In response to a story that ran recently about a state proposal to eliminate the mandate for a second year of science as a high school graduation requirement, a reader from Petaluma, Jim Jones, sent me this letter. Do other readers have thoughts on his points?
Dear Ms. Benefield:
I was disturbed to hear that the state is considering reducing the high school graduation requirement from two years of science to one year. I agree with your conclusion that when the second year of science is no longer mandatory, it will be fair game for cuts to preserve the classes to prepare the students for testing.
There was an issue not mentioned in your article. That issue is that students of science are clients for education in math and language arts. The study of science and the act of doing simple experiments gives students an opportunity to put to use the academic skills of math and language.
I believe that there are many more students who like science than there are students who like math for math’s sake or English for the sake of the art of reading itself. I believe that the student who likes science and wants to do well will automatically do their best in English and Math classes. They have a REASON TO STUDY.
Science classes are not the only classes that encourage students to apply themselves to the purely academic English and Math classes. Shop classes and Home Economics classes can also motivate a student to study English and Math so that they can excel in the practical class for which they have a burning passion. Sadly, we’ve pretty much lost the battle to preserve those classes. They were they some of the earliest victims of budget cuts.
I believe that reduction in Science classes will cause Reading and Math scores to fall, not rise because of the reduction in motivation of some of the top students.
Governor Jerry Brown’s late father, former governor Pat Brown would turn over in his grave if he knew what was happening to his beloved Master Plan for Education. Shame on us collectively as California parents if we allow our educational system to be ruined to balance the budget.
You may publish this as you see fit.