A Peekskill High School teacher has urged the school district to reinvigorate the technology education program.
John Testa presented the Board of Education Tuesday, June 19, an updated version of a report he prepared in 2011. The report traces the evolution of technology education from the industrial arts concept of years ago to its current role as a key ally of science and mathematics.
Despite the growing importance of the subject, its scope at Peekskill High School has dwindled as retiring teachers were not replaced and all but one of the four labs has been converted to maintenance, storage or other usages, Testa said. At the same time, his World of Technology course, introduced in 2005, has offered students a way to earn a required credit in science or mathematics; that credit enabled 25 percent of the Class of 2012 to meet graduation requirements, he said.
Testa recommended returning storage and maintenance space to lab use and rejuvenating the remaining lab equipment. While some required equipment is no longer available at the school, much of what remains needs only to be refurbished, he said.
Testa also emphasized the difference between technology education, a course of study that focuses on how humans have designed and innovated to develop their world, and educational technology, which uses technology, especially computers, to enhance the education process.
Board President Joseph Urbanowicz and member Douglas Glickert, reiterating earlier concerns about what the district offers non-college-bound students, said increased emphasis on technology education and hands-on opportunities could help students develop job skills and motivate them to pursue careers in these fields.
In response to questions about the relationship between technology education and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), Testa said the former is broader based than the latter, which is focused on occupational education. “Technology education is a comprehensive, educationally based, multi-discipline approach to preparing students for a well‐rounded education and a life in the 21st century. BOCES is strictly a career‐based program,” he said in his report. They are not rivals.
Superintendent of Schools James Willis noted that the district is working with BOCES and encouraging more students to take courses there.
The district’s next step will be a fall presentation on upgrading the technology education program.