Letter: Our schools need more science, math experiences
Mr. Yost says science, math and engineering programs will whither because we didn't give them enough money. I would vote "yes" for excellent math and physics teachers. If math and physics courses are well taught and students are rewarded with scholarships, more students will show up at the engineering schools.
You want more money. Ditch meaningless engineering classes in high school. You must first understand physical secrets of this world we live in. When students begin to understand physics, a whole new world opens, like flowers unfolding. When you have this understanding, engineering becomes natural in your thinking.
Foreign students aren't smarter than Americans are, but we reward Americans for the wrong behavior. For more than 20 years, we have coddled female students into engineering yet they show little lasting interest. Every study shows that more males excel in the physical sciences. Why are we wasting that talent? Because we are stupid! We need to actively seek out talented males and give them the same chance given to female students.
When Dr. Bensen came to the university, we had a Center of Excellence; it was called Sattgast Hall. The Physics Department graduated physics majors who went on to doctoral programs, engineering physics majors who moved directly to industry at high salaries, pre-engineering students who were ahead of the students at the mother school and more physics teachers than the rest of the schools in the system.
That successful physics program was dismantled to hatch a flaccid, pseudo-engineering program in Industrial Arts. The administration doesn't understand that applied engineering is simply engineers engaged in the work of engineers. Misguided non-engineers think they can turn technicians into professional engineers; their thinking is upside-down. If students fail engineering, they can excel as technicians.
BSU President Quistgaard said in a "Bemidji Leads!" paper, "We prepare people today, but things are changing so rapidly." Well, things change because scientists and engineers are creating instruments of progress! General applications always follow.
High schools must counsel students to take as many mathematics and physics courses as possible. With a strong background in those subjects and philosophy, they are ready to create a better world. When they take that knowledge into biological science, they open the doors to secrets of medicine.
Andrew J. Brown