In yet another "look how backwards Washington State is and how terrible public education is here" op-eds at the Seattle Times, their newest one features Robin Lake of the Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Basically, our state is not doing enough to train more STEM graduates. I use that word "train" deliberately because she seems to think you can just churn out these grads and that is not the case.
First, it would help to understand that it is a societal problem. Girls are encouraged to think "math is hard." Every single profile about Bill Gates and his life is guaranteed to use the words "nerd" or "geek."
Something has to change for it to be okay to be a smart kid in the U.S. (And NOT supporting all the kids who are doing well also kills the chances for more STEM grads.)
Second, the Center on Reinventing Public Education is a mostly charter school think tank. Remember that when you read this op-ed.
Ms. Lake says:
"Although we have some schools experimenting with different
approaches to STEM, we have no way to track which ones are more
effective and to replicate them."
Ditto on charters. (Amazingly, Ms. Lake's last posting at the CRPE
"blog" was decrying the number of terrible charter schools she found on
her visit to Detroit.)
But moving on, I note that she wants the public universities and
colleges to allow in MORE students in their computer science programs. I
note that she does NOT explain how to teach all those students with the
same number of resources.
Also, what kind of jobs do STEM graduates at UW Bothell get compared
to UW's Computer Science and Engineering department? How do they
compare? It's the big picture - what kind of STEM are you talking
about? Are we trying to churn out more lower-level STEM workers or
higher-level STEM workers?
She wants to pay STEM teachers in K-12 more. Okay, with what money?
Because Senator Rodney Tom says there is no new revenue so what
program would she suggest cutting for this?
Our Legislature does not fully-fund education K-12 education. We
don't even fund to national average. Our Legislature has slashed
It's not enough - from either CRPE or the Times - to have these
toss-off op-eds about how badly public education is doing when they have
no real answers as to how to fund all these initiatives.
She's right about where the future is for jobs in this country. But where is the support for the education to get us there? That's the real question.