Ketchikan school budget
By Charles Edwardson
March 06, 2008
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
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.
Received March 05, 2008 - Published
March 06, 2008
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