“The incredible talent that the University of Washington pumps out every year was on display during Tuesday’s Seattle Tech Meetup, as five startups with UW ties gave five-minute pitches to the crowd at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering.
“But unfortunately for the state, the UW is one of the few bright spots amidst an otherwise struggling education system with regard to producing tech talent. While Washington ranks fourth in the nation for tech-related companies, the state comes in a disappointing 46th for participation in science and engineering graduate programs.
“And that’s exactly why Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the UW, stood at the podium as the final speaker on Tuesday and implored the crowd to start supporting education in Washington.
“‘My ask is for you to become advocates for better education at every level in this state,’ Lazowska said.
“He asked the audience to raise their hands if they were from Washington — the vast majority of them grew up elsewhere and have moved here. It was a perfect example, Lazowska said, of how Washington is the No. 1 importer in the nation per capita of bachelors-educated individuals.
“Yet while it’s great that people come here for the abundance of jobs, the state isn’t exactly doing a good job of grooming homegrown talent.
“‘Our state is the ass end of the donkey in just about every aspect of education and in just about every aspect of preparing Washington’s kids for Washington’s jobs,’ Lazowska said …
“‘Before long, these will be your kids we’re talking about,’ he said. ‘What are you going to do to improve the situation?'”