Friday, September 25, 2020


Taking the Lead

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an educational setting. These areas of study have been neglected over decades with the closure of many vocational and technical schools as local school systems, colleges, universities, and parents have pushed “Johnny” to attend four-year institutions believing that success depends on this path. Nothing could be further from the truth for many students.

The result of promoting college for many of our youth is unhappiness, debt, poor job opportunities (often because of poor major choices), and even dropping out, certainly viewed as failure in our society. Although every parent wants to encourage his or her children to aspire, it’s based on what adults believe is the way to success.

What parent wouldn’t want to say “My child is going to be a doctor”? Four factors are at work here: parental belief that sending children to college is their best chance for success, the unrelenting recruitment of students by colleges whose goal is filling seats assuring that money that flows in, easy availability of student loans, and the rating of secondary schools based on the percentage of students who go to college and how many go to the best colleges.

The result of decades of these beliefs and actions is that employers can’t find qualified workers. This is one of the factors that cause employers to move out of state, taking jobs, residents, our children, and tax revenue with them. Locally the initiation of a STEM program is being driven by the Clinton Manufacturers Coalition in partnership with the Clinton School System under the leadership of Superintendent of Schools Maryann O’Donnell and Assistant Superintendent Marco Famiglietti and Clinton’s Economic Development Commission with members Bob Werner and Hank Teskey taking the lead. Parents are encouraged to ask for and about this program.

Phil Sengle