I read an article in my hometown newspaper that said something about the mayoral candidates caring about education, even though they don’t have direct authority over the school district. The person who wrote the article made the comment as though there was nothing the candidates could do to impact our educational systems. But, that’s a really short-sided and stupid way to look at education: We ALL impact the educational systems and any leader can provide a huge impetus for education.
For example, if we look at school age students and their performance, I’m willing to bet that there are quite a few towards the bottom who really don’t see a point in going to school. Even if they finish, they’ll stay in Santa Fe and struggle to find work. Maybe they’ll sell drugs as a way to make some money…
And as it stands, Santa Fe, NM is a town with no purpose. There’s no creative industry here for any student to pursue as an option. The truth is that Santa Fe relies on government and tourism for its jobs. We need an industry that ties education and training with real jobs.
What I think is that we can partner with local governments to develop a technical curriculum through which students of any performance level can gain access to jobs in the technology sector. It would be really good to attach technical skills, like .Net programming, with a real internships such that our students could have a reason to learn critical thinking and mathematic skills. Even with the horrific no child left behind nonsense, there should be no reason why businesses could contract with this technical skills agency to gather resources to support their respective technology needs. It would be a win-win situation for both our business sector and our educational systems, but our candidates for Mayor don’t seem to have a hard and fast plan to put something like this in place.
But it’s possible and realistic. I’ve been developing clinical decision support systems for seven and a half years and finding qualified labor to code these systems is hard to do. I believe all cities should look to grow their own labor force and quit sending technical jobs overseas. We have the human resources: Let’s develop them and give our towns a purpose. Otherwise, when the tourists leave, our economy will collapse.