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Too soon for STEM

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Letter to the Editor
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

Too soon for STEM

We certainly need more qualified engineers than this country is producing, but I fear starting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program in the fifth and sixth grades at Stewart Elementary is too early (“Burrell's STEM program not just about subjects,” Jan. 19). I very much doubt fifth- and sixth-graders have the tools to make problem-solving decisions.

As Burrell Superintendent Shannon Wagner said, some regional school districts have begun to stress STEM learning, but those programs are in their infancy and often are geared toward the secondary grades. The likelihood of success is far greater in the secondary grades and also if students who show an aptitude for engineering are chosen.

The bell curve predicts that only half of students are suitable for college — those who are above the norm. STEM learning will therefore be wasted on the other half, who likely will be confused.

Mike Mester

Lower Burrell

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