I read with great interest the total absence of solutions concerning the possibility of rezoning to balance the number of students at our three high schools, especially this quote by Board member Ken Martin, “At some point, we’ve got to figure out how we will up Lee High School. The only way I know to do that, honestly, is to rezone.”
Seriously? That’s the only way? Holy mother of all that is righteous. Maybe I should be on the Board. Knock knock. Who’s there? Anyone listening?
Was there any discussion whatsoever about the looming industrial expansion and influx of people moving to Baytown over the next five years and the multiplied number of students who will need to enter the workforce when they graduate? Are all of them going to go to GCM? Do we need to crank up the “bus them across town program again”, but this time to share the load of students?
Industry is screaming loud and clear that they do not have qualified people to fill the coming positions, but what I see here is more talk about qualifying for arts and sports programs and the size of the football teams by Board members or voting to make our newest high school bigger.
I just sit back in my chair as I type this and shake my head. We are thinking like we’ve been trained to think and that needs to change and the sooner the better. Now to be honest, I am and always have been a bit rebellious toward convention and taking cheap shots at the Board from the safety of my computer is unfair to a point.
What I am going to say will sound hypocritical, but hear me out please. Kudos to Daniel Blackford and Ken Martin for voting no for the expansion of Goose Creek Memorial to facilitate vocational expansion at this time. I realize citizens voted in the May bond election to add more space to GCM to house career and technical programs, but I think this may be the wrong direction we should take.
Instead, seeing that Robert E. Lee has a declining enrollment, why not pour the funds into it for a first class vocational and technical school? There would be no need for rezoning at all. The only change needed would be in logistics to provide busing. Busing, as in bussing like before? Yup, except for the right reasons.
I’ve impotently harped on the need for this for at least eight years and now industry is screaming for qualified workers. Why should a student have to wait until they have graduated high school to begin to learn a trade? We are seriously underestimating their worth and ability to learn by continuing to give them a generic state-regulated education that dumps them on the streets at ages 17 to 19 and then wonder why they don’t become productive workers or go off to college.
We need a first class Vo-Tech high school in addition to what we already have with our two other high schools, the Peter E. Hyland Center, IMPACT Early College High School, POINT Alternative Center and John M. Stuart Career Center. Robert E. Lee could be everything from nursing to pipe fitting and complement the other career schools. The sky is the limit here folks and it’s all about tipping over the paradigm that has suffocated independent learning in high schools across the state and country.
Give the young students something to shoot for in junior high besides making the football team, or becoming a cheerleader. Sure, those are honorable I guess, but it won’t feed them or their families down the road.
If we do not fill the Vo-Tech void, these prime jobs will go to people moving here from out of state and foreign countries and most of our kids will flip burgers for a vocation, instead of learning a true craft or trade. I vote to be proactive- NOW. I vote we put teeth in this thing and do whatever it takes to break free of teaching kids to pass state tests and give them the knowledge and path to earning a living after high school. I vote to put the power back into our educator’s hands and show the rest of the state how we do it in Baytown.
Baytown has an opportunity to set the standard for other schools across the country. What say we break out of the rut of standardized education and hire first class instructors to teach our kids and equip them to follow the American dream?
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