Public education key to competing globally

I’ve noticed comments made by company officers looking to locate in Alpena area which indicate that we do not have a work force in our area trained to preform the highly technical skills needed to produce products.

Vocationally technically trained work force is not a given outcome of “one size fits all” programs dictated by legislators and standardized testing. Technology as well as the application of that technology cannot easily be taught by reading textbooks and testing with written standardized tests. Knowledge of and the ability to design, invent, produce, operate and troubleshoot is best taught and evaluated by hands-on experiences. This requires modern equipment, futuristic curriculum and a lower teacher-pupil ratio.

Shortage of educators in the STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) areas is no surprise. Vilification of teaching professionals, loss of stability, loss of health insurance, loss of retirement, loss of union protections, and low salaries all contribute to that shortage. Employment in areas other than education becomes more desirable for highly qualified college graduates.

To compete in a global society, the American public must realize that public education for the future must be accomplished with taxpayer support and legislative cooperation. Public education for all to meet the needs not only of industry but also society must include exceptional vocational, technical education as well as top quality academic professional education. Along with this must exist a qualified, respected, valued cadre of educators.

An educational program dealing with funding of education will convene on Nov. 2, 2017, at Grace Lutheran Church with a presentation by Craig Thiel, a researcher for Citizens Research Council. In addition Dr. Don MacMasters, ACC, Dr. John Van Wagoner, APS, Scott Reynolds, ESD, and Mr. Dan O’Connor, Alcona will join the discussion. Public is encouraged to attend.

Pauline Buchner