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Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

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October 17, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Schools must better balance technology and privacy rights

Paul Tong/Op Art

Paul Tong/Op Art

Technology is as omnipresent in public education as pencils and paper. We’ve seen the growth in tools like interactive white boards, document cameras and those egg-shaped devices that help students respond in classrooms. But another side of the technology debate revolves around  storage of the copious amounts of data collected by schools, school districts and state education departments. So much data is floating around that districts around the country have turned to private companies to store information in the cloud. The companies protect files with high-level encryption, but still privacy rights advocates are mounting challenges to districts that rely on third parties for data storage outside of schools, reports The New York Times. Privacy advocates’ paranoia is not totally unwarranted. 

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0 Comments | Topics: children, Education, Google

May 7, 2013 at 7:03 AM

H-1B visas good for skilled foreign workers, not so good for the accompanying spouses

Ananya Rabeya, is an H-4 dependent spouse who cannot legally work in the U.S. She volunteers as a tutor at Yesler Terrace. (Photo: Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times)

Ananya Rabeya, is an H-4 dependent spouse who cannot legally work in the U.S. She volunteers as a tutor at Yesler Terrace.
(Photo: Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times)

Recent Seattle Times stories about the H-1B visa program offered a lot of food for thought on immigration reform. The first story explored whether technology companies and other leading industries use this area of the immigration law to favor skilled foreign workers over equally skilled American workers. Some labor economists argue that American companies take the easy way out by hiring from abroad rather than choosing unemployed American workers with similar skills. Other labor economists, joined by Microsoft, Facebook and other technology companies, argue that thousands of jobs would go unfilled if not for the visa program.

The second story shined a spotlight on the lives of spouses of H-1B visa holders. They hold the immigration status of H-4 visa spouse. They are often educated and experienced in their field but they are not legally authorized to work. They do not have a Social Security number. Some are able to seek H-1B visas on their own – a time-consuming and expensive process for employers – or the spouses may take classes and hold out hope for one day returning to the workforce either here or in their native country.

These spouses, largely women, are not sitting idly at home.

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0 Comments | Topics: congress, Facebook, Google