In an Education Lab blog post, the writer indicated that researchers were not sure why good English teaching led to higher math scores other than that students must read and write to do math [“To raise math scores, hire a good English teacher,” Feb. 26]. I’d like to demonstrate further just why reading…More
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Include arts in STEM learning
Guest columnist Robin Lake makes a compelling argument for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education [“Washington state lags rest of U.S. on STEM education,” Opinion, Feb. 9]. I only wish that she had included the “A” for the arts, making it STEAM instead of STEM. STEAM includes the arts as a vital part of each student’s education.
The data support the economic argument for increasing STEM education. But data need to be interpreted to get a better idea of the big picture. Seventy percent of all new jobs may be in computer-related occupations, but that encompasses a broad category, which covers everything from data entry to designing video games to curing cancer. Which would you rather do and how should you prepare yourself to do it?
Technical proficiency isn’t enough. You will need creative problem solving skills and imagination. Both can be acquired through the arts. The arts are valuable in and of themselves for the meaning, richness, depth and perspective that they add to our lives.
If we want to engage more students, we need to spark their interests and their passions. The arts are a great way to accomplish this. Innovative thinking should prepare our students for fulfilling careers in a variety of fields.
Kristin Austin, Bothell
STEM isn’t right for everyone
Isn’t education reform a fascinating topic. Only ten years ago SLCs (Small Learning Communities, aka “small schools”) were the answer to all of our education problems. Then DLCs (Digital Learning Commons) became the new silver bullet in education. Then “Mainstreaming.”More
Who decided to have a parade in the middle of a school day? ["Seahawks parade starts at 11 a.m. Better bundle up," Today File, Feb. 4] For the past four weeks, schools have been going crazy with Seahawk pride. Our children have been dressing up, decorating their classes, raising 12th Man flags, and incorporating…More
Hope Yen’s article presented interesting statistics without providing any insight regarding causation [“The new face of food stamps: working-age Americans,” Nation & World, Jan. 26]. There are many more workers with some college education today because many more people are being herded into colleges whether they have the necessary capabilities or the financial wherewithal….More
How to close the achievement gap
Schools face growing expectations and cannot alone ensure the future success of our state’s students, especially struggling students who need additional supports to thrive academically and in all areas of life. The Seattle Times’ editorials on education priorities for the 2014 legislative session was correct to include expanded learning opportunities, partnerships, summer learning and culturally responsive instruction as key strategies to close the achievement gap [“Targeting education,” Opinion, Jan. 5].
We need an alternative to our failing public schools
Hats off to King County Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel for declaring the charter school initiative constitutional [“A charter schools victory,” Opinion, Dec. 15].
Voters have finally seen the light and approved the initiative, which had been voted down twice in the past eight years. The Washington Education Association continues to fight the constitutionality of the initiative, and it appears that our public schoolteachers don’t care that 30 percent of students drop out of high school, primarily minorities in low-income areas.
Will reduce class size and provide students with more options
It is clear that funding for charter schools is desirable. [“Charter school decision raises questions,” page one, Dec. 13].
The ambiguity of the judge’s decision will lead to more debate about where that money will come from.
I think charter schools should not get funding from property taxes. Funding these schools with property taxes is unfair because there are plenty of other sources of revenue for these schools. The idea behind funding public schools with property taxes is that local money goes to the local school.
Recognize when a student needs help
Thank you for highlighting the issue of school attendance [“Attendance counts,” page one, Nov. 21].
I am a clinician with Sound Mental Health and the clients I see almost all struggle with regular attendance.
Noticing this is the first step to flagging that something more is going on with this student. Every behavior is a form of communication and schools need to recognize that a punitive response will not solve the problem.
Allows students to develop skills both in and out of STEM fields
Lynne K. Varner illustrated the need for improved STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in her recent column [“Better STEM education, training needed for mismatched workers,” Opinion, Nov. 15].
But I do not fully agree with her reasoning. We do not need our schools to become STEM education factories, providing an assembly line of students to fill jobs. We need to provide students with comprehensive educational opportunities that allow them to develop a wide variety of skills, both in and out of the STEM fields.
Technology is pervasive in our society and students will benefit from the exposure
Kudos to Microsoft for their global YouthSpark initiative and for the Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program that it is bringing to our schools [“How to prepare students for computer science careers,” Opinion, Nov. 14].
I agree with Lori Forte Harnick. In today’s environment, computer science classes should be offered in our schools. In our society, where technology is pervasive, most of our students will benefit from exposure to computer science while they find and pursue their own dreams.