Guest Post: Buncombe County Schools, STEM and Food Labs

GUEST POST ICONThe following is a guest post of a Facebook comment by Mark Cates of Buncombe county. Mr. Cates has given his permission for his comment to be re-posted on this site.

Cates is a Father, engineer, small business owner currently residing in Asheville, North Carolina.

Buncombe County schools has a massively expensive ‘Food lab renovation‘ on the table.

While reading this article, one might want to consider the narrative of Common Core supporters both nationally and in North Carolina regarding STEM students. For example, just yesterday, Ann Goodnight of SAS rambled on about STEM in an article on the website of one her pet ‘education non-profits’.

The claim is ‘we need Common Core to advance STEM’. This is part and parcel of the widely debunked STEM myth.  It’s been proven by multiple parties, including one of the math standards lead writers, Jason Zimba,  that Common Core does not support a STEM path.

Buncombe County Schools, STEM and Food Labs

By Mark Cates

The interesting thing about local government is that they never cease to surprise. Once again, Buncombe County Schools rises to the occasion…

As a STEM professional, I don’t find the STEM school particularly attractive. We spent a lot of money to take these kids out of local schools where they could have been a more active and positive force. Not to mention the fact that we increased their daily commute significantly… time that could have been spent on… wait for it.. education.

Somehow Asheville High School manages to provide a STEM education, but didn’t require spending on a $5 million school. (Which by the way, that’s not the actual price, it keeps going up. Unfortunately our paper of record doesn’t feel the need to explain these types of cost over runs to the public, but that only validates the recent data about why media is not trusted.)

Anyway, what’s the latest with Buncombe County Schools? Well, some Board of Education members thought I was crazy when I suggested having a STEM focus in the high schools themselves. This would have eliminated the weeding out of certain kids, it would have kept their positive influence within the school, and it would have given them more time to learn each day.

But I was told it just couldn’t be done. The kids needed to be bused across town, the STEM kids needed to be yanked out of their home school. They needed the new school. After all, it’s a monument to how great our educational system is…

Turns out all those reasons where bogus, except for the last one.

How do I know?

Well… Buncombe County Schools can put a “food lab” in our high schools. They can renovate the high schools to have a really cool and super modern “food labs”… it was only impossible with STEM.

So let’s think this through… teaching our kids how to work in the food service industry needs to be kept in the local schools.

Teaching our kids how to be Scientists & Engineers, well… why would we want to make sure every kid in our high school had easy access to that opportunity?

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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