To the editor:
How often do you hear or read how America's youth are lacking in math and science skills? And how often do you hear or read how professions that require math and science skills are among the top-rated jobs a person can acquire? The answer to both of these questions should be "quite often."
Why are America's youth lacking in the very skills that would do so well by them in the future? I believe it comes down to a matter of ambition. These types of jobs are obtainable with (1) a little hard work and (2) a spark of ambition and interest. The latter of the two, I believe, comes naturally with a sound foundation of math and science knowledge that is gained at the high school education level.
Although fundamentally important, math and science classes fall back-seat to the influence of applied math and science skills gained in technology classes. It is here that the real-world applications of these skills ignites the aforementioned "spark of ambition" in high school students to further pursue higher education that yields these top-rated math and science intensive jobs.
I was not and never will be talented in art. In light of that, during the leap from middle school to high school in Saranac Lake, my parents encouraged me to enroll in technology classes with Roger King. I acted on their advice and loved these classes from the get-go. When Mr. King retired halfway through my high school career, Josh Marlowe took over. Again, his classes were what I looked forward to every day. Many of my fondest high school memories involve those classes with the other future engineers and technology professionals. Those classes were my spark.
The recent measures to alleviate the budget deficit include cutting a technology position at the high school. I understand that this was a business decision, but I question if it was the right decision. I am concerned that present and future high school students will not have the same opportunities that I had and that it will hinder their futures. I urge the school board to think long and hard about the decisions they are making and to reconsider this matter in the very near future. Furthermore, I urge anyone and everyone who has an opinion on this subject to voice it. (Kudos to Sarah Reynolds' letter entitled "Limiting options hurts students," posted on April 8.)
I am a practicing civil engineer for a firm that consults to the global mining industry. I would not have made it to where I am today if it wasn't for my parents, Mr. King, Mr. Marlowe and the technology courses that were offered when I was in high school. Just my two cents on what I perceive to be a shameful act.