Since the news came out 36 hours ago that state school superintendent Mike Sentance was reorganizing the state department so that career tech education would likely slide down the list of priorities, state school board members and legislators have been swamped with phone calls and emails.
This outpouring of communication came from people, both educators and business folks, distressed at the news and by the fact that the state school board was not told by Sentance what he was doing. (This lack of communications by Sentance to the board he reports to has become a reoccurring issue. Just in the past few days the board learned from outside sources that Sentance wants two contracts worth nearly $1.3 million put in place. The Legislative Contract Review committee put a hold on both because of a lack of info about what they are meant to do.)
So when I came across this video from Athens High School I had to share. Teacher Michael May posted this on Facebook. Please watch it.
You will see several students launch a weather balloon in 2014 that went up 20 miles, taking pictures all the way. When the balloon burst, its payload of cameras, complete with a parachute, landed about 60 miles east of Athens in Jackson County. May says that it was all possible because of funding the school got for its career tech program.
I got chills as I watched the video. I can only imagine the excitement of these students as they watched the balloon and its payload climb rapidly into the sky. And how big were their smiles when they retrieved the cameras and viewed what had been photographed. How many hugs and high fives were exchanged? Think of the pride these young people had when they told family and friends about their accomplishment.
This is what education is all about. This is what Mike Sentance obviously doesn’t understand. While he is busily creating organizational charts and re-arranging who answers to whom, real students and real teachers are doing amazing things.
Why in the world are we trying to hinder this process? It is insane.