Sunday’s edition of the Fort Myers News-Press featured the emphasis that Lee and Collier County schools are placing on STEM education. An informational article framed the general issue and offered examples of how area schools are making a STEM effort. Programs at Fort Myers’ Dunbar High were featured. The difficulties the Florida Gulf Coast University engineering program is having with the poor mathematical preparation of its students were also described. The director of the FGCU engineering program described their studio science classes as the cure for this problem (it’s not, but never mind that). The article even discussed concerns about the arts being left behind in Southwest Florida high schools and mentioned that awful acronym STEAM (adding “arts” to STEM).
All the discussion about better job prospects, public-private partnerships and improved STEM programs at FGCU is just wonderful.
But sometimes, there are obvious steps just staring you in the face.
Fort Myers High – with its IB program – is considered the premier high school in the region. But it – like many other IB schools in Florida – does not offer IB Physics. In fact, one student I spoke with said that when she insisted on taking the only physics class available there she was removed from the IB program.
There is no excuse for an IB program anywhere – and especially one as well-established as the one at Fort Myers High – to delete physics from its program.
If the Lee County Schools are serious about improving STEM education, they should start by offering IB physics at Fort Myers High.