What is needed for STEM in Seattle is for the city and its citizens to insist that we focus first on nurturing and developing the interests and enthusiasm of our own kids in STEM [“What keeps girls from studying physics and STEM,” Opinion, Sept. 14]. At the same time, we need policies designed…More
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I was deeply touched and grateful for former Gov. Dan Evan’s eloquent summary of our humane immigration policies of the recent past, and his courageous call for similar assistance to victims of the current crisis [“This is not America’s first immigration crisis,” Opinion, Aug. 2]. Against this backdrop, I find it especially jarring…More
Why aren’t more women choosing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers? [“State needs to do more to get girls interested in STEM learning,” Opinion, July 25]. Schools, the media and society are all promoting STEM for students, including girls. Even the workplace is friendly and accommodating with supportive policies, environments and good wages. And…More
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
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].
On Sunday, The Seattle Times editorial board published its education priorities for the 2014 Washington state Legislature. “The Legislature, which convenes Jan. 13, should continue its work on the kinds of reforms, investments and outcomes that support a first-class education system, from ages 3 to 23.” The editorials focused on three key areas for the Legislature to tackle: early learning, K-12 and STEM education.
Readers weigh in on what’s arguably priority No. 1 this year in Olympia:
Teacher evaluations don’t capture nuances in teaching
Teachers are not afraid of evaluations; they are actually eager to learn how to be better teachers [“Targeting education, Opinion, Jan. 5”]. The problem is that the people designing teacher evaluations don’t appreciate how nuanced teaching and learning is. Their solutions punish rather than inform teachers.
Over the past several years, high schools seem to be interested only in encouraging students to pursue a university or college level education [“Better STEM education, training needed for mismatched workers,” Opinion, Nov. 14]; while this is a good and beneficial idea for most of society, there seems to be a marked lacking legislators’ understanding for the need of vocational postsecondary education training.
Nick Brossoit made a good point in his guest column [“Start a Washington state institute of technology,” Opinion, Dec. 15]. Our state does have an urgent need for STEM graduates. However, creating a new institution may not be the answer. Washington can narrow the skills gap by increasing STEM opportunities at two-year and four-year colleges.
Employers need STEM training at all levels — from certificates to bachelor’s degrees and beyond. Our 34 community and technical colleges fill the need. Students train for direct entry into STEM jobs, earn applied bachelor’s degrees or transfer to university STEM majors.
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.
Large technology companies are greedy It depends on what qualifications you’re talking about. There are plenty of technically qualified people here in Western Washington and around the country who are whiz-bangs at what they do, who have been laid off from full-time jobs with benefits and then hired back as contractors for half the wage that…More