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Our View: Students, parents raise concerns

Record-Courier editorial

Is occupational education on the way out?

That’s the question parents and students are asking themselves following the cancellation of five classes at Douglas High School in a funding shuffle between the high school and Western Nevada Community College.

The result was that popular instructor James Archdekin left because he couldn’t afford to just teach two classes. Teachers, parents and students showed up at Tuesday’s school a board meeting to lament the loss of Mr. Archdekin.

Occupational education teacher Wayne Moore also spoke. He has had to take on many of Archdekin’s auto tech students and said there are more students and fewer occupational education classes than when he started in the district.

If 75 percent of our students don’t go to college – that’s trustee Michele Lewis’s figure – we have to ask why the heavy emphasis on the college prep core?

Parents are asking why the district is insisting on competencies and new graduation requirements that offer less time for their children to take “elective” occupational education classes they’ll need if they are not college-bound.

The district’s mission statement says: “The Douglas County School District, in partnership with parents and community, will ensure that all students are competent in the basic skill areas and are prepared to be productive, responsible citizens.”

It doesn’t say just the 25 to 30 percent who go on college; it doesn’t exclude the kids who prefer auto tech to trigonometry.

Arguably, students need to know the basics. But what kind of atmosphere are we creating when we continue to chip away at the very classes which some students say are the only reasons they stay in school?

There is talk of creating a special, technical high school for the non-college kids.

We would argue they already have a school. It’s called Douglas High School.