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Enough is Enough: Expand technical education to help students succeed

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

Education is a beautiful thing. As a society, we need to ensure every child is provided with an education they will be able to use when they enter the world of life.

We must also understand that the knowledge children acquire during their formative learning years (K-12) will fluctuate from student to student. Some will excel academically, others in the trades. Many will go from mundane job to mundane job because of a lack of acquired skills and no motivation to acquire the skills needed to advance their economic situation.

We are failing our children. It is easy to place the entire blame on our teachers for the poor performances of their students. This allows those in society the opportunity to relieve themselves of guilt. Well, forget about it.

The “we” I refer to includes both spineless conservative and progressive politicians. They are responsible for curriculum that serves to “dumb down” our students.

Classrooms in many of our school systems resemble the Tower of Babel, where if there are less than 20 different languages spoken by students registered in the school system, the school board and superintendent can be seen high-fiving each other in thankfulness.

The “we” also includes parents, community leaders, business owners and everyday taxpaying citizens. Why do you stand by quietly and allow the false progressive narrative, “to be a success you have to go to college,” be repeated daily in the school system? Well, you don’t!

How many young adults have accumulated back-breaking debt that will take decades to pay off? How many college grads cannot get a job in their field of study—even after paying thousands of dollars in tuition? How many students are accepted into college and are required to shell out money to pass remedial courses in English and math, courses that should have been mastered in high school, before being eligible in pursuing a degree?

It is time for us to stop this grifting of our students by progressive social engineers. Let’s bulk up on sand and determine as a community what is best for our schools.

One way of meeting the needs of our students and eliminating crushing debt is by expanding our technical and career courses at our local high school. Many of our students are hands-on individuals. Many have problems in academic classes, but flourish in the trades. Why not provide them with that chance?

I have been in contact with a gentleman from New Hampshire who has presented me with the outline of a course curriculum, which I believe would ensure our students good-paying salaries without expensive tuitions. It also affords Lewiston and surrounding cities and towns a needed specialized work force. At this point I am awaiting the return of school Superintendent Bill Webster so he can study and make a decision on the proposed curriculum.

The course is intended to teach high school students “How to test and inspect the placement of concrete.” The goal is to graduate high school students with an “American Concrete Institute (ACI) Certification,” allowing students to be job-ready at graduation.

This certificate opens the door to good-paying careers. Once hired with this certificate in hand, your employer will encourage and pay the cost of bettering yourself in the area of proficiency to inspect: soil, reinforcing steel, structural steel, masonry, fire-proofing and bituminous pavement. In five years, your salary could increase from $27,000 plus benefits and overtime to $60,000 to $80,000. Not bad for a person in their 20s with no college loans to pay off! This program offers students unlimited “upward mobility.”

Lastly, the New Year offers hope. Not the hope of increased welfare benefits, but of good-paying careers. We have many hard-working people who struggle day to day because they made a conscientious decision not to take school seriously. They made a mistake.

But in this new year of hope, let us give them a chance at “upward mobility” by securing the funds needed to provide them with the training to gain an ACI Certificate.

Happy New Year!

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