Saturday, April 5, 2014
As a biology professor, I see the effects of different qualities of high school science preparation on student performance in college science classes. High schools that provide effective lab-based science education create students who are more successful in college and who are thus more successful pursuing careers such as medicine and biotechnology.
Shouldn’t we send Walla Walla High School students into the world with a competitive edge?
Unfortunately, current Wa-Hi science classrooms are unsuitable for optimal science teaching. Science is a process, and students learn science most effectively by doing.
However, space for demonstrations and hands-on activities is insufficient or absent in many classrooms.
Where space for laboratory learning exists, the space is too crowded, deteriorated, and even unsafe (lawsuit or new science building — which is better?) to effectively serve students.
Some have argued it would be better to renovate existing science classrooms than to construct a new science building. Ironically, even with state matching funds, renovation would be a much larger (and more expensive) project because it would require bringing the entire campus up to code.
Although that renovation option is appealing, opponents to the previous (failed) bond issue expressed a desire for a smaller-scale, one-project-at-a-time approach. The current ballot measure is that approach. Please vote “yes.”