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Letter: Vocational training would help students

Vocational training would help students

It was encouraging to read the article in the Dec. 9 News regarding the STEM program being taught in some of Buffalo’s struggling schools.

Isn’t it sad that successful programs lose funding when they are educating those students who are at a disadvantage, but hold promise? There seems to be enough money for programs that continually fail, yet are resumed year after year. One is busing students all over the city, rather than creating community schools of which the community members are stakeholders.

Also, not all students are bound for college or higher education. They need hands-on vocational and skills training to allow them to earn a good living, rather than drop out and live their lives in minimum-wage jobs or, worse, a life of crime. Those students should not be held to the same academic standards that are expected in schools such as City Honors and Hutch Tech, to name a few.

Industry is in dire need of skilled trades people, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc. A first-class evening program would help educate parents who may also be struggling with skills and language. I am not an educator, yet I recognize the needs.

I wonder why Albany and the Board of Education are reluctant to admit that the college entrance model doesn’t work for every student and continue to require Regents exams for all students. The students are forced to fail, which reflects poorly on the schools, and the failing students will eventually drop out, affecting the graduation rates by which administrators and teachers are evaluated.

This is not rocket science. Fifty years ago, many of these ideas were the norm. Let’s bring them back, and give the teachers and staff the financial support and autonomy needed to be successful.

Scott D. Gorton