Supporters lament plan to cut 2nd year high school science

8:39 PM, May 23, 2012   |    comments
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The California finalists for Intel's Science Competition have developed truly amazing things ... they began their projects in high school.

The genetic test James Thomas of San Jose generated will be helpful.

"I created a model that actually has 92 percent accuracy in predicting the onset of alcoholism in individuals," Thomas said.

The technology Jessica Richeri of Riverside developed will change the way we drive.

"My research finds a way to avoid traffic in the future with an autonomous robotic vehicle," said Richeri.

Supporters believe this illustrates how innovation can stimulate California's economy ... that these kids are tomorrow's job creators, and it all begins with STEM: science, technology, education and math.

But because of California's continued budget crisis, the governor proposes to cut the second-year science requirement in high school to save $245 million.

For decades, schools have always gotten reimbursed by the state for teaching a second science class ... but Gov. Brown wants to move away from state mandates because they're too expensive. He dropped by the science fair and said the cuts mean districts will have to find the money themselves to continue the program.

"I personally went to the school board and said this is a good requirement, but we want the locals to pick up that up. Otherwise, they charge us," Brown said.

Critics say, though, after years of decreased state funding, schools can barely keep the lights on, let alone pay for science curriculum.

"The problem is," said Matt Gray with California STEM Learning Network, "All of this is being done during a time when other states and other countries are boosting their science and technology to make their students and their population more competitive in this global market."))

The other problem is the University of California and Cal State both require two years of science for admission.

So if you're in a school where you can't take that second class, it'll be tough to get in.

The options?

"I go to Carnegie Mellon University," said Richeri.

"I'm going to MIT this fall," said Thomas.

A California brain drain.

Nannette Miranda


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