Budget cuts to hurt key DHS programs

We have a crisis building in our current educational system. The budget is balanced, and our kids each year have fewer and fewer career path choices. As of the 2011/2012 fiscal year, Colorado was ranked 41st in funding our students. I am very troubled our children have become a number based on dollars and cents.

The current Durango High School role models are under the STEM Education Coalition and STEAM. STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition, STEAM programs integrate creative thinking in their academic discipline. The term is typically used in addressing education policy and curriculum choices to improve competitiveness in technology development. It has implications for workforce development, national-security concerns and immigration policy. STEM, from the workforce perspective, is about preparing our children for the competitive and specialized high-tech fields for the 21st century.

The very heart of Durango High School has been centered and implemented with STEM and STEAM programs. The technology programs implemented at DHS are called Colorado Career and Technical Education, which encompass agriculture, natural resources and energy; STEM, arts, design and information; skilled trades, technical sciences and marketing, to name a few. As of the current budget cuts, DHS has almost completely eliminated the engineering and technology courses. They have cut classes in the agriculture department and completely eliminated culinary arts, drafting and computer-aided drafting, intro to engineering, principles of engineering, graphic design and multimedia.

Many of these classes are prerequisites to many colleges. These career paths often have the most challenging degrees and are at the highest demand for future employment.

So, where is the money that has been allocated to our students, which, in turn, affects their career paths for their future? Our local community has always responded favorably to the financial needs and requests of our Durango School District 9-R. Our school officials, educators and community are responsible to provide the highest quality of education, including the greatest opportunity for a successful career for each and every student.

Marian Townsend


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