The future of education and the outlook for our 21st century workforce has never been more promising, or more daunting. A 2012 OECD study of high-school academic achievement around the world found the United States struggling with below-average scores in science, reading, and math. Ranking 27 out of 65 countries assessed, the U.S. appears to be a complacent superpower sitting in the back of the class and shooting spitballs at Russia – one of our academic equals – while China, Singapore, and South Korea quietly outperform us in nearly every subject. Consider also that robotics and software automation are already disrupting the manufacturing, transportation, food production, information technology, and retail industries, just to name a few.
American is lagging behind academically, but while the world faces a technological revolution comparable to the Age of Steam, West Virginia is cutting funding to public schools across the state due to a projected deficit of $250+ million for FY 2016. We must do everything in our power here in Jefferson County to support our students and their teachers. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, known collectively as STEAM, are the foundation of education in the 21st century, and these skills taught together can power our state and nation toward a better tomorrow. We owe it to our children to provide them with competent educators and resources to prepare them for whatever vocation they pursue – whether cybersecurity analyst, farmer, artisan, roboticist, some combination thereof, or something we haven’t yet imagined.
As a Jefferson County resident and homeowner, I wholeheartedly urge my fellow citizens to vote on Dec. 12 to renew the Excess Levy – for our children, for our teachers, for our libraries, and for our future.
This statement ran as a letter to the editor in the Spirit of Jefferson on Dec. 9, 2015.
For more information on the Levy, visit http://boe.jeff.k12.wv.us/levy2015
Election Day is Dec. 12, 2015, and the polls are open from 6:30am - 7:30 pm. You can find your polling station from the Jefferson County Clerk's Office.