SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ketchikan school budget
By Charles Edwardson


March 06, 2008
Thursday PM

I received some very good feedback from my last letter, on the school activities budget. I was encouraged to approach the borough assembly and the budget committee and present my thoughts.

I will encourage this district not to go down the same path we went down for the past decade or so in regards on how we prioritized vocational training in Ketchikan. In the late eighties, early nineties, there was a shift in priorities in our schools that shifted away from vocational training i.e., shop class, welding, auto mechanics, marine technology, and similar trade oriented classes.

Now we find ourselves with a clear and obvious shortage of people in these trades and when I teach construction technology at UAS Ketchikan I find an alarming percentage of the students lack the very basic fundamental skills that should be taught in high school, like how to add fractions and simply read a tape measurer. Common everyday tasks that are completely unknown to most of the students due to lack of exposure to this type of training.

How this relates to how we are approaching "activities" in our district is that we are now backtracking and trying to establish a "vocational training" culture back into our school system due to a lack of workers available in the trades in our state and nationwide. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and a whole generation of kids has not been exposed to the basic fundamental skills that a large majority of our kids will need, as a large percentage of them will inevitably end up in a trade oriented job.

If we keep whittling away our focus on "activities" as we did vocational training it will be some years until we feel the negative effects but they will be felt as they are now with our playing catch up on vocational training.

And to the writer who commented on wanting to watch my daughter play basketball for how many years she has left -- when I said I have had a kid for seven consecutive years on Kayhi varsity ball, it was not the same kid,, I have four daughters. Three of them have been Schoenbar Knights, prior to that dribblers league, all three had the focus to want to be a Lady King and now my ten year old is tearing up the dribblers league. At ten years old she has been playing for five years. They are approaching everything like they approach the sport they love, with the intention of winning. I know first hand the value of activities. Look around we are surrounded by community leaders that were more than likely involved in an extra student activity, not necessarily a sport either, there are many activities that happen not related to sports, this is just the area I am most familiar with.

Charles Edwardson
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 05, 2008 - Published March 06, 2008


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