March 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM
Science education should start earlier
Here we go again. Time and again, Bill Gates and his ilk look to high schools and colleges to bring up student achievement in math and science [“Science, math education backers find friends in U.S. Capitol,” NWWednesday, March 20]. Yet, since the state doesn’t test students in science until eighth grade, most students don’t get any science education until they hit middle school.
Other countries begin science education early, giving their students a head start over ours. I realize that many elementary school teachers are not comfortable with science, but we have music and physical-education specialists in the schools.
It is high time we put our money where our mouths are and put science-education specialists in the elementary schools.
–Linda Hill, Bothell
March 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Possible conflicts of interests should be defused
I agree with U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene that her background does not present a conflict of interest with her current role [“Foreign workers’ visas familiar issue for DelBene,” NWSunday, March 3]. In fact, it would be an advantage in understanding the intricacies of current immigration law.
However, I take issue with her belief that a conflict of interest does not currently exist.
When the largest contributors to her campaign for the House of Representatives, and her family’s income via her husband Kurt DelBene, are directly impacted by any work she may do on H-1B visas, there is a conflict of interest.
Either she does not know what conflict of interest is, or she just does not care. I find either option frightening.
Her constituents, the people that voted her into office, deserve better.
The bar should not be that she would benefit or has benefitted; it should be that she might. If Suzan DelBene or any other representative or senator might personally benefit from a piece of legislation, they should recuse themselves. DelBene, (as well as all U.S. representatives and senators) should not even allow the perception that their vote is for sale to the highest contributor.
–Jeffrey D. Myers, Bellevue
Unemployed, underemployed domestic workers ignored
In the softball article featuring Rep. Suzan DelBene, the Microsoft insider says she met with industry officials to bolster her labor immigration opinions.
I note she did not mention meeting with unemployed or underemployed computer scientists. Many of these incurred significant subsidized student debt to get their degrees, but many job opportunities have been pre-empted by imported H-1B indentured labor.
DelBene seems to have absorbed the corporate line. Corporate Kool-Aid is not a health drink, even if your mother gives you lots of it.
–Dwight Rousu, Redmond
July 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM
State employees get cuts while foreigners get free tuition
Why does the state feel it is so beneficial to give tuition breaks to foreign professionals, their spouses and children? I am an employee at the University of Washington, and my wife and I receive a tuition exemption.
My children — who are now at and close to college age — don’t receive any tuition break. They’re the future of this country and deserve that break. As an employee, it is beyond my financial means to send my children to the UW, though I would like to. There is no exemption even at the community-college level.
I was born in this country. I live and work here. I pay my taxes. Foreigners go to work at Microsoft and Amazon (who seem to have a state representative or two in their back pocket) and receive preferential treatment.
What do state employees get? A 5 percent to 10 percent wage cut, a governor who denies us a fair contract, not even community-college tuition for our children and treatment as second-class citizens at a so-called “world-class” institution.
It seems to me that foreign professionals are being treated better than American blue-collar workers.
– Phillip R. Salvador, Shoreline
Isn’t giving jobs to best candidate at capitalism’s core?
Kathleen E. Bukoskey sees no benefit ["Let's not give our jobs away," Opinion, Northwest Voices, July 2] from 12 visa programs that bring foreigners, including teachers, to the U.S. to study and work.
Consider this: A typical high-school student in Europe is multilingual and already knows calculus. Exchange teachers from the U.S. find themselves deficient to teach at the same level in Europe, where students’ math skills exceed theirs. At a respected American university, a foreign instructor may get better results from students than a local professor who wrote the textbook, and Asian students are the only ones to be found in its libraries and laboratories on weekends. American high-tech companies, starving for talent, establish research centers in Canada, Japan and China to foster competition and creativity.
It’s funny how some people who advocate capitalism run to the government for help when competition, capitalism’s core, bites them in a tender spot. Even funnier is that they blame immigration for our loss of jobs, while at the same time, other countries worry about emigration of talent, or “brain drain.”
Most of our problem is homegrown. Greedy corporate executives knowingly employ illegal, low-skilled workers to avoid paying decent wages, and xenophobic government policies send foreign university graduates back to their country of origin, leaving disproportionate numbers of low-skilled natives who are too proud or lazy to apply for menial jobs and highly educated con-artists who become greedy corporate executives.
– James Bruner, Oak Harbor
January 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM
John Lok / The Seattle Times
What it means
to invest “seed capital”
Editor, The Times:
Ditto to The Seattle Times editorial about Microsoft’s layoffs ["Microsoft's layoffs: challenge, opportunity," Jan. 24]. Microsoft was an innovative Northwest company that took a small idea, “software,” and made it into a big idea.
We need more innovative new industries that can make this happen, such as the solar-power industry. I know it well; I am a solar-energy inventor.
Like it or not, most solar-energy inventions take 20 years to develop before hitting the market. What investors today call “seed capital,” is really “developmental capital” after the inventor has spent 20 years trying to develop their product.
There is a gap in investment capital between “proof of commercial market” and the patent issued, at least when it comes to renewable energy. Gone are the days when Nikola Tesla would invent alternating current (AC) systems and Westinghouse Electric Company would invest.
Today, what investors call “seed capital” isn’t really seed capital at all. They don’t want to take the risk. It is the burden of the investor to come up with $10 million development plans to raise $10 million in “seed capital.”
We have numerous solar inventions sitting idle; nothing is going to happen unless investors change their attitudes.
If solar technology were fully developed, we could employ people, giving inventions a “Made in Washington state” stamp, not “Made in China.”
— Martin Nix, Seattle
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