This morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a story (sorry, premium content/no link) about how students in Georgia and the nation are no more interested in careers in science, math, and technology than they were a decade ago. Quelle horreur!
A key finding of a U.S. News & World Report study was that interest had actually fallen between 2009 and 2013.
Hey, you know what else had fallen between 2009 and 2013? FUNDING FOR K-12 EDUCATION IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, you freaking morons.
Between 2000 and 2011, I watched my media center’s budget shrivel to $0. That is Z-E-R-O dollars. The only money I had to buy books with was raised by the PTO’s book fairs. That’s it. So whatever I was supposed to be doing to help turn our children into wonks and geeks wasn’t getting done. At the same time, the overwhelming focus on reading and math meant that science was barely taught at the elementary level.
Between 2003 and 2013, I watched the budget for the Governor’s Honors Program [GHP] go from about $1.6 million to about half of that. Our science classes had to scrounge discarded computers from VSU to do their lab work. They had to trek down to the library to do even the slightest bit of web research. Purchase of spiffy materials or equipment was out of the question. Experimental work that took longer than two and a half weeks was not doable within our crippled four week program. Our technology and design classes were coasting on computers we bought years ago. We were “significantly different from the regular high school classroom” only in being significantly behind.
So don’t come wringing your hands to me, Powers That Be. If making sure that more of our students desired careers in the STEM fields had been important to you, you would have bloody invested in making sure it bloody happened. You didn’t. Fuck off.1
update: I need to clarify that our GHP science/tech/design classes were “significantly different,” of course, because of the incredible instructors and their ability to focus on the process, but boy it would have helped if I had been able to, you know, buy stuff for them.
1 Apologies for the language.2
2 Not really.