What’s going on in STEM at Theodore Roosevelt?



Ezra Turner, Columnist

Science has been jokingly referred to as the ‘defense against the dark arts’ class at Theodore Roosevelt. We had a tragedy, then an explosive accident, and now we have a whole slew of veteran teachers retiring and classes being cut. In short, this doesn’t bode well for the future of STEM at Theodore Roosevelt.

Brian McCombs, teacher of AP Statistics and Advanced Precalculus, retired last year after a long tour of serving the Kent City Schools community. His position was not filled. Mr. Ben Marquette, a pillar of our community and longtime teacher of both AP and Advanced Chemistry, will be stepping down and moving on to new things after this school year. His position will not be filled. 

In the year to come, at least two more of our higher-level STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) teachers have announced their intent to retire or step down. If the present behavior of Kent City Schools administrators is any indication of what the future holds, their positions may not be filled. Something is going wrong. As recently as last week, it was determined that Theodore Roosevelt would not be offering AP Physics 2. The number of students impacted by this choice is relatively small- only a handful ever chose to take Physics 2 in a given year. That’s because Physics 2 is a terminal class- it’s one of the possible endpoints of science for seniors here at Roosevelt. It’s a difficult class that caters to the academically advanced. 

By removing a capstone class for high-achieving seniors, Theodore Roosevelt is incentivizing taking those classes off-campus. One junior, Jay Datta, who had signed up to take Physics 2 before the class was axed, had this to say: “It’s stupid. Advanced Placement classes are set up in order to teach you the fundamental concepts of the class. You don’t get that experience in CCP.”

 This is an often repeated criticism of the College Credit Plus program. Many feel that the quality of education simply isn’t up to par when compared to an AP class. Datta feels that Roosevelt is outsourcing the higher echelons of education, “So the school is willing to pay for CCP but isn’t willing to provide the same resources to students on our own campus? We are not promoting STEM. We are pushing it away.”