Letter: Beem should go back to school

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It seems like Edgar Allen Beem would like to take us back in his time transporter to 1967 to shop classrooms where balding guys in lab coats with ties tucked into their shirts held sway over captive groups of “tech” boys and nicely made up ladies dazzled girls in home economics, teaching them such arts as the perfect pot roast. In the process he almost cozies up to Paul LePage, but in the end settles for the gracious home-ec teacher with the kindly voice and warm cookies, Ms. Mitchell.

Wake up Ed, and look around, it’s 2010. That “outsourced industrial arts” program you refer to must be the Portland Arts and Technology High School, where your home-town Yarmouth students along with high-schoolers from 20 other communities take more than 22 classes in trades that do include business, finance, investment and human services. Business owners from plumbing firms and high-end fashion design studios advise, lecture and interact directly with students at PATHS. On a daily basis students leave campus to intern in schools, hospitals and child-care centers. Many of our students spend more hours interning in area businesses than do area college students, and certainly get more real-world experience than do students in many “community service” projects at their sending schools. PATHS students leave with job-ready skills, some with college credit that they earned while enrolled in high school. Do I detect a whiff of patchouli oil somewhere? Trade in your tie-dyed shirt Ed, for a laptop computer and business card.

Irving Williams
South Portland