Washington state budget. Some teachers’ unions have decided to walk out for a day to appeal for more money in the K-12 budget.

Credit Franz Jantzen / Supreme Court Website


Washington lawmakers are already days into a special session, but they still need to deal with a court mandate to fund basic education.

Lawmakers met today to discuss options. They’re torn between competing plans to give more funding to schools.

In the McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature was not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to fully fund education.Lawmakers need to find a way to do that before 2019. 

Republican Senator Bruce Dammeier says lawmakers have unfairly burdened school districts.

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The top education official in Washington State said teachers could face investigation and schools could lose funding - if the number of students refusing standardized tests keeps rising. 

Washington superintendent Randy Dorn doesn't like the phrase "opt-out."

"It's really a refusal to take an assessment that's required by the federal government," Dorn said.

He said low participation rates could cost schools federal money.

Idaho teachers could start seeing raises as soon as next fall after Governor Butch Otter signed a pay plan known as the “career ladder” into law Thursday.

Idaho school districts say the state needs to offer better pay if it’s going to attract qualified teachers -- or keep the ones it has.

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Idaho parents who don’t want their child to have to pass the state’s standardized test for graduation would be able to opt-out under a bill in the state Senate.

Students would instead be allowed to go through an alternative assessment developed by districts.

Republican Senator Steven Thayne is sponsoring the bill.

“There are some parents that are very concerned by more and more testing. And one reason we’re bringing this bill forward is we’re trying to give a voice to those parents who have concerns,” Thayne said.

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Oregon's House Education Committee heard testimony Monday on high-stakes exams. A work group of teachers and administrators has recommended less emphasis on end-of-year state exams and more focus on classroom-level assessments.

One House bill would delay using the new "Smarter Balanced" exam results to judge schools and teachers. Another would make it easier to opt out of the tests. Portland parent and teacher Elizabeth Thiel argued that bill should go further - and prohibit sanctions against schools like hers, where students are opting out.