Our opinion: The new world of technical education

Saturday December 8, 2012

Vocational and technical education programs are of increasing importance and must adjust rapidly to keep up with progress in a marketplace that offers opportunities to qualified students. The Patrick administration acknowledged it is aware of these realities through the appearance of Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray at Pittsfield High School Thursday.

The lieutenant governor met with city and school officials and technical education students and teachers during his visit to PHS. The administration has provided support for technical education through funding for programs like the Berkshire STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Pipeline. Interest in these programs is high in Pittsfield’s high schools and the job market is promising, even in the current weak economy.

These jobs are increasingly high-tech, reflecting the dominance of computer technology in the marketplace. That means students must be educated in this technology with top-grade equipment in the classroom. The School Committee will review a vocational education format this week and it must acknowledge these demands.

Ideally, Mr. Murray will provide some suggestions on how to push the eight-year school rebuilding effort along, as requested Thursday by Mayor Daniel Bianchi. The process has not only dragged needlessly but the ground has shifted in terms of what the state wants from Pittsfield. What Pittsfield needs is a new or renovated Taconic with a strong emphasis on technical education, but that won’t happen without the state funding needed to make something happen.


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