I graduated from Morse High School 38 years ago, and I don’t agree with William Vaughan Jr.’s assertion in Maine Voices (Nov. 14) that students today are no better prepared than 50 years ago.

National security, employment, the environment and monetary stability are challenges. While Vaughan cites Yarmouth High School as an example of how little education has changed, the Clippers deserved their recent No. 1 ranking within Maine. The YHS website offers clues as to why.

Starting freshman year in the Power of 1 program, students earn a YHS diploma and participate as global citizens in multiple ways. Ninth-graders focus on projects to make a difference, perhaps in one of the four areas that Vaughan believes threatens America’s future. Sophomores and juniors complete two Career Exploration Projects. As “civic engagement is a school-wide expectation,” students do 60 hours of community service.

YHS students can take a class in robotics, economics and environmental science, but they can also choose software creation and game design, wood and material technology or advanced publications. Whether college preparatory or technical education, YHS students select their own pathways, meeting competencies in cornerstone assessments.

Flexible formats, including college courses, career education, online learning, exchange programs, apprenticeships and fieldwork, afford students choice – what Judy Gilbert, director of talent at Google, suggests in “Creating Innovators” is a “more interdisciplinary approach to learning (which) will better prepare people for the kind of problems they’ll be confronting.”

Americans are concerned about the next generation of problems. Asked about education in Maine, Glenn Cummings, current University of Southern Maine president, states, “The challenges of each generation will vary, but our core competencies of collaboration, problem-solving, executive function, and communication are essential throughout history.”

From one islander to another: Let’s celebrate successes and create more solutions to support, rather than criticize, those who still work in the trenches of education.

Darren Redman

Long Island

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